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Joined: Oct 2013
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Do teachers still do this?
Do you?
Care to explain how that's working for your students?

I had a student come back to class (group lessons) and the dad wrote in the letter names under all the notes.

I thought the student was doing much better than usual... smile but then I saw the letters in there. I erased them... the student immediately went back to "normal"... she struggled with note recognition.

How do you feel about this? Do any of you still do this?
Thanks

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I do sometimes write in a few letter names with advanced students whose music contains giant chords or clusters that are hard to read, especially if there are lots of accidentals, or if double sharps or double flats are involved. It's also helpful in fugues, or complicated music with lots of sharps/flats in the key signature, or if the music modulates constantly, or atonal.

For the sake of practice, a G is much easier to "read" than F double sharp.


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of course, that is not what I was referring to.
i sometimes notate chord names in piano scores, especially when using a choral accompaniment score or when playing from a hymnal.

I am referring to new students who are learning the notes for the first time smile

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I occasionally do, but I don't make it a regular thing. I don't want students just reading the letters instead of looking at the notes.


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Lots of times I will play the note combination [ RH, LH or both] and have the student play it several times and then show them where it is in the music. Just trying to streamline the learning process a bit.

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waiting for more answers... just curious.

the main problem I see with this is when you end up removing the letter names anyways... the student has to go back to remembering them


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Reading is not about being able to name notes. It's about being able to find patterns.


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Originally Posted by Minniemay
Reading is not about being able to name notes. It's about being able to find patterns.


I think the same way when I read myself. I just have a hard time getting my students to think like that. It's sort of like the topic of improvisation to me. I can sort of explain it, but not really.

How do you explain this pattern approach to your students, when it comes to reading scores?

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Originally Posted by Florentin
Do teachers still do this?
Do you?
Care to explain how that's working for your students?

I had a student come back to class (group lessons) and the dad wrote in the letter names under all the notes.

I thought the student was doing much better than usual... smile but then I saw the letters in there. I erased them... the student immediately went back to "normal"... she struggled with note recognition.

How do you feel about this? Do any of you still do this?
Thanks

When parents write in letter names, I tell them to stop. If they continue it, I end lessons.

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Originally Posted by AZNpiano
I do sometimes write in a few letter names with advanced students whose music contains giant chords or clusters that are hard to read, especially if there are lots of accidentals, or if double sharps or double flats are involved. It's also helpful in fugues, or complicated music with lots of sharps/flats in the key signature, or if the music modulates constantly, or atonal.

For the sake of practice, a G is much easier to "read" than F double sharp.

I would do that now and then too. But that is not what the OP is talking about...

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Originally Posted by Minniemay
Reading is not about being able to name notes. It's about being able to find patterns.

Exactly...

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finding patterns... agreed, like I stated before

In order to find patterns, however, one has to have reference points, at least initially.

care to expand a bit?

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Occasionally, in the very early stage when students only play A-B-C-D-E, I ask THEM to write the note names. This would be during the lesson. However, having the parents write in the names is not good.

Another way, it can be helpful is if they are asked to circle all the bass clef f's on the score and write f beside it. But this would only be for one new note, to help emphasize it. On another day, you might ask them to put a box around all the bass clef e's. But it's not helpful to do too many notes on any given piece.

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Originally Posted by Florentin
finding patterns... agreed, like I stated before

In order to find patterns, however, one has to have reference points, at least initially.

care to expand a bit?

I'm interested in what your own thoughts are on this. smile

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Look up intervallic reading. You want the student to know a few landmark notes: middle C, treble G, bass F to start, and then you need a song that starts on a landmark.

Pre-teach 2nds: 2nds are two keys right next to each other, two letters next to each other, two fingers next to each other. Teach them: "Start on finger 2. Go up a 2nd. What finger do you get to? Finger 3!" Quiz them. "Play Middle C with finger 2. Go up a 2nd. What finger do you land on? What key do you land on?" You also should show them on-staff 2nds. Help them see line to the very next space or space to the very next line.

