How better to get children’s attention than with the sound of a train, car or another vehicle? Tying these familiar images and sounds to musical notations connects children to musical language in a lively way. Learning the meanings of the notations and linking them to cars, trucks and trains helps with recall. This way, the children can recognize the musical symbols after only one reading by associating each one with the colorful, beloved objects. Their learning is further reinforced when they color each object left blank. I have learned from my students and my own teachers that young children are able to learn what older ones can, only more slowly. They are naturally curious; it is just a matter of how the material is presented that determines whether it will stick or not. We have made the visuals and notations simple and clear.
The additional story at the end, with its images, street map and separate, printable pieces offers an interactive method for making repetition fun. Children have literally rushed into my class with a big smile, saying “Chugga Chugga” to show me what they remembered from last week. I hope you will take this book, sit with your child or classroom of children and run with it as well. You can read the book straight through or reinforce the concepts by repeating pages to create new patterns. You can also use this book as a support for the laminated flash cards of the same content that we also make available. You will enjoy, not only seeing the children’s music skills grow, but their math skills as well. A whole, a half, a quarter, and an eighth represented in notation are the beginning of recognizing and mastering fractions.
Additionally, this book should prepare your students as it has mine to go right into playing an instrument. With this symbolic knowledge and visceral timing, their focus can be on learning technique. They will already understand and be able to replicate fast and slow tempos, nuances of loud and soft, as well as grasp the direction and order of how the notes are organized in space. Lastly, I hope you and the children will add melody to the rhythms we present and create your own wonderful compositions. Beep Beep!—using vehicle sounds in step with musical notes and phrases, is only the beginning of the road to loving music.