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Re: new transfer student who cannot read much [Re: TimR] #2921539 12/10/19 08:41 AM
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bennevis Offline
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Originally Posted by TimR
Originally Posted by LarryK
Is it a phenomenon of the YouTube generation that expects to be able to figure out how to play everything by watching someone’s hands in a video?


Here I think we are at risk of confusing a couple of different concepts.

The original student could not read sheet music, but also could not play without stumbling even simpler pieces.

I think you're misunderstanding what the OP wrote.

At no point did he/she say that the student is unable to play the notes because of deficient technique. She couldn't play because she didn't know which notes to play.

Quote
Generations of professional musicians learned to play superbly by ear, by listening to recordings and by going to live venues and watching their heroes become their peers.

You have a habit of conflating jazz with classical in your posts.

Jazz is all about copying "heroes" and playing by ear. No jazzer ever needs to learn to read music.

Classical is about playing what's on the printed score and interpreting the notes. Yes - even if you're the composer. Composers who perform their own music often play from their own scores - in fact, Stephen Hough says he always plays his own music from the score so that the audience won't think he's just improvising:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2FmvkYURUKc



"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."
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Re: new transfer student who cannot read much [Re: chueh] #2921566 12/10/19 10:38 AM
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The ideas for helping with the actual situation, mostly from piano teachers, are mainly on the first page, a bit on the 2nd. So far the OP has not been back so nobody knows anything to date.

Re: new transfer student who cannot read much [Re: chueh] #2921609 12/10/19 01:29 PM
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A while back I came across a set of cartoons on learning to play an instrument. There are parents & students who have no respect for a music teacher and simply insist on doing their own thing. They set the lesson material what they want to learn and the teacher is supposed to go along with it whether the demands are reasonable or not.





I've come across young people from non-musical families who got enrolled into a music program by their parents. Parents couldn't really help the kids or give constructive feedback except criticize their playing is not good enough. Playing music was often treated as academic exercises. After a few years, the kids didn't get very far and the parents let them quit. When it comes to paying for lessons at least the parents are sensible enough to see that their money would be going down the drain. Parents who insist their kids are talented is too much.

Christmas is around the corner and there are many video performances of seasonal tunes posted online. Some of the students play easy arrangements of popular songs like "Silent Night", "Jingle Bells", "We Wish You a Merry Christmas". Even when they're playing easy pieces you see that they're reading off a piece of paper. The easiest way you can arrange a piece together is a 1 line melody (1 note at a time). The L & R would take turns playing the melody without accompaniment. The next level of difficulty would be playing a chord or 2 to end the piece. Some students really have issues and need to start with the basics but nobody like to be told to start with "Mary had a Little Lamb" or "Lightly Row". I don't think anybody would have an issue playing a simple version of "Jingle Bells". Here we're trying to teach students who have been playing for a few years the basics without being too insulting to his/her lack of abilities. Arrangement of seasonal tunes can be used to teach reading skills.

Re: new transfer student who cannot read much [Re: thepianoplayer416] #2921621 12/10/19 02:02 PM
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Originally Posted by thepianoplayer416
I don't think anybody would have an issue playing a simple version of "Jingle Bells". Here we're trying to teach students who have been playing for a few years the basics without being too insulting to his/her lack of abilities. Arrangement of seasonal tunes can be used to teach reading skills.

No - bad idea. If someone has a good ear and has played by ear for a few years, if you give them an arrangement of familiar music, the ear will take over and the notes will never be seen. Even if you want to learn to read, this will create problems. When I tried to turn around my mess, I sought out random notes and unpredictable, unfamiliar music.

Re: new transfer student who cannot read much [Re: chueh] #2921625 12/10/19 02:41 PM
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I like to do sight reading as a warm up. One piece I give newish students that can read ok, is "Good Morning to You."
They play it, but often do not "know" it. They have the counting, the melody, but cannot HEAR themselves. I have them do it a time or two again, and tell them to literally touch their ears to turn them on.
Almost all the time, they finally get to hear the tune, which is:
"Happy Birthday."

You can also tape off the title of a familiar tune and have them "guess" it. (yes, I go down a level or two for sight reading.)

For students that want to develop their ear, I go back to what I first taught them in beginning lessons- Jingle Bells and Mary Had a Little Lamb. Both are simple 5 fingers, 5 notes. I had them play in C back then. But now, I have them move to G position. And, ask them to sound it out. They start off confidently, thinking how easy it will be. Sometimes it is! Sometimes, not. Now, transpose to D! To A! more, more, more!!! Oh my!!

Then, I have them add I and V7 chords. They realize they DO need theory. They DO need to understand scales and whole and half steps to build chords.

As for the videos above, YES for the first one- bang head on wall!
The 2nd one was too much cursing and I will not endorse that one.


