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Why Delay Reading Music

 

 

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Start piano at home with your child

Start with numbers, then read music

Books for Younger Kids      Books for Older Kids      Books for Adults

 

WHY DELAY READING MUSIC

It's like asking, "Why delay learning algebra?"

You delay learning algebra until the child has other mathematical skills already in place, upon which algebra is based. Addition, subtraction, multiplication and division precede algebraic concepts.

Reading even the simplest of musical notation requires several mental skills that your child, depending on their age, may or may not have in place.

  1. You must have a firm grasp on the abstract idea (and execution) of left and right, including left and right hands.

  2. You must be able to order symbols and events, sometimes horizontally (sequentially) and sometimes vertically (simultaneously.)

  3. You must understand more than a dozen types of symbols, many only slightly different from one another. This must be memorized.

  4. You must look at a page of symbols and make countless decisions about them. Are they different, are they the same? Are they going up, are they going down?

  5. Add to this the necessity of using a particular finger on a certain note. Fingers are also named and numbered, and you have to remember that.

  6. Add to this the need to name the notes you play. There is a musical alphabet (A through G,) that inexplicably fits only a portion of what the child understands, and starts on the letter C, to add to the confusion!

The above list is only the right hand, and is hardly an exhaustive list. Essentially, I don't want to scare you, as a new teacher, before you even begin.

Hopefully, you can see the folly of starting piano lessons ASSUMING that the child will be able to negotiate all the above skills on the list, right away, without losing heart and hope that they can ever do it, much less have fun with it.

Since the list is so long, the conventional teacher begins right away drilling, drilling the material into their young charge's brains.

Some survive this, a very few, and of those few, almost none enjoy it.

And why should they?

It's like playing baseball with a pretend ball. You can go through all the motions and it will never be as exciting as the real game. 

What is the real game? Making music, however crudely, however childishly.

The mistake teachers make is to fail to distinguish between making music and reading music. They are not the same, not by a long shot.

To read music is not necessarily to make it, for making music is a joyous, wordless, rather inexplicably spiritual pursuit.

Reading music is the province of the librarian, whereas being a pianist is more like being an actor who interprets a script.

How can you get your child to start playing music at the piano?

First, choose simple songs that they know. Unless the song is recognizable to the child, it is useless as a teaching tool to generate enthusiasm.

Next, let them play as many familiar songs as possible, using whatever instinctive fingering they choose. Don't bother them with fingering before they have decided that piano is fun and they want to do it.

Explore rhythm as an entirely separate issue. Here is a link to FOURS, a piano rhythm game that will inspire you to try other similar games in an effort to get your child to enjoy the piano without reading music.

You can try exploring rhythm in a song they know, such as Jingle Bells. Have them sing the song with the correct spaces, and then have them try it at the piano. Don't labor over this issue. There is so much to learn before you get to rhythm.

A pianist is required to handle up to eight times the information that a flutist or cellist must. In that sense, a pianist must learn to be an information manager more than any other instrumentalist.

When you child is fired up about the piano, and can play many songs by ear and number, they are a more likely candidate for success, and may be more likely to continue, taking a more serious interest in the piano and music in general. 

By John Aschenbrenner Copyright 2008 Walden Pond Press All Rights Reserved

See also AN EFFECTIVE STRATEGY FOR KIDS LEARNING TO READ MUSIC

See also HOW TO HELP KIDS FIND MIDDLE C

See also WHAT KIDS REALLY UNDERSTAND ABOUT SHEET MUSIC

See also WHY PIANO STICKERS WORK FOR READING MUSIC

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Piano Lessons: A Child's Point of View

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Click here to read the entire tutorial HOW TO TEACH YOUR CHILD TO READ MUSIC

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PIANO IS EASY BOOK PACKAGE INCLUDES:

PIANO IS EASY (ISBN # 0-9718936-1-6) Sturdily bound, durable, colorful 120 page illustrated song book with 50 songs such as Jingle Bells and London Bridge, Play Along Audio CD and removable numbered stickers. 

Every book package order of PIANO IS EASY includes a copy of I CAN READ MUSIC. This fun, easy-to-understand music activity book is the best way to start children reading music. Click here for sample pages.

Every book package order of PIANO IS EASY includes a FREE copy of the 56 minute DVD video from TEACH YOURSELF PIANO. This video will have you playing chords (three piano keys played with the left hand) and fun, familiar songs with both hands right away. That's a $16.95 value free!

2 BOOKS,  PLAY ALONG AUDIO CD and DVD 

Click here for a list of songs.    Click here for sample pages.

PIANO IS EASY BOOK PACKAGE $39.95   

 PIANO IS EASY book package includes a 107 page song book with 44 songs and removable stickers, plus a Play Along Audio CD, free DVD and copy of the book  I CAN READ MUSIC.

You can also purchase individual books with CD $24.95

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