What is the best rhyme for teaching the order of sharps and flats? Do you even use a rhyme?
Currently at The Fun Music Company, we are really busy finishing and editing our next “Printable Music Theory Book” and this question came up so I just wanted to ask for your opinion on how to teach the cycle of 4ths or 5ths.
Some say that students should be able to remember the order of sharps and flats by rote. I feel that that’s okay for a more advanced player who uses the scales on a daily basis, but we’re talking here about teaching this concept to beginners with little experience even playing scales.
I know that to help me remember the colors of the rainbow I still have to think ROYGBIV! So what’s the harm in using a simple rhyme to help remember the order of sharps and flats in the cycle of 4ths or 5ths. I have always found that in teaching children musical concepts such as this one, it was all so abstract that little rhymes just made it easier for them to remember. At this level, most students don’t even play all the scales yet and I found it was just too hard to get them to learn it all by rote.
The rhyme that we grew up with here in Australia was “Fat Cat Got drowned At East Brighton” to remember the order of sharps and to get the order of flats we simply remembered Be Early And Don’t Get Cold Feet.
Of course you could just reverse the first letters of the first rhyme to get the order of flats as well.
Through our extensive review process where 5 reviewers from around the world examine the book contents, we stumbled across the problem that US students may not find it relevant because of the East Brighton – plus it just sounds old fashioned and out dated.
Kevin, my dear husband and the man who has been specializing in writing the Printable Music Theory books came up with a fun rhyme to help it become more world wide and fun!
Fat Cats Go Dancing And Elephants Boogie
What do you think? Would you use it?
I would love to get your feedback on what rhymes work for you if any and how you would teach the concept. Please just use the comment in the box below and I look forward to finding out what you think.