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A mnemonic picture book that makes music reading fun and accessible.
A mnemonic picture book that makes music reading fun and accessible.
194 backers pledged $8,613 to help bring this project to life.
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FableNotes: Learn Music Through Stories

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Hi! I’m Marin Marka, the author and developer of FableNotes. I’m lucky to be a part of a wonderful profession as a child development specialist, music teacher, and pediatric occupational therapist (specifically, I work in schools helping kids with disabilities).    

I found a big gap in music learning resources, especially ones that are accessible for disadvantaged families and individuals with disabilities.  I'd written this book to help my students learn to read music, but I couldn't have predicted how much it's already helped music learners of all types!  

It's a research-based music literacy curriculum that brings music to life through lovable characters and fun stories. 

The book encourage skills that support true music literacy. The musician develops her musical ear with improv and audiation (hearing the music in her head) and then reads and writes music notation.
The book encourage skills that support true music literacy. The musician develops her musical ear with improv and audiation (hearing the music in her head) and then reads and writes music notation.

FableNotes hopes to make learning to read music as easy as reading a story.  With 12 little music note monsters and rhyming text, sheet music becomes an unforgettable musical world. Here Come the High Notes is a beautifully illustrated hardcover book about how the notes chose their spots among the treble clef lines. To try it out click here.

Here Come the High Notes is the first book in the FableNotes series, and it was developed to make learning to read music accessible for everyone, regardless of age, disability, or socioeconomic status.  

The book is written and illustrated to be easily understood by children with learning disabilities, so every student can participate confidently with their peers.  It enables teachers impacted by music budget cuts or parents to easily learn alongside children, and help them build a foundation for understanding the language and written system of music, even if they have no training in music themselves.  

My journey to creating FableNotes started 10 years ago, when I started looking for fun music learning tools to use with my students, that just didn’t exist. I hope FableNotes will make it into public and school libraries across the country, so that children and families will have the tools they need to start learning music right at their fingertips.

We're all counting on your support to get this book into the hands of future musicians of all kinds.  

A musician thought up the notes in her head, and decided to set them free onto paper so she could share her songs with the world. The notes are introduced one-by-one while stanzas of rhyming text explain where to find them on the music lines.  

Meet Heroic E: She saves friendly D from falling below the lines. The characters and storylines were consciously developed to be anti-bias and free of harmful stereotypes. Girls can be musical heroes too!
Meet Heroic E: She saves friendly D from falling below the lines. The characters and storylines were consciously developed to be anti-bias and free of harmful stereotypes. Girls can be musical heroes too!

Here Come the High Notes  introduces music concepts and vocabulary naturally, bit by bit, and uses mnemonics and recaps built into the story to effortlessly reinforce learning.  

So many students are getting stuck in the beginner stage for too long, stumbling through boring pieces. That's why I created the Story-Logic Music Method™ from the science of learning and memory, to prevent common music reading difficulties and promote a life-long love of music. The method helps kids progress beyond the beginner phase quicker, so that they can start playing real repertoire that speaks to their souls sooner. 

  • The characters have unique and memorable stories told in a logical sequence.   
  • Different types of mnemonics are included to make memorization effortless for many learning styles.
  • Musical vocabulary is introduced naturally in context and reinforced throughout.

Our brains are designed to learn from stories.  

Listening to a story lights up much more of your brain than rote memorization, and it builds more connections between brain cells. The more connections you have related to music, the more familiar and easy it is to learn!  

This book is perfect for the bedtime bookshelf, classrooms, libraries, and more! By reading it outside of music lessons, learners will solidify their knowledge more quickly.
This book is perfect for the bedtime bookshelf, classrooms, libraries, and more! By reading it outside of music lessons, learners will solidify their knowledge more quickly.

FableNotes' rhyming text sticks in the learner's memory, and the learner can repeat it in their head when trying to recall a note. The notes are introduced one-by-one, and information is chunked into bite-size bits so that each new note is easy to remember. The notes are color-coded, because not only is using color a proven way to help your brain keep new learning organized, it also engages young learners

Music vocabulary (like clef, staff, skip, step, etc.) is introduced in context, so that students can pick up the new words the same way a baby absorbs language. Hearing these words repeated throughout creates a familiarity and comfort with the language of music

I've watched my students describe the music notes in their sheet music as if they have real personalities.   That means they're transferring their FableNotes knowledge to the black and white sheet music.

