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Re: Reading for aurally gifted [Re: Betty Patnude] #1314514
11/29/09 03:13 PM
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I don't think pianists should acclimate themselves this way at all, because the relation between keyboard and staff is a poor one, in terms of actual use for reading music. Keyboard tablature, as used by Bach for instance, would make a much better reading method than pretending the staff is something it isn't. A pretend relationship of the staff to the keyboard is harder to use than the real relationship of the staff to sounds, just because of the pretend-ness of it. (I hope that sentence was readable and/or useful.)

Also this method is not new or original - I read about the same type of thing in A Soprano On Her Head by Eloise Ristad, some years ago. Note she was not the originator either, but was quoting another author and showing copies of a couple of pages from that other author's piano method. I can't remember whose piano method the examples were from.


(I'm a piano teacher.)
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Re: Reading for aurally gifted [Re: Betty Patnude] #1314515
11/29/09 03:15 PM
11/29/09 03:15 PM
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Originally Posted by Betty Patnude


Diagram of Keyboard Orientation

Keyboard - Music Staff
_____
_____] C _____ (2nd Leger Line) _____ _____
_____] B
_____] A _____ _____ _____ _____
_____] G
_____] F _______________________________
_____] E
_____] D _______________________________
_____] C (Space)
_____] B _______________________________
_____] A
_____] G _______________________________
_____] F
_____] E _______________________________
_____] D
_____] C Middle (Line) - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
_____] B
_____] A _______________________________
_____] G
_____] F _______________________________
_____] E
_____] D _______________________________
_____] C (Space)
_____] B _______________________________
_____] A
_____] G _______________________________
_____] F
_____] E _____ _____ _____ _____
_____] D
_____] C _____ (2nd Leger Line) _____ _____





That is so clear, so concise, so clear and concise, so concise and clear, so clearly concise and so concisely clear ...

... and concise, and clear, so.

Last edited by landorrano; 11/29/09 03:17 PM.
Re: Reading for aurally gifted [Re: landorrano] #1314526
11/29/09 03:27 PM
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Thanks landorrano, I was just going to ask. smile

There's room for disagreement here, obviously - it just reminds me of Mencken:

"For every complex problem, there is a solution that is simple, neat, and wrong."


(I'm a piano teacher.)
Re: Reading for aurally gifted [Re: david_a] #1314528
11/29/09 03:29 PM
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Originally Posted by david_a
If that's true (I mean, that there are indeed people reading that way) then no wonder reading could be slow and difficult.


This is the very thing that puzzled me when I came to forums. To me the keyboard was simply where the sounds lived. The sounds go up and down. We feel high sounds in our heads and low sounds in our chest. The grand staff also reflects that. The fact that the piano is sideways make no difference. We can still hear where the high and low sounds are.

I mean, on violin the pitches are also left to right, and the same with transverse flute. Nobody makes a fuss about it. But on piano it's supposed to be a big deal that the keyboard is sideways and the staff notes are up and down. That is visual. What about what we hear? When you hear the low notes as low, then it can't be confusing. This is what I have wondered about.

Re: Reading for aurally gifted [Re: david_a] #1314653
11/29/09 07:03 PM
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Originally Posted by david_a
Also this method is not new or original - I read about the same type of thing in A Soprano On Her Head by Eloise Ristad, some years ago. Note she was not the originator either, but was quoting another author and showing copies of a couple of pages from that other author's piano method. I can't remember whose piano method the examples were from.


I first read about turning the staff sideways in Making Music for the Joy of It by Stefanie Judy, many years ago.

Cathy


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Re: Reading for aurally gifted [Re: david_a] #1314713
11/29/09 08:56 PM
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Originally Posted by david_a
Originally Posted by keystring
Originally Posted by david_a

So, I'm a little confused now. Are other people able to do something different - perhaps using the staff as a sideways and really poorly laid-out system of keyboard tablature? I wouldn't last long like that.


