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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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!
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.
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!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (33 days)