Inaudible to Deafening: Creating Something In-Between

Caleb and his lists of words.

Caleb and his lists of words.

When I asked Caleb to play a little louder, his playing went from inaudible to deafening. Discussing the meaning of piano versus mezzo piano was not going to be helpful.

“Let’s make a list of strong words with their opposites,” I suggested. We wrote each set on a post-it note and put it on his assignment book.

He jumped right in:

Love/Hate, Cold/Hot, Up/Down, Black/White, Silent/Deafening, Amazing/Terrible.

“How ’bout some less strong versions?” I asked.

Like/Dislike, Chilly/Warm, Higher/Lower, Dark Grey/Light Grey, Soft/Loud, Good/Bad.

What about something in between all of them?

No preference, tepid, medium, medium grey, conversational, OK.

Suddenly, I found myself with a great resource. 

“Caleb,” I said. “Did you know that when I ask you for a little louder than silent, you go straight to DEAFENING!” 

“Oh,” he said. “I get it. You mean that I should go to soft, or maybe medium?”

We’re leaving those post-its on the assignment book for a long time.