Well, what I've caught is that people see the note on the staff, and relate it to the key on the piano, and even that they then listen to see what sound it will make, rather than hearing that sound in their head first. So if for me it was from staff to inner ear to key, theirs is from staff to key to external ear. It also seems that when people speak of intervals, it is visual. It is this distance on the staff, this distance on the keys - it is not a sound. That's the kind of thing I was thinking of.
If that's true (I mean, that there are indeed people reading that way) then no wonder reading could be slow and difficult.


Reading is very slow and difficult for those who can only read by relating the staff to a key. If you hear a beginner play who reads this way it sounds very odd, with no flow, the music is hardly decipherable. Part of the answer is of course sound before piano key. Sing in every lesson, and play games that go from sound to piano key. Sight sing and transcribe songs. That's how I like to teach, but I am particularly averse to halting unrhythmic playing... ergh!

But I think as pianists become more proficient more things happen. When reading more complex pieces even a good aural imaginer doesn't hear every part of the sound, every detail when reading at speed. You might hear a whole bar of melody ahead of time and catch an idea of the shape of the LH parts. What is really interesting is that (I think) there are lots of tiny feedback loops where what has just been played informs the imagining of subsequent parts.

Say you are hearing a piece in advance as you sight read it, then you arrive at a denser more chromatic bar, your inner ear has a cloudy shape of the sound and would accept quite a range of possibilities. Calling in your staff-to-piano-key understanding you read the notes that fall on the first beat, and immediately you hear this your aural imagination can better imagine the rest of the bar. The cloud is smaller, possibilities are fewer. So there are feedback loops of many sizes as you read.

And while you sight read each bar that is heard makes it easier to imagine the rest of the piece. You have a useful sound memory of the style and tonality of the piece so far.

This is what I think happens anyway.. but it could be just me smile I'm enjoying the discussion, interesting area.


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Re: Reading for aurally gifted [Re: Canonie] #1315029
11/30/09 11:54 AM
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I think there is a possibility here that those who are more aural in their learning style tend to ignore the reading (visual) of the piece from the music staff.

I make it a point to teach visual, tactile and aural skills - acquired skills to all of my students. The less they have of any one learning style, it is my opinion that they need the missing part now more than ever. All are necessary and used in the study of music.

In addition to any talents the student brings with him to lessons, the acquired skills are where the power is in becoming a fine musician and in being one's best possible self at the piano. Acquired is disciplined into the player - drilled, retrieved, a set of thinking and habits in response to visual symbols and stimulai. Learned and acquired.

I also say this because of the aural learners posting here are not getting the signicance of my diagram nor are they able to use it. They probably just look at it, once over, and say "so what." Let me say: "So plenty!"

We need all learning styles in our ability levels to do a good job in reading and making music. To me, the aural and imitation approach are not the primary approach - they are adjuncts - often useful - but not primary.

Discipline is at the forefront in every way. A requirement.

Betty Patnude

Re: Reading for aurally gifted [Re: Betty Patnude] #1315085
11/30/09 12:59 PM
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Originally Posted by Betty Patnude
I think there is a possibility here that those who are more aural in their learning style tend to ignore the reading (visual) of the piece from the music staff.

I make it a point to teach visual, tactile and aural skills - acquired skills to all of my students. The less they have of any one learning style, it is my opinion that they need the missing part now more than ever. All are necessary and used in the study of music.

In addition to any talents the student brings with him to lessons, the acquired skills are where the power is in becoming a fine musician and in being one's best possible self at the piano. Acquired is disciplined into the player - drilled, retrieved, a set of thinking and habits in response to visual symbols and stimulai. Learned and acquired.

I also say this because of the aural learners posting here are not getting the signicance of my diagram nor are they able to use it. They probably just look at it, once over, and say "so what."
Not "So what" at all, but "This method doesn't involve reading music, and fibbing to a student that they are learning to read music is probably a mistake."

A student who "reads" in this false way will not be able to sing (or play other instruments) from a score, unless they start over again and actually learn to read music. Learning to read is IMO quite enough work even when you only have to do it once. Twice - no thanks. I fully understand the diagram, and it's extremely well done - but it's a hoax in the same way that hand-position method books are a hoax: real music doesn't go like that. Success at hand-position pieces and success at pretending the staff is a keyboard don't translate into real success, because when the student encounters real music they're forced to go back and re-learn everything properly anyway.