Here's pink Little B: he needs a bit of help, but with teamwork he makes it to the middle line!  I want kids to know that boys can wear pink, and they can always ask for help. Phrases like "man up" have been teaching boys to hide their problems and go it alone. But books can change our culture, and kids are ready to absorb what we read to them.
Here's pink Little B: he needs a bit of help, but with teamwork he makes it to the middle line! I want kids to know that boys can wear pink, and they can always ask for help. Phrases like "man up" have been teaching boys to hide their problems and go it alone. But books can change our culture, and kids are ready to absorb what we read to them.

A 21st century book

FableNotes moves beyond the outdated idea of musicians only looking like gray-haired men in conductor's tuxedos.   Women of color are significantly underrepresented in children's literature as musicians, composers, or conductors. The whole point is that music is for everyone; throughout the FableNotes curriculum, I hope to capture the diversity of musicians around the globe!  Since books are such an important part of kids' cultural development, I wanted to make sure the text and illustrations countered toxic cultural stereotypes. 

Research is proving more and more that participating in music improves attention span, learning ability, executive functioning, memory, and cognitive control.  Music is so important, but not everyone has access to it.

School music budgets are getting cut, and 1.3 million kids don’t have access to music education at their school or privately.  Low-income neighborhoods are disproportionately impacted by music budget cuts. By opening up access to reading and writing music, kids will get all the brain benefits, appreciate music more deeply, create it from scratch, and express themselves by sharing their music with others. 

Participating in music has been shown to be a positive hobby that can help keep youth in difficult neighborhoods out of trouble. It makes them more likely to develop healthy friendships, graduate high school, and get college scholarships; it changes their lives. 

  Benefits of music include:  

Music develops skills important for a career in STE(A)M

The goal of music ed is not to turn every child into a professional musician. The goal is to open the opportunity to explore music,  improve the skills music develops, and use those skills in any career path they choose: science, technology, engineering, arts, mathematics and beyond!  

  •  Critical thinking is the whole point of STEM careers: to figure out solutions to problems.  “As music offers the repeated challenge of situations in which there is no standard or approved answer, it can promote critical thinking,” writes May Kokkidou in the Journal for Learning Through the Arts.  
  •  Analytical skills help STEM professionals recognize and decode patterns in data. Reading and playing music develops the ability to quickly understand and convey subtle patterns and relationships between visual components. 
  •  Innovation is vital for creating 'out-of-the-box' answers for future needs. Research has shown that music improves divergent thinking, flexing that creative side of the brain.  
  •  Math Skills are a key component of all the STE(A)M careers.  According to the American Mathematical Society (AMS), musical counting, rhythm, scales, intervals, time signatures, overtones, and pitch are all connected to mathematics.

Music and science are not mutually exclusive! I love being both a healthcare professional and a musician, and I hope that FableNotes will inspire children to become musicians and professionals of all kinds. 

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 Here’s how Kickstarter works: 

You pledge your support and tell your friends all about how you supported a startup. If the funding goal is reached, you’ll get the reward you picked!   

 If we can’t reach our funding goal, the amount you pledged goes right back into your pocket, but Here Come the High Notes can’t be sent to the printer or distributed as donations to schools in need. So if you want to see this book become a reality, please pledge and share!

Let's compensate all the wonderful artists who have worked behind the scenes to make this book a reality!

Illustrations by Alexandra Tatu of Edinburgh, Scotland
Illustrations by Alexandra Tatu of Edinburgh, Scotland

Rewards:

 There is a book, a workbook, and more! Try them out here. 

Donate to Schools in Need: Your support will be used to offset the costs of my FableNotes donation program, including travel to Title 1 school districts and leading workshops for disadvantaged kids. Every penny counts. *no physical reward*

eBook: a portable PDF copy of the book in full color that can be printed or used on standard mobile apps.  

Hardcover Book: 11x8.5" landscape hardback book, with 32 fully illustrated pages delivered to your door in the USA.   

Workbook: a printable PDF copy of the workbook helps the learner transition from colorful characters into confidently reading black and white sheets music. 

Workbook
Workbook

Audio Book: a wonderfully engaging audio recording of the book, read by a voice actor with musical interludes for a multi-sensory learning experience.  

Annotated Hardcover Book: a hardcover copy of the book with handwritten annotations by the author explaining scientific rationale behind text and illustration choices that help learning. I'll try to write neatly!

Felt Storyboard with all 13 Characters: includes the 12 high note characters printed on 5-inch felt story pieces, and the treble staff backdrop for interactive teaching and learning.

Design a Character: submit a drawing (or your child's drawing), and the illustrator will develop it into a bass clef note character. It will then be featured in the next book in the FableNotes series, Look Out for Low Notes. *Restrictions apply*

Live Video Training with the Author: a 1-hour video lesson with the author. Pick one of the two topics that interests you: 1. A lesson on reading the high notes including a live reading of the story with a visual felt board enactment and helpful tips and tricks for music learning. 2. A lesson on teaching using the FableNotes curriculum as well as occupational-therapy-inspired music activities and games, great for a music educator or parent looking to share music with the next generation.

