I’d like to share three different articles on the marvelous capo. Today I’ll answer, “WHY USE CAPOS IN CLASS?” Here are some reasons why I hold this tool in such high regard.
1. Students love to play songs that they can play for their friends and have their friends say, “Hey, I’ve heard that song before!” I use our method book to death in class yes, but I would say I spend just as much time playing popular tunes with the original recordings as I do time in the method book. Many pop songs are in awful keys. But if you can find a I, IV, V progression, and then apply a capo and have your students play in a key in which they are comfortable, then you’re good to go.
2. Many people would argue that using a capo is “cheating”, but in a classroom with a proper instructor, it’s a learning opportunity! If we don’t know the key of E yet, I’m not going to hold back on an incredible song …I’ll use the capo. When we’re ready for the key of E….capos come off and we can play the same great tune two different ways….with and without capo. That combo adds another layer to the sound, and also a great way to add differentiation to the class. If a student isn’t getting the new key, they can play it in their comfortable key until they have worked up to the new key. Cheating….absolutely not…..it’s just smart teaching.
3. Singers – I love to sing with my students, and if I have students who are willing, I love to have them sing songs on our concerts as well! Many times, the key of the original singer just doesn’t “jive” with the singer we have singing. In comes the capo to the rescue. Take it up or down depending on your singer and you’ve no longer got a singer who is straining or singing the basement.
In part 2, I’ll talk about different kids of capos, and show you the ones I’ve settled on for use in my classroom. In the mean time ponder the wonder of the mighty capo. 🙂
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