The desire for success is very strong, and that makes it attractive for us as teachers to be able to offer guaranteed success at SOMETHING. But if the success we're offering is in our own made-up discipline that's sort of like music but not quite, is that good for the students?


(I'm a piano teacher.)
Re: Reading for aurally gifted [Re: Betty Patnude] #1315120
11/30/09 01:46 PM
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Betty, how to teach, and what balance to bring toward strengths and weaknesses is probably not something that can be stated as one rule. Every teacher, yourself included, makes judgment calls continually regarding the student in the room. If you teach only to a person's strength, the weakness will get in the way. But if you ignore a person's nature and teach in a way foreign to them, it also doesn't work well. You yourself stress the need to know the student in front of you.

There is nothing wrong with your diagram. But surely that should not mean that addressing hearing is wrong? The fact that we aural people have looked toward hearing the score should not be something you are against - is it?

In the past I have explored the various methods you use and have gained from doing so. That was no cursory glance on my part. The fact that there are patterns and visible ranges on the keyboard, and the same thing on a score, does indeed help in finding one's way quickly on a piano. But that does not mean that the ear cannot also be used.

Actually I wonder whether there may be a miscommunication here:
Quote
I think there is a possibility here that those who are more aural in their learning style tend to ignore the reading (visual) of the piece from the music staff.


We are talking about reading from the score, but "aurally". Some of us look at the score and hear it. We play what we hear from the score. This is not the same as memorizing a melody - which would indeed hurt reading. it means that when you see C,E,G,C you hear an arpeggio, and play an arpeggio. It is like sight singing on the piano, if you will. Perhaps the words "as well" should be added.

If this is a skill, and if some people are aural, can more not be done with this?


Re: Reading for aurally gifted [Re: david_a] #1315125
11/30/09 01:57 PM
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Quote
A student who "reads" in this false way will not be able to sing (or play other instruments) from a score, unless they start over again and actually learn to read music.

I would not dismiss everything that isn't "hearing" or doesn't resemble sight singing. I came back to piano, which I self-taught, decades later, and also relearned reading music. I learned to associate key locations with notes in the score, and retrained using different senses. This has been very useful. You cannot prehear a four part Bach chorale and sight read prima vista in the way you sight sing. It seems impossible for me with modern atonal type music or music that goes strange directions. I'm thinking that there must be a number of ways of approaching music and that it's useful to have more than one.

Re: Reading for aurally gifted [Re: keystring] #1315397
11/30/09 08:26 PM
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David, I really feel you are not getting what I'm saying at all and it bothers me greatly.

This is a less than 5 minute experience in your life time that you look at the music on it's side - not to read the music at all but to see the organization of the keyboard in relationship to the music staff - the equidistance is very important using landmarks of 8 C's.

Something I didn't mention is the seeing of 1-3-5-7-9 intervals from line to line or 2-4-6-8 for spaces.

And, this document is followed by the centerline reading of each clef and at middle C.

I am convinced that despite what you are saying to me, you don't have the perspective of what it offers the student. I have 9 year old kids who get this, understanding it, and using it. And, they find the notes they need. The kids with high visual acuity are much better at it by far - but the kids who don't have visual acuity as their dominant learning style also need the extra time with it because it will work for them too, they just won't see it immediately.

I don't like it when a good thing is being dismissed by the uninitiated. And, it seem we are in conflict about it.

The reason I posted this to a discussion of aurally gifted is because I am on the opinion that without visual and tactile senses being highly developed also, the aural skill is not going to be the vehicle to get you reading music for the piano. You may do solfeggio and sing as a singer sings, one note at a time, but you will not get all the harmony in just one beat of a measure by yourself from the singer's point of view.

It takes a great deal of experience and knowledge with intervals and reading accurately melodically and harmonically before you have that gift.

I don't believe we are talking about the same scope - I have the capacity of diagramming 88 keys of the piano keyboard to the music page in that document.

I am not trying to read music on it's side - it's conceptual only.

