PIANO MUSIC IN NUMBERS
one reason to start playing the piano using numbers: reading
music is so confusing at first that children often give up
before they have a chance to have any fun at the instrument.
Unless a child
has fun with a toy, it's over.
You need to
establish the toy aspect first before you endow respect for the
greatest musical instrument on earth.
If a child has
fun with a piano, that IS respect.
in a visual sense the difficulties involved for a child starting
to read music and play the piano at the same time.
HAD A LITTLE LAMB expressed in a simplified version of sheet
most of the symbols that would confuse a child even more than
these, and have left just the bare bones of musical notation.
While MARY HAD
A LITTLE LAMB is not a difficult song, imagine a five year-old
presented with this information.
child will be confused by notation alone, and that is before
they even get to the confusion of translating the notation above
onto the keys of the keyboard. Thus you have doubled their
confusion by presenting the song in this manner. Confusion on
the page is compounded by confusion on the keys.
The effect I
notice in children when music is presented this way is one of
disengagement. They immediately decide that this is far harder
than they thought. Once they decide that, the teacher's job is
HAD A LITTLE LAMB presented in PIANO BY NUMBER
format with a numbered keyboard below it:
Ma-ry had a lit-
are readily transparent to children, there is no confusion on
the page. The piano keys are numbered and the numbers on the
page are simply stated. Thus there is no confusion of any kind,
either on the page or the keys.
Using PIANO BY
NUMBER, the child is immediately making music, albeit
simplified, but not to the mind of a child. To a child, this
simplicity is, as Goldilocks said, "Just right."
It's easy to
take that enthusiasm and add a dozen more songs in a day,
because piano by number songs are easy to navigate both on the
page and the piano keys.
Once you have
established the joy of playing music at the piano, you must
carefully start to introduce the elements of reading music, but
only a bit at a time.
To the child,
the lesson is all fun, songs, games and numbers, but there's
just that short part where the piano teacher is asking them to
look at notes for a minute or two. Then, back to the fun of
works with every child.
move beyond numbers in a few months, and the older they are, the
quicker they migrate to the common language of notation.
Piano by Number
also serves another useful function.
able to play piano music far harder than what they are able to
read in sheet music. So if you restrict them to a diet of what
they are able to read, they will starve to death, as it were.
You can't build enthusiasm on a diet of exercise pieces and
nameless pieces that mean nothing to the child.
Use numbers to
extend their ability to play any music they take an interest in,
while at the same time work constantly to bring their music
reading skills up to the same level.
This is exactly
the reverse of the conventional approach, where you learn to
read music first and then, if you survive, you can play anything
freedom is what children need to thrive at the piano in the