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Laurie Niles

September 25, 2003 at 5:20 AM

A four-year-old in my Suzuki group class raised his hand frantically when I asked everyone to clap the rhythm, “twinkle little baby brother,” which would be two sets of 16th notes.

“Mrs. Niles, I don’t know that one!” he said with concern. Different teachers put different phrases to the same rhythm, so it is likely that this little guy learned, “alligator ate the butter,” or “one-ie and a two-ie and a,” or something else altogether. It’s all the same, as I explained, but he didn’t understand.

“I don’t know it!” he insisted.

“You know what?” I said, leaning forward confidentially, “Fake it!” Gasps went up all around the room, from parents and students alike. Then everybody laughed.

And he faked it, very well.

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