I am not fibbing to someone saying they are learning to read music - they are viewing an organizational flow chart - so to speak.

And, when you, David, say: "...it's a hoax in the same way that hand-position method books are a hoax: real music doesn't go like that" you are really out of your element - the 5 finger positions create the measurements of chords, arpeggios, 5 degrees of the major scale, and knowing your way around the Circle of 5th.

Each of the diagrams I do along with 5 FP is setting up measurement devices for the student to use for playing the keyboard with his body - which is the instrument that he is really using to play - brain and body movement coordinated together with thought and action.

I imagine there are quite a few people not getting my drift which makes me wonder what it is that we think we know about music making. If we don't "program" the person to the instrument how will they ever be able to master it. Teach your students how to use their bodies at the instrument in centering to it and then using physics to guide motions. Measurements (from here to there) are a very important part of piano study. You have to have a visual and tactile sense of how to accomplish that. The ear listens to the result and begins to learn about pitch on the music page - by itself the ear does not help you access any particular note on the keyboard or the music page with any given clarity, intonation or accuracy. Pitching is usually within a relationship of a given note. Someone had to play the note to establish the pitch. We know how easily it is to get off pitch in singing, don't we?

Sadly, I think a lot of glamorizing of one's aural ability is creating a false sense of security in this topic.

Re: Reading for aurally gifted [Re: Betty Patnude] #1315513
11/30/09 10:42 PM
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Give me a good ear over good sight reading any day of the week. I'm ALWAYS working on my ear. I don't bother reading music at all now. It simply is not relevant, unless you play only classical and want an exact note by note representation of the piece.

Re: Reading for aurally gifted [Re: Betty Patnude] #1315521
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Originally Posted by Betty Patnude

We need all learning styles in our ability levels to do a good job in reading and making music. To me, the aural and imitation approach are not the primary approach - they are adjuncts - often useful - but not primary.



WRONG! In jazz, the aural and imitation approach is the ONLY way to learn. Nobody in the old days learned jazz by reading sheet music. It was all aural. Call and response has always been the way to learn. No one ever learned to play the blues by sheet music, you had to HEAR it!

Re: Reading for aurally gifted [Re: Wizard of Oz] #1316283
12/01/09 09:44 PM
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Been thinking...
I don't think having good aural skill (being able to hear a melody in your head, sight sing and being able to at least vaguely imagine the sound of 2 hands together) is a specialist skill only for those talented in this area. We all use our aural skills all the time, that's how we notice that we've hit a wrong note when sight reading, our ears tell us of course. Wouldn't it be good if our students could audiate as well as we can (less frustrating maybe).

It seems that teachers like to have students who are naturally "musical" because they are easier to teach, remember music well, hear mistakes, have good brain to finger pattern impulse, can follow multiple parts more easily. Wouldn't it make sense to turn every student into an aurally gifted student, or at least near to it? It also makes sense to develop this area as young as possible, which means in your first years with the student. So that means having ears lead the reading at first because if reading leads (and your finger can find the note) the student doesn't develop the ear as much.

I still think the best way would be to deliberately develop both at once right from the start. If you only read, and especially if you read well, aural can lag behind unless developed along side.

I am making assumptions aren't I, I guess we all give the student the skills we value the most, create the kind of student we identify with musically. Just some more thoughts. FWIW I think the sideway orientation could be useful, I don't see anything wrong with it as a way to show how things work. But I wouldn't use it without any aural or singing games at all, just because it might work too well frown

Keystring, you make a good point to say that using good aural skills is part of reading, just that you don't go directly from dot on page to key, but go via the brain. Score to imagined sound to piano keys, or sound to imagined score, or sound to piano keys (no reading in this case).


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Re: Reading for aurally gifted [Re: Canonie] #1316422
12/02/09 01:15 AM
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Originally Posted by Canonie
So that means having ears lead the reading at first because if reading leads (and your finger can find the note) the student doesn't develop the ear as much.


(emphasis mine)

That's the way it worked for me. It wasn't until years and years later that I started to hear smile And since music really is the sound and not the staff notation or the keyboard layout, it seems to me the sound/aural is primary.