Learning as I teach.
Re: new transfer student who cannot read much [Re: chueh] #2925862 12/22/19 06:27 PM
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I didn't read all the comments, but this sounds to me very much like Suzuki training. Not to put down this method, since I have heard very effective stories -- but in the past when I have had students come to me playing POLISHED, GOOD performances of ADVANCED music (Mozart and Beethoven Sonatas), yet barely be able to read a note of music, they always had a Suzuki background.

Re: new transfer student who cannot read much [Re: Opus_Maximus] #2925904 12/22/19 09:03 PM
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Originally Posted by Opus_Maximus
I didn't read all the comments, but this sounds to me very much like Suzuki training. Not to put down this method, since I have heard very effective stories -- but in the past when I have had students come to me playing POLISHED, GOOD performances of ADVANCED music (Mozart and Beethoven Sonatas), yet barely be able to read a note of music, they always had a Suzuki background.

Contrary to popular belief, Suzuki is not meant to be "don't read" but "read later". It's common these days to start working on reading when starting book 2. Regardless of the actual timing, reading level takes a while to catch up to playing level. If a "Suzuki teacher" doesn't have a plan for developing the reading skill, that would be bad teacher, not bad Suzuki.

One could say "traditional" students can't play anything that's not written down, aren't attentive to the sounds they are making, etc. It wouldn't be bad method; teachers can decide whether or not to train those things. Also, keep in mind that if someone were satisfied with the teaching they were receiving, they most likely wouldn't have looked to transfer.

Many posters have made suggestions but still no follow up from the OP, oh well.

Re: new transfer student who cannot read much [Re: mostlystrings] #2925936 12/23/19 12:10 AM
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Originally Posted by mostlystrings
... but still no follow up from the OP, oh well.

Especially that.

Re: new transfer student who cannot read much [Re: mostlystrings] #2925944 12/23/19 01:01 AM
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Originally Posted by mostlystrings
Contrary to popular belief, Suzuki is not meant to be "don't read" but "read later". It's common these days to start working on reading when starting book 2. Regardless of the actual timing, reading level takes a while to catch up to playing level. If a "Suzuki teacher" doesn't have a plan for developing the reading skill, that would be bad teacher, not bad Suzuki.

There have been other Suzuki-bashing threads in the past, so I won't expand upon those. Suffice it to say that what Opus_Maximus wrote is not an uncommon occurrence. I've seen enough good results from a couple of Suzuki teachers to know that a great teacher can make any substandard curriculum work.


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Re: new transfer student who cannot read much [Re: chueh] #2925945 12/23/19 01:36 AM
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Actually, there is no sign that this has anything to do with Suzuki, and Chueh, the asker, has not come back once to this thread. Perhaps the problem is solved?

Re: new transfer student who cannot read much [Re: chueh] #2925951 12/23/19 03:00 AM
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There are only 2 ways to reproduce a piece: by ear or by reading. I've been to concerts where a pianist read through entire pieces and ones who performed by ear. As someone in the audience, I only cared that the music came through.

Many beginners struggle because they reading skill is not yet well-developed and they don't have enough ear training to perform piece without reading. Once I was in a piano store. Several teenagers walked in. 1 of them went to a DP and said he can play Beethoven "Für Elise". After a few notes he couldn't continue without the sheet music. It was clear he hadn't got the piece memorized or had enough ear training to fill in the rest of the piece. I didn't know how good his reading was so had to assume he could read the rest of the piece.

While the debate between learning to read or play by ear should come first, students who can play a few songs even at the beginner's level would boost their self-esteem and provide the incentive to continue playing for years to come. The Suzuki approach is not intended for students to play without learning to read altogether. Reading & ear training complement each other. After learning a song by ear, you would make the connection when you see symbols on the page for the same piece. There is the issue that a student had already learned a song by memory that he/she would not be reading the notes. Besides the Suzuki CD at the back of each Book, there are online videos of the Suzuki pieces made by teachers & students. It is possible to learn many Suzuki pieces by watching videos without having to read.

By the time a Suzuki student finished Book 1, he/she would have participated in the first recital performing "Twinkle Variations" and other piece in front of the parents from memory. When I was a child, there was a battery-operated toy keyboard in the house with very few keys each with a different color like red for C, blue for D. I was supposed to learn the notes on the staffs but all I had to do was to match the colors. Piano didn't work for me at age 5 so I didn't get into piano until 2 decades later. Besides learning to read, L & R coordination was the main issue that got me into learning violin first.

Re: new transfer student who cannot read much [Re: thepianoplayer416] #2925956 12/23/19 03:57 AM
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Originally Posted by thepianoplayer416
While the debate between learning to read or play by ear.....

This thread is about a teacher who has a transfer student, and as far as I can tell, wanted some help or ideas regarding a reading problem. It is not about any debate. Or Suzuki.

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