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Topic: Teach young students to understand ledger line and high octave  (Read 6505 times)

Offline dora96

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Hi everyone,

At the moment, I am struggling to teach my younger students to understand ledger lines. In a scale, they can see how the ledger lines form,( they can see the note descending or ascending.   But when they come to individual note in the sheet music. They really don't know the notes are. They have  hard time to understand them, unless I tell them what is it. Do you have any suggestion? Any way that can make them see and understand, remember it thanks

Offline Bob

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Hmmm....

All notes written are either are a line or a space.  Nothing else, no inbetweens.

Five lines, four spaces.  for the staves.

It used to be an 11 line staff, but that's hard to read, so they made it ... "five lines, four spaces." 

Just like if you dipped your fingers into paint and smeared them on the wall.  What do you end up with?  Five lines, four spaces.  Spaces between those lines... Someone always points that out.  Some just to be difficult.

And the lines extend beyond the staff, but they're invisible.  There's no point printing them (using all that ink) if there aren't any notes written up/down there.  But the lines and spaces still extend.

And so do the sayings.  There is a FACE in the staff.  But there's also a FACE sitting on the top of the treble clef staff.  There's also a FACE on the very bottom of the bass clef staff.  (That can really mess them up though, esp if they learned FACE is for SPACE or something.)


sounds like you hit on it though.  They don't know what the notes are to begin with.  Work on that.  Then mess them up more with the leger lines. 
Favorite new teacher quote -- "You found the only possible wrong answer."

Offline hyrst

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I don't have a good idea for reinforcing the leger lines in a fun way or anything - unfortunately.  

I just find that my students grasp the concept if I am patient and they have time.  I start with getting them to recognise middle C, then the Cs in the matching spaces (from the outside in) and then the two Cs with 2 leger lines.  That seems to be pretty obvious to nearly all of them.  They get lots of practice on these Cs because I take them through a few Dozen a Day books - which also has the adventage of teaching them pretty much every movement they will need to get through the grades.  They read these Cs so many times that they just take them as a guide for where abouts on the keyboard they are playing.  I also have them playing at different octaves right from the beginning - as often as possible, but there are some students who find it harder to find their way.

Reading the treble a, middle B and D and bass E, these are fairly clear by step from the other notes that are known by the time they are playing these.  The other leger lines are difficult to get used to - but they eventually sink in.  I help students work out what the beginning note in a group is, and then they are able to read the remainder by intervals and sequences - the same way they read other notes.  I have no problem writing down the first letter of the group if needed.  

Students get used to it.  I still find that I have to stop and think if there are more than 3 leger lines if the note isn't part of a pattern I have picked up by the time I first read it.  We just don't use these notes that often - but if we did, we would recognise them as quickly as the others.  

I guess this doesn't help that much - just encouraging you to watch the young ones learn and enjoy.  Ifind them very surprising.  

Offline slobone

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Hey, I've been playing the piano for 50 years, and I still can't read ledger lines (except the first two or three) without counting them out. Then I normally write the name of the note next to them in the sheet music.

It's the same with the typewriter keyboard. I'm a pretty good touch typist until I need something in the top row, then I have to look.

Offline a-sharp

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Gosh - glad to hear I'm not the only one.

The thing I'm trying to get used to is recognizing intervals - so I don't have to count each line out. It's taking time, but I'm getting better. I didn't learn that way...  But, aside from explaining what they are depicting (more lines & spaces etc) - once they can see the first line/space, they should *in theory* be able to recognize intervals above/below that...  Or - they'll be like the rest of us and forever have to count it out. It could be worse. ;)

Offline faulty_damper

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Did you know that there wasn't always 5 lines on a staff?  5 lines is the current evolution in a long history of western music notation.

To understand 5 lines on a staff and ledger lines, you first have to teach the most basic staff line: the single line staff.

If your teaching methodology is based on middle C, there is no real use of teach the modern staff other than confusing the minds of these children.

This advice isn't helpful at all because no one nowadays knows how the modern system of notation evolved.  But this is how to teach staff notation effectively.  You start simply and then figure out how to solve any problems.  The problem with the single line staff only presented itself when you needed to notate more than 3 notes.

So 1 line became 2.  This only worked for a limited number to pitches.  As music evolved to include a wider range more lines were added to solve the previous problem of inadequate means of notation.  2 became 3.  And if you were to solve this problem as notation needed to keep up with music, you'll solve it with the modern 5 line staff and ledger lines.  But even knowing this, you'll still not understand the implications well enough to teach it because no nowadays had to solve anything in music.