JMO.

Cathy



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Re: Reading for aurally gifted [Re: Betty Patnude] #1416663
04/13/10 07:12 PM
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This is a very interesting thread, although it seems the thread disappeared into the stale thread pages of history without the issue being fully addressed, as far as really exploring methods to deal with the problem.

Could the question be expanded a little to include students beyond beginning children, to extend to anyone whose ear-brain-hand musical connection has gotten ahead of their reading skills? Surely that's a significant sub-group of all piano students, not just of beginning children?

I would think there are many older students who are further along but also having some trouble with their reading skills due to having the natural tendency to be what was described here as "aurally gifted."

Originally Posted by Betty Patnude
I think there is a possibility here that those who are more aural in their learning style tend to ignore the reading (visual) of the piece from the music staff.


I think Betty is correct there. I'm one of those whose ear-brain-hand connection is way ahead of his reading skills.

I know I have the issue so sometimes I will really force myself to read from the score but even then I might get to the bottom of the page without really having seen any of the notes.

The problem is that for us the music becomes memorized so quickly the page-eye-brain connection becomes almost vestigial. We would like teachers to show us a way to nourish it to prevent it from withering.

Of course, by relying on memorization, if we should forget something in the middle of playing a piece then we're up the creek.

It does seem hard to believe that having a good ear should be a drawback. Would you say to prospective students that those with a poor ear make better pianists? I hope not.










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Re: Reading for aurally gifted [Re: bolt] #1416694
04/13/10 08:09 PM
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Incidentally, while doing some googling on this I just came across the following:

"Although 86% of piano teachers polled rated sight-reading as the most important or a highly important skill, only 7% of them said they address it systematically. Reasons cited were a lack of knowledge of how to teach it, inadequacy of the training materials they use, and deficiency in their own sight-reading skills. Teachers also often emphasize rehearsed reading and repertoire building for successful recitals and auditions to the detriment of sight-reading and other functional skills."

Well it was just a quick look from wikipedia but still interesting.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sight_reading



"There is more to this piano playing malarkey than meets the eye" - adultpianist
Re: Reading for aurally gifted [Re: bolt] #1416743
04/13/10 09:40 PM
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Hello Bolt,

It's nice to make your acquaintance! I took a few minutes to look at your profile and read some of your previous postings.

I'm replying because you quoted something I said and I wanted to follow up with you.

When an adult student is extremely aural in their perceptions of playing piano it is very important to offer them every opportunity to learn to also read the music from the music staff notation and convert it to the piano keyboard.

The aural is certainly a great advantage to a learning musician, just think of the disadvantage of someone not being able to hear and respond to the music they are making because they might be highly visual, highly tactile, and very busy making sense of what is happening between the music page and the instrument and within themselves. They are busy learning to multiplex.

The aural learner is coming from a little more creative place and doing things from within himself so that it feels natural and fairly comfortable. He's exploring on the keyboard and using what he knows about songs to find his way around. Some people really take off on having this faculty.

II think anyone with a sense of purpose and some discipline can learn to read and make sense of reading music. Both in basis information and skills sets and then when more independent, with sight reading.

I feel that if a student can't sightread the music, that means that the teacher has failed to teach notation and keyboard orientation. Not the student failed, but the teacher failed. Both are related, but it's the basic information that is missing. There are free notation trainers available for drilling on reading and finding on a virtual keyboard and actually they are quite fun and can be set up to be simple or a fierce mental workout. Some of them keep score for you, too.

I shook my head in disbelief when I read the percentage of teachers who felt they were not good at teaching sightreading. I find that so very sad and completely unrealistic to the definition of piano teacher. We have no absolutely no business teaching piano if we cannot convey instruction in a way that the student can understand, learn and retrieve the concepts when needed. If we can't teach it, students certainly can't learn it.

I'm interested in learning how you found those statistics - what questions did you ask and what key words did you use?

Because of your 2 postings here, I was expecting to learn that you are a teacher too. You have a mind set I could identify with.

I hope to hear back from you!