When you start "practicing" the reading for the song they'll take home, have them identify the landmark starting note, find the patterns, (in our theoretical example, 2nds), air-play: "We're starting with finger 1 on Middle C. The next note goes up to the very next space -- that means it's a 2nd higher! Tap finger 1, "up a second" finger 2 "up a second" finger 3." etc.

Then teach the other lines and spaces by flash cards. Show the card, play the key, say the letter out loud. Start with the landmark notes.

No, I never write the letters in except for the occasional accidental wrong note. If a parent ever does, we erase it at the lesson and the student learns that we read notes, not letters. But you also need to teach this interval-finger connection, not just letters-fingers connection. Some method books are far more helpful with this than others.

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Originally Posted by keystring
Originally Posted by Florentin
finding patterns... agreed, like I stated before

In order to find patterns, however, one has to have reference points, at least initially.

care to expand a bit?

I'm interested in what your own thoughts are on this. smile


I think a big reason for my own approach is that I was introduced to music reading, early on, using a combination of FIXED DO and MOVABLE DO. I used different piano books that I had available, but they were not sequential.

I made my own system of reading notes as a child, and it works for me, but I have a hard time teaching it to others.

I can, for example, hear the notes in my head before I play them.

So I do use patterns in my own reading, but I don't first think the numeric pattern - I first hear the sound and the intervals.

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Originally Posted by OP
I made my own system of reading notes as a child, and it works for me, but I have a hard time teaching it to others.


Teach it to us!
We are mostly piano teachers here in this forum. Let's see if we can understand your system that you develop since as a child.


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no no no no no no....just please, no!

In my mind, the process of learning to read music is very similar to the process of learning to read words. First we learn the alphabet. And we learn how each letter sounds. Then we learn how they sound in short groupings ("Cat," "Hat,") then we learn to slowly sound them out and put them together to understand a simple story. Then we gradually learn longer words and string them together into longer sentences for more complicated ideas, and to speed up in how fast we read to the point where we no longer are "sounding out" most words, we just *recognize* them. But you'd never expect a normal 7 year old to be reading Shakespeare, nor should he until he has long passed the "sounding out" stage of learning to read.

Same with music. If someone can't look at a simple line of music, and just be able to play it, then the music is too hard for them. And in my mind, that is perfectly demonstrated by if they need the letters written in. I would correspond that to someone who is trying to read 8th grade level reading, but is still "sounding out" every single word. They need to back up until they have gotten more practice at instantly recognizing *words*, instead of still needing to process every single letter. (And in music, the idea of recognizing words would correspond to recognizing intervals and relationships of notes. Also, for example, just "knowing" how a dotted quarter note rhythm sounds. No longer having to count it out, etc.)

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Originally Posted by red-rose
no no no no no no....just please, no!

In my mind, the process of learning to read music is very similar to the process of learning to read words. First we learn the alphabet. And we learn how each letter sounds. Then we learn how they sound in short groupings ("Cat," "Hat,") then we learn to slowly sound them out and put them together to understand a simple story.



no no no no no no....just please, no!

That is NOT the process of learning to read words. It may be for some, but it is not the process for all, and especially it doesn't seem to be the process for the more fluent readers.

I was surprised to find this out. I was pretty sure that was how I and everybody else learned, until I had kids of my own. They definitely did NOT learn that way. And I probably didn't either, but memory is unreliable that far back.

Last edited by TimR; 10/24/13 08:52 AM.

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I occasionally write the letter under the note and my teacher never says you must not. Is she right or wrong? I feel by writing the letter I am not learning properly but sometimes it is the only way to go. My teacher only really cares that I phrase correctly, not that I write the letter under the note. She knows I hate sight reading and when I am at the lesson and she says now lets do some sight reading. I look astonished and she laughs cos she knows I dislike it. I will never be a fluent sight reader no matter how hard I try

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