What is Blue Jello?
Click on the PDF below to open the full two pages which can also be printed or downloaded.
Music students must study rhythm so they can independently and correcty interpret a musical score. In many cases, students are taught rhythm using math, learning equations such as "two quarter notes equal one half note." Understanding the mathematical relationships of notes and rests is essential, but this information alone can be difficult to translate into sound. To make this connection between math and music, Music Mind Games uses a friendly vocabulary of more than 30 words called Blue Jello. These words are represented on cards using correctly spaced symbols to help students visualize the math behind the rhythms.
Rhythm is often taught in combination with melody. Yet with so much to comprehend, students typically focus less on rhythm and more on finding the right pitches. Studying Blue Jello separately from melody or time signatures helps develop musicians who can read with rhythmic accuracy and fluency.
Blue Jello Words
Blue Jello words have been carefully chosen to fit the rhythms they represent, while bringing smiles and laughter. Blue Jello words are modified slightly from regular speech to match their corresponding rhythms. Teachers should listen to their own voices and those of their students to ensure rhythmic accuracy. Students in non-English-speaking countries love the Blue Jello language. They are quick to learn the pronounciations, so translations are often unnecessary.
Drawings and Colors
Each Blue Jello word is represented by a drawing to provide humor and engage different learning styles. In addition, eight rainbow colors match the eight main rhythmic values making it easier to understand the notes and rests that are equal in value.
Blue Jello hand signs add a valuable kinesthetic element to enhance learning, just like Curwen hand signs help with pitch. Teachers can observe whether their students accurately see and remember how notes and rests are shaped. Hand signs are also excellent for developing finger dexterity, a useful side benefit for paying instruments. While using hand signs makes it easier to hear the Blue Jello words, clapping can also be useful.
Applying Blue Jello to printed music and composition
A natural progression is to use Blue Jello to decode rhythms in scores. When Blue Jello is used for years as a tool to read music, tempos are more even, time signatures are understandable, and tricky rhythmic sections are less tedious. Rhythmic dictation using Blue Jello words contribute to the ability to write rhythms in original compositions.