Originally, Guido was expected to teach the large body of Gregorian chants to the students learning to be monks in a manner they could understand within the native teaching system. These teachings were to focus on the Psalms, holy vigils and nocturnal teachings which had for a long time neglected by the monks. Guido was to act as the master guiding the students on how to make holy and acceptable communication. This was after it was discovered that most students learning to be monks had opted for vulgar language. He was to direct the students until they grasp knowledge of the teaching. After that, the students were to be left to learn along with the guidance of God. When teaching vigils, every sound was to be put on its line (Palisca and Pesce 211-218).
Guido was frustrated with his attempts to explain chants to the boys at the Cathedral because the usual teachings of a vigil, psalms, and other holy teachings had been neglected. First, the greatest challenge arose due the idea of clerics believed to be holy trying to science the art of singing which themselves they had failed to master. Guido’s frustrations were never due to the faults of the students but that of the system of the cathedral (Palisca and Pesce 211-218).
The purpose of Guido’s notational was to ensure equity in the way boys receive information about the chants. Moreover, the prime purpose was to make sure that all the kids learn the songs with ease and in a manner that is appealing to their senses by incorporation of melodies that are pleasant.
Guido invented the solmization and guidonian hand with the chief aim of making the chants memorable in the minds of monks. It was proving difficult for the monks to master all the melodies that were laid down. He tried to come up with the system which the sounds could be separated thus making the tunes easier to remember. This helped the monks memorize the vigils and the chants better and faster. In addition, it ensured that the monks attained spiritual enlightenment better (Palisca and Pesce 211-218).
Guido had hoped to empower his students through his innovation of solmization and Guidonian. Making the students believe they could be better and achieve higher realms in their service to God was the greatest necessity. This is because this was a moment when most clergymen focused on gaining value for self and not going by the sacred principles. He therefore, believe that the first step to making the monks holy was by implanting in their hearts religious chants. These would be achieved by making the songs simple, melodious and memorable; an objective wholly attained by the invention. As the students grew singing these songs, their belief grew stronger and they became better clergymen than the ones before them (Palisca and Pesce 211-218).
Guido had prepared and executed his educational methods in a wise manner. His methods were a bit simpler and object oriented. Without an objective for every method he employed he could not have achieved anything. Moreover, his greatest achievement was because he used melodies that appeal to senses to make the music or chants more enjoyable to his students. As the students love the songs, slowly they got to master all the chants and become better. He had understood that while dealing with young people you must make them love whatever you are giving them and he could only achieve this by investing in their senses. Moreover, he explicitly acknowledged that to bring up a generation to be different from the present one, you had to employ various methods of teaching music. These two lines of wisdom were the foundations of his teaching methods. On the contrary, the methods used by Guido were considered controversial because these were new ways introduced into an already established system. None of the clergymen were willing to change the way things were done since they were taught with such old methods. Accepting something new was the greatest challenge during those days (Palisca and Pesce 211-218).
If I were in Guido’s shoes, I would have employed the exact similar methods to teach the chants. I believe in trying something new because they always yield different results. Moreover, the methods used by Guido were to understand and would make it easier for me as a teacher and even for my students.
To achieve faster and more desirable results in his classroom and during students’ independent practice time, Guido should give a broad range of sounds that create the melody. Moreover, he should also listen to students suggestions and encourage them to come up with new songs even as they practice hard (Haines 4-8).
Current and future music educators owe Guido lots of credit for his great work in laying the foundations upon which music should be taught. His strong emphasis on appealing to the senses defines what actually music achieves. Understanding the students is another great lesson Guido passed down to all music teachers. His music education systems have influenced the current music as musicians strive to create melody so that their music and message could be easily learned and comprehended.
Haines, John. “The origins of the musical staff.” The Musical Quarterly(2009): gdp002.
Palisca, Claude V. and R. Pesce. “Guido of Arezzo [Aretinus].” The New Grove Dictionary of Music Online.