Betty

Re: Reading for aurally gifted [Re: Betty Patnude] #1416820
04/14/10 01:50 AM
04/14/10 01:50 AM
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Hi Betty, thanks for your reply.

Sorry, I'm not a piano teacher, actually I'm a piano student. I've been a musician for almost 40 years though. Since this is the teacher's forum I tried not to make my post too much of a "help me with my problem" post. Well, I'm self taught on other instruments so I suppose in a way I'm a teacher... I have one student.

I'm glad you asked about the reference in my other post because it made me check on it more and it turned out to be quite an interesting article.

If I recall correctly the google search used key words sight reading training, then I scanned down the excerpts and that was one of the ones that looked interesting. Anyway the info I cited turns out to have come from this article on the Piano Pedagogy Forum:

http://www.music.sc.edu/ea/keyboard/PPF/1.2/1.2.PPFke.html

She did her master's thesis on the state of teaching sight reading.

I have some more thoughts on sight reading problems of the so-called aurally-gifted - let me know if you are interested.

On the way home I stopped by my local sheet music store and picked up several levels of "Sight Reading" by Lin Ling Ling and worked through the first 60 or so exercises and I have a feeling it's going to be really useful. The fact that the melodies are not that recognizable seems key.










"There is more to this piano playing malarkey than meets the eye" - adultpianist
Re: Reading for aurally gifted [Re: bolt] #1417058
04/14/10 11:31 AM
04/14/10 11:31 AM
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There is only one thing that has bothered me in this thread. It is actually about students who cannot sight read well, and who memorize music which they then play by memory. If they can play by memory, then they don't need to read, and if they don't practise reading they won't develop the ability to read, and will need to play by memory. It is a bad cycle. However, in this thread one gets the impression that having a gift in hearing music, or having a strong ear, is the cause of this, and is actually detrimental. I would suspect that many memorizers do not have any special gift in hearing. It is the apparent link between a good ear or aural sense of music,and poor reading abilities, that leaves me feeling uncomfortable.

Re: Reading for aurally gifted [Re: keystring] #1417064
04/14/10 11:43 AM
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+ 1, as they say.

Re: Reading for aurally gifted [Re: landorrano] #1417225
04/14/10 02:44 PM
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Thread should be renamed "Sight reading for the poor readers who rely on memory and need to look at their hands because they they forgot to memorize where the keys are"


"There is more to this piano playing malarkey than meets the eye" - adultpianist
Re: Reading for aurally gifted [Re: keystring] #1417309
04/14/10 04:22 PM
04/14/10 04:22 PM
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Originally Posted by keystring

There is only one thing that has bothered me in this thread. It is actually about students who cannot sight read well, and who memorize music which they then play by memory. If they can play by memory, then they don't need to read, and if they don't practise reading they won't develop the ability to read, and will need to play by memory. It is a bad cycle.

Yes.
Quote

However, in this thread one gets the impression that having a gift in hearing music, or having a strong ear, is the cause of this, and is actually detrimental.

I think that is misleading. People go to their strengths. If a player struggles through something, measure by measure, but then instantly memorizes what he (she) has done, that player may learn very difficult music by compensating for lack of reading through ear and memory. In fact, we can't really be sure how much the ear is necessary, on piano.

The only time we have to read and read well is if we have to play something we have never seen or heard, and we have to nail it either the first time.

For this reason, you will find that there are solo performing pianists, some famous, who are relatively weak readers, but accompanists are very strong readers.

So the only way to make sure someone reads really well is to make that a major priority, stress the importance, and of course know how to teach reading. I see no proof that good readers hear better than other players (or worse), and I think that people who read very well may not have really strong ears (ear-development).
Quote

I would suspect that many memorizers do not have any special gift in hearing.

I agree, and I would add that in spite of having a very good ear, memorization has NEVER been easy for me. My visual rentention is almost non-existent. smile
Quote

It is the apparent link between a good ear or aural sense of music, and poor reading abilities, that leaves me feeling uncomfortable.

Me too...


Last edited by Gary D.; 04/14/10 04:22 PM.

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