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10 yr old plays Chopin by ear but can't read music (Read 7900 times)

Offline green

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10 yr old plays Chopin by ear but can't read music
« on: April 04, 2013, 11:29:44 PM »
This student can play a waltz and a nocturn, a few other tunes, but was never taught to read music. He also writes little pieces in the style of chopin, my suggestion was after writing it down, and looking at the form and possibilities for voicing, form, etc, to compare it to other similar work by chopin to see what he does, for further ideas. Any suggestions on how to proceed with composition here? Sites or specific composition ideas?

Offline bernadette60614

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Re: 10 yr old plays Chopin by ear but can't read music
«Reply #1 on: April 05, 2013, 01:31:55 AM »
I'd suggest the website brainpop. I don't have the URL handy, but it is easy to find.

Offline keypeg

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Re: 10 yr old plays Chopin by ear but can't read music
«Reply #2 on: April 05, 2013, 05:24:47 PM »
I'd suggest the website brainpop. I don't have the URL handy, but it is easy to find.
I see a series of teaching activities on all kinds of subjects - like movies explaining things, and quizzes etc.  You can't really watch anything to assess how good it is, because first you have to subscribe and pay a fee.

Are you familiar with the music part of brainpop?  I see that they seem to talk about things like major and minor scales and key signatures.  In what way do you think that the site will help?  Do you think that this teacher would use the site in some way (I'm trying to see how it works together with teaching).

Offline keypeg

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Re: 10 yr old plays Chopin by ear but can't read music
«Reply #3 on: April 05, 2013, 05:25:53 PM »
This student can play a waltz and a nocturn, a few other tunes, but was never taught to read music. He also writes little pieces in the style of chopin, my suggestion was after writing it down, and looking at the form and possibilities for voicing, form, etc, to compare it to other similar work by chopin to see what he does, for further ideas. Any suggestions on how to proceed with composition here? Sites or specific composition ideas?
Green, if he can't read, how can he "write" pieces in the style of Chopin?  Is he writing it, or is he playing it into some kind of software that does the writing for him?

Offline bernadette60614

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Re: 10 yr old plays Chopin by ear but can't read music
«Reply #4 on: April 05, 2013, 09:47:30 PM »
We have used the music section (as well as others). They are little animated cartoons with animations.

A month subscription is under $10.00, so it might be worth a shot.

 

Offline bernadette60614

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Re: 10 yr old plays Chopin by ear but can't read music
«Reply #5 on: April 06, 2013, 01:56:54 PM »
Sorry, that post was abbreviated..cause our 11 year old son just walked in.

There are little animated videos on reading music, melody and other topics.  They feature two characters:  a young adult and a robot.

Also, parent friendly in as much as there are other subject areas covered from language arts through math.

Offline quantum

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Re: 10 yr old plays Chopin by ear but can't read music
«Reply #6 on: April 06, 2013, 08:40:41 PM »
Are his stylized Chopin pieces compositions (in the sense that he can repeat them)?  Does he know them by rote, or has he formed his own notation system which aids his playing of the music?

Nonetheless, it may be a good idea to introduce both improvisation and composition to him. 
Made a Liszt. Need new Handel's for Soler panel & Alkan foil. Will Faure Stein on the way to pick up Mendels' sohn. Josquin get Wolfgangs Schu with Clara. Gone Chopin, I'll be Bach

Offline keypeg

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Re: 10 yr old plays Chopin by ear but can't read music
«Reply #7 on: April 07, 2013, 02:34:43 PM »
Um, Green?

Offline keyofc

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Re: 10 yr old plays Chopin by ear but can't read music
«Reply #8 on: April 08, 2013, 08:06:30 PM »
Yes, I was wondering the same thing - does he write music in notation or by letters?

If a child can play these kind of pieces - why not help him with interpretation, best technique for movements, and forget the sight-reading?

I don't know how you would get them to 'catch up' with their eyes in a way that would motivate them - unless they are already motivated to read if they can truly play well....Maybe you can ask them to write it out as they hear it.  Does it really matter if they don't know the names of the notes - if they can plot them out and connect it to piano keys
and play them?


Offline green

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Re: 10 yr old plays Chopin by ear but can't read music
«Reply #9 on: April 09, 2013, 06:57:26 PM »
No he doesn't write anything, I am writing it down for him now. He can play his pieces that is all, and yes he can repeat them.

Offline green

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Re: 10 yr old plays Chopin by ear but can't read music
«Reply #10 on: April 09, 2013, 07:03:55 PM »
He has previously been taught Chopin: Waltz 8 (op. 64 no. 3) by rote, which he plays ok, he has perfect pitch, but like most young learners he erratically speeds up and slows down. But I can see he hears it and for his age has an unusual love for Chopin and classical music (I mean he loves to listen to music which in all the years of teaching I have never encountered at this age level). But as I mentioned he can not read music, which is a bit of a mystery at this point. 

Offline bernadette60614

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Re: 10 yr old plays Chopin by ear but can't read music
«Reply #11 on: April 09, 2013, 09:42:11 PM »
Forgive me if my posting in this section is inappropriate, but this topic interests me because our son is the same age.

I'm reading a book called "The Right Side of Normal" about the differences between right and left brain learning. In your circumstance, it sounds to me as if you have a right brain student...a student whose creativity surpasses his ability to learn something in the usual ways.

Notes can be taught (I will love Brainpop..since our 11 year old loves it and learns a great deal), but this boy's passion is something which can't be.

Also, aren't there a substantial number of acclaimed pop musician who cannot write music? I'm thinking of the Beatles, e.g.