Risks and challenges

There is minimal risk to anyone who chooses to back FableNotes. This book has been in development being perfected over the course of 2 years, and we are 100% invested in getting it into your hands. The illustrations are almost complete, we just have a few left that your support will help to fund. We’ve found a high quality printer who is contracted to produce the books quickly and efficiently at the end of the Kickstarter Campaign. We can't wait to share this with the world thanks to you!

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 1 or more About US$ 1

    Help Me Donate to Schools in Need

    Your support will be used to offset the costs of my FableNotes donation program, including travel to Title 1 school districts and leading workshops for disadvantaged kids. *no physical reward*

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    Here Come the High Notes eBook

    Print it, read it on your tablet, or show it through a classroom projector! The possibilities are endless.

    Includes:
    • eBook PDF
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    eBook + Workbook

    The printable PDF workbook helps the learner seamlessly transition from colorful FableNotes characters to confidently reading black and white sheet music.

    Includes:
    • eBook PDF
    • Printable workbook
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    Audiobook + eBook + Workbook

    Reinforce learning by reading the eBook while following along with the musical audiobook recording of the book text in mp3 format.

    Includes:
    • eBook PDF
    • Printable workbook
    • Audiobook
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    Hardcover Book

    Perfect for libraries, teachers, or a bedtime bookshelf

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    • Hardcover book
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    HARDCOVER STARTER PACK

    Everything you need to start learning to read music! Use all included reward items for a multi-sensory learning experience.

    Includes:
    • Hardcover book
    • Printable workbook
    • Audiobook
    • eBook PDF
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    HARDCOVER VALUE PACK

    Two books for you, or share with a friend!

    Includes:
    • Hardcover book
    • Audiobook
    • Printable workbook
    • eBook PDF
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    LIMITED: SIGNED HARDCOVER TRIO

    3 hardcover copies, each signed and addressed to whoever you'd like! Also includes everything from previous rewards. A special gift for a few favorite people!

    Includes:
    • Hardcover book
    • Printable workbook
    • eBook PDF
    • Audiobook
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    GIFT COLLECTION

    Bring music to life for children, grandchildren, friends, students, or anyone you'd love to share music with!

    Includes:
    • Hardcover book
    • Audiobook
    • Printable workbook
    • eBook PDF
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    HERO'S COLLECTION

    Give the gift of music to all your favorite people with 10 hardcover copies of the book.

    Includes:
    • 10× Hardcover book
    • Felt storyboard with all 13 characters
    • Audiobook
    • eBook PDF
    • Printable workbook
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    DESIGN A LOW NOTE CHARACTER

    Send us a drawing of what you'd like one of the round characters to look like, and the illustrator will turn it into a new bass clef character. It can then become a main character in the next planned FableNotes book: Look Out for Low Notes. *restrictions apply*

    Includes:
    • Hardcover book
    • Printable workbook
    • Audiobook
    • High quality digital illustration based off the drawing you sent
    • Felt storyboard with all 13 characters
    • eBook PDF
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    Pledge US$ 1,000 or more About US$ 1,000

    LIVE VIDEO TRAINING with the AUTHOR

    You get the annotated and the standard copy of the book, and the author will do a 1-hour* live video lesson. Just pick one of two topics:
    1. Teaching you or your child how read the high notes
    2. Teaching piano teachers how to use the book in lessons (with games and activities)
    *Can be divided into two 30-minute sessions

    Includes:
    • Hardcover book
    • Printable workbook
    • Audiobook
    • Annotated hardcover book
    • Felt storyboard with all 13 characters
    • eBook PDF
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    Earlybird Hard Cover Discount

    Be the first to get a hardcover copy of the 11x8.5" book. Get the book for less!

    Includes:
    • Hardcover book
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    EARLY DISCOUNT HARDCOVER STARTER PACK

    Everything you need to start learning to read music! Use all included reward items for a multi-sensory learning experience.

    Includes:
    • Hardcover book
    • Printable workbook
    • Audiobook
    • eBook PDF
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    Ships to Only United States
    Reward no longer available 29 backers
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    BOOK + SCIENTIFIC ANNOTATIONS

    Hardcover copy of the book with handwritten annotations by the author explaining scientific rationale behind text and illustration choices that help learning.

    Includes:
    • Annotated hardcover book
    • Hardcover book
    • Audiobook
    • eBook PDF
    • Printable workbook
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    Reward no longer available 3 backers
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Funding period

- (33 days)