Good luck.

Offline dora96

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I try to go through the notes in ledger line (the space and line) with young children, but the hard est thing is they can gasp the concept to add the line. I find that they are very confused to see the added line. Example, Treble Clef  upper A is added line B is space and c added 2 lines. Middle C is added one line, and B is in the space, they understand that part, but as individual note as its own. They can't remember, even worst when they have to read the Bass Clef, surely there must be method to read or recognize  them quickly.

Offline pianowolfi

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At the time I find more and more out that grasping the concept of lines has to do with being able to see numbers. Who would count five nuts on a table? We have learnt to see the number directly. And students often start with counting the 5 lines (or a number of ledger lines), which is the wrong approach. We have only a certain low number of lines because we are not able to see higher numbers at the first glance. If you learn to see 5 ledger lines above or below the staff you don't have to count anymore. You see at the first glance on which place a note is.

Offline a-sharp

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This is going to sound probably too obvious - but have you tried having them work with flashcards? This can help with that instant recognition thing.

In the end - how *vital* is it to recognize it with utmost speed anyway? Truth be told - I write in the note (as old as I am and as long as I've been playing) - if I have to. After a while, I just know what it is - so what. It's not that big of a deal. My teacher was like, "write whatever you want." Of course - you want (them) to learn to figure it out - but I'm thinking - patience... Sometimes some of these concepts just don't "click" until a little later - so work on what you can and come back to it later.

Just a few thoughts...... good luck. :)

Offline Bob

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Another idea that helped some of my students was that two lines above the treble clef and two lines below the bass clef, is C.
Favorite new teacher quote -- "You found the only possible wrong answer."

Offline pianochick93

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Learn flute...seriously.
You spend a lot of the time playing high d, e, f, g, etc.
I could never read ledger lines before I learnt flute, and now I can/ Just not the low notes so much.
h lp! S m b dy  st l   ll th  v w ls  fr m  my  k y b  rd!

I am an imagine of your figmentation.

Offline keypeg

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Instead of FACE, and EGDBF, names of lines and spaces, or maybe in addition to it - there are key points on the staff.  The clef on the treble clef curls around G, and the bass clef has two dots surrounded F with the clef itself starting with a fat dot on the F.  They are like place markers. 

The leger lines have place markers too.  One line up on the treble clef is A, and two lines up are C.  The first line below treble is C, and the first line up above bass is C.  I found it very helpful to memorize these "markers" to help me find my way around, and then get used to the notes in between.

Offline slobone

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I'm only sorry my teachers didn't make me learn alto and tenor clef at an early age, then I could read scores as easily as piano music...

Offline Bob

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Ugh... (shudders at the thought of c clefs)

Tranposing a simple piece up there and playing that won't hurt either.  I did that with some simple stuff and it helped.
Favorite new teacher quote -- "You found the only possible wrong answer."

Offline bluepianist

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Hi Dora,
   I agree with Bob and Faulty Damper.  I also start staff reading with a single line and we play with notes above and below the line.  The next week I add another line,and we do the same thing.  From there I tell them a story with illustration that they copy) about a Clef family and give them three landmarks to remember.  Their musci revolves around these three notes and intervals aroung them for at least 6 months.  The ledger lines are easy....we just add more bedrooms to the house.
Hope this helps
BluePianist
 

Offline dora96

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I have been teaching the students like Bob said 2 added line C are called in the Treble Clef and Bass Clef. They start to recognize the higher C and lower C. I think the students' problem, when they see the added line, their heads get dizzy and they become afraid. Even before they try to play the music, they see all these line above the Clefs  that initiate them. Once they learn it and put effort into it and they realise that the music is not as hard as they thought.

However, some young students below ten years of age, they perfectly play once piece the music with some ledger note in the Clef, but in some reasons, they can't apply into other music. I said to them, they are exactly the same note. What they do is they are forced memorization instead of understanding the concept of lines and spaces like in the middle 5 lines. I do ask them to write them down if they have trouble to recognize them.

Like others said when students learn how to play flute and clarinet, there are more ledger liner. How do they learn them, is it the same principal like the piano? I don't known I have no idea how to these instruments.   

Offline mike_lang

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I think I posted this in another thread, but... Dandelot.
For more information about this topic, click search below!
 

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