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Originally Posted by PianoStudent88
keystring, I don’t know why you would expect that some degree of any musical skill would develop naturally and without instruction for every student. Specifically, no, intervallic sense does not necessarily develop without instruction for everyone.

I have not expressed any expectation of any kind. If it came across that way, my apologies. I wrote a series of ideas that might lead to open ended exploration. We already have AZNpiano expanding to a dual approach, from what he did before, and finding positive changes in reading ability among his students. I threw out a whole kitchen sink of everything I could think of regarding reading, to play with.

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Originally Posted by PianoStudent88

But then I’m that weird unicorn who learned to read by Every Good Boy Does Fine (and the other three acronyms) in a way that seems completely normal to me: initially you count up, eventually you get all the lines and spaces memorized (and later, leger lines), and then you don’t count up any more because you don’t need to.


Well, here's what I'm getting at.

Given any random starting note, can you sing Happy Birthday? I would think yes of course.

Given sheet music for the melody, could you play it easily on the piano? I would also think yes, given very rudimentary keyboard geography, and maybe with more difficulty in some of the outside keys.

Given a piano, no sheet music, and a metronome, could you play the melody? If so, is the process more like the first case or the second?


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Originally Posted by TimR

No, that's not what I mean. As a beginner, I see F on the page, I recognize F as a note, I may even know it is the tonic, I hear the pitch in my mind, but now I have to move a finger through three dimensional space to land on it. Keyboard geography. It's not a problem per se, it's simply a skill to master.

The movies this weekend reminded me of a distantly related problem. I watched the new movie the Beatles. I won't tell you anything, no spoilers, except to relate that there was some music that at my age was very familiar to me. At home I played a few tunes by ear. How do you do that? and in what key? this again is intuitive to people who learned that way, not so much to people like me who started with sheet music.

Tim, I seem to remember that you are in or near the perfect pitch camp .... that you hear F as F. Whether it's the Tonic, or Dominant, or some random chromatic note in some key or atonal music, F is F is F, is that pitch is that pitch is that pitch. Correct? You also play a brass instrument, where you must internalize the pitch that you want to produce, prehearing it, and then listening to whether what you produce matches the pitch you intended to produce. In violin at least we have open strings (G, D, A, E) to compare with - but you don't even have that.

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I hear the pitch in my mind, but now I have to move a finger through three dimensional space to land on it. Keyboard geography. It's not a problem per se, it's simply a skill to master.

That's another aspect of reading music - translating the notehead on the page to a location in space.

Like, there's a lot going on in what we call "reading". The various different things I came up with my previous longer post are things one might teach toward over time, and maybe plant seeds from the beginning.

-------
Btw, personally my original reading was largely intervalic, along diatonic notes in the framework of movable Do solfege. One thing I'm catching up to is that I never developed awareness of line numbers to any great degree, or ledger lines. D/F "looks like B/F in the sense of a top note on a line, two notes below arranged in thirds with a gap. When music is rather diatonic and predictable, you miss that hole in your reading, because other things transport you. It's when you get at music that behaves differently that you suddenly catch such holes.

My feeling is that if a student gets started with any single aspect, it will be weaker than if several aspects get introduced. Reading piano music is much more involved than one may think - which also makes it interesting. smile

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Originally Posted by keystring
My feeling is that if a student gets started with any single aspect, it will be weaker than if several aspects get introduced. Reading piano music is much more involved than one may think - which also makes it interesting. smile

Just to make it more complicated--on the piano you also have to contend with "which hand" and "which finger."


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@TimR, I don’t understand what you’re asking. You seem to be trying to draw some parallels and contrasts between various musical processes. You also seem to be assuming that working out a tune by ear is something everyone can do.

@keystring, I apologize, I think I confused your description of how it worked for you, with other people saying they believe everyone develops some of this ability automatically. I stand by everything I said in regard to the people who think everyone develops some intervallic reading sense without instruction.

Last edited by PianoStudent88; 07/05/19 01:52 PM.

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Originally Posted by TimR


No, that's not what I mean. As a beginner, I see F on the page, I recognize F as a note, I may even know it is the tonic, I hear the pitch in my mind, but now I have to move a finger through three dimensional space to land on it. Keyboard geography. It's not a problem per se, it's simply a skill to master.



That was just one example of "geography problems" I know from others. I did not expect you to feel exactly the same way.

Learning a new instrument is always a challenge.
The individual difficulties may sometimes vary greatly, but in the end we all face the same skills that have to be learned.

What you describe is not uncommon. It is pretty normal ... why learning to play the piano (especially to read and play simultaniously) is anything but a "natural" thing, it needs effort. For some more, for others less...but still, it's definetly nothing that just comes to you.

I experienced the same with the guitar. I definetly had advantages as already being fluent in reading music. But that didnt help until I have managed associating the notes to the right strings/frets. After that, it was "only" physical work...practicing, building up some muscle memory.... till I could read and play at the same time.

I think, it is not that different with any other instrument. We have to get used to it`s specific "anatomy", or geography (as you called it.) Thats part of the game. But luckily this kind of discovering and learning is very exciting and enjoyable too (at least mostly wink )

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I just wanted to give a short update:

My daughter is currently in the 3rd unit of Level 2A.
I am really glad that I refrained from skipping this level. Thanks to your advice.
Though she could play (technically) more elaborate pieces, I notice how her skills benefit from remaining in the 5-finger patterns a little longer.
The same with her understandement of rythms and dynamics. Due to the very nice exercises in this book, she already plays decent crescendos and diminuendos.
It is very gratifying to observe this development.
So for the moment, it's quite fun to work with her.

Nevertheless, the idea of having to teach her alone for a longer period still does not suit me.
That's why I decided to sign her up at the conservatory after all.

(Despite my initial concerns that are probably just a result of my own (bad) experiences.)

Of course, it is possible that she will not be admitted and I will again face the problem of having to choose between plague and cholera…*moan*

But… I won`t do that until I reaaally have to.
In the meantime, I prefer to enjoy the summer. smile



Last edited by Pinkiepie; 07/18/19 07:57 AM.
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My child’s in the PA pre-reader Primer now and loves the songs. My two year old moves rhythmically to them and I can’t get the songs out of my head either. I think the makers did a lot of good research.

To be fair to the group class we abandoned, their songs were very child friendly too. But the first difference has already arisen where we learn to press the key with the hand holding an invisible stone to encourage playing with finger curvature rather than flat fingers. This sort of thing was neglected in group classes. It’s also preventing the bad habit of playing as though pointing with one finger.

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