Offline green

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Re: 10 yr old plays Chopin by ear but can't read music
«Reply #12 on: April 09, 2013, 10:13:43 PM »
Ah yes right brain, I suspected as much. He wants to play the waltz 19 in A min, which is good as it is not too hard, any other suggestions for chopin waltzes, nocturnes, mazurkas, polonaises, which are not so technically difficult? No 19 is actually quite a good choice I would say. He also wants to play some Polonaises. Other contemporay romantics would also be good, I'm thinking perhaps John Field.

Offline mcdiddy1

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Re: 10 yr old plays Chopin by ear but can't read music
«Reply #13 on: April 24, 2013, 05:07:49 PM »
I would suggest have him learn a piece we loves that is by Chopin that is more on the easy side of reading. While he is learning the piece have him also work through a sequenced book to work on his reading skills. He will be very thankful when he is able to read everything Chopin wrote and play it! I had a similar students both on violin and piano who could play very well but could not ready even basic music. I just took the level way down and had them learn to ready through the sequenced book. Since they could play they moved very quickly through the book and now one of the student is playing much harder music than he started with and is reading has caught up with his playing level. Often I will ask him to learn something on his own and he will often learn it very well. It took about a year but I think it is very worth it.

Offline keyofc

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Re: 10 yr old plays Chopin by ear but can't read music
«Reply #14 on: May 20, 2013, 11:27:09 PM »
Reading music is a great skill to have - but then again, so is playing by ear.
I'm grateful I can do both - although I cannot play classical by ear unless I improvise!
If you can get him to go back and work on a workbook in reading - I think it would be helpful, too.
But if you can't - I'd work with him on his learning level.
Good luck!
I have to say - that I wish I had a student like him :)

Offline green

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Re: 10 yr old plays Chopin by ear but can't read music
«Reply #15 on: May 22, 2013, 08:01:23 PM »
Any recommendations on pieces to play? We did first mvt mozart k545 up to end of first section before development, and two pages of 2nd mvt.

One part of him keeps coming back to playing a chopin waltz, thats the music he loves, but we have the task to learn to read notes. Looking for music that doesn't spread the hand in an open position all the time like most chopin, not very good for note reading, and the mozart is a bit too long. We have the grade 1-3 ABRSM, he is looking at some of the music there, which works for note reading but is not very interesting for him to play. He has quick fingers and grasps musically difficult passages quickly, but does most everything by ear when the note challenge is too high. So he also has the problem of maintaining an even tempo. It seems he hears things a certain way from a recording, reproduces that, but then another section will interpolate what he hears in a totally different tempo (but doesn't even think about an even tempo between sections because that is not the way he is learning a piece).

Offline piano1mn

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Re: 10 yr old plays Chopin by ear but can't read music
«Reply #16 on: June 16, 2013, 09:56:31 PM »
Why don't you teach him notes? When he remembers the notes and the keys and can tell you which is where by 5 seconds, you can suggest that he sightread from sheet music or books. He'll do that quickly since he knows how to play Chopin

Offline awesom_o

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Re: 10 yr old plays Chopin by ear but can't read music
«Reply #17 on: June 24, 2013, 01:32:25 PM »
Not necessarily. I was like this when I was 10. I only wanted to play Chopin, and I played everything by ear. I had weak sight-reading skills. I had already played piano for 5 years. I could play many pieces by ear, but it took me a while to learn new pieces. I practiced very little.

Regular drilling with simple, single-note flashcards at the lesson. Make sure his mum does this at home as well. Allow him to play the pieces he loves, and develop a system by which in exchange for doing the more pleasant tasks in his musical repertory he must also do some of the slightly unpleasant ones.

If the child is like I me, as I deeply suspect, then within him lies dormant a strong musical will power.

It MUST be allowed to develop more or less of its own accord.
He should enjoy his childhood and not be forced to practice against his will.
Develop his skills in ear training, and be sure that he studies music theory regularly.

Now would be a good time for him to begin studies on another instrument, if he has not already done so.

Children's choir and youth orchestras are the best places for children to develop their musical talent and have fun in the process.




Offline keyofc

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Re: 10 yr old plays Chopin by ear but can't read music
«Reply #18 on: July 18, 2013, 11:28:13 PM »
awesome,
don't you like being addressed like that? :)
Why do you think he should learn another instrument now?

Offline awesom_o

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Re: 10 yr old plays Chopin by ear but can't read music
«Reply #19 on: July 19, 2013, 12:42:27 AM »
I think it's good for a musical child to have a well-rounded education, and that includes the study of at least one other instrument. Sometimes kids are pushed too hard on one instrument too early. Better to develop a broad foundation, I say. I've seen far too many 'prodigies' who have been pushed by pushy parents and pushy teachers to play advanced repertoire long before their bodies and minds are ready for such material.  These kids would be better off learning a second instrument and joining a youth choir than spending their childhood chained to a piano bench!


Offline mgladde

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Re: 10 yr old plays Chopin by ear but can't read music
«Reply #20 on: July 19, 2013, 11:46:28 PM »
This may sound too simple, but maybe flash cards?

http://www.methodbooks.com/store/aids/flash-cards.htm

Offline piano1mn

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Re: 10 yr old plays Chopin by ear but can't read music
«Reply #21 on: September 03, 2013, 01:18:58 AM »
Yes, it is good to like what you're doing. When the parent starts to buy some books, the boy might start sightreading, and that I do not consider that boring.

Offline carrie10

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Re: 10 yr old plays Chopin by ear but can't read music
«Reply #22 on: September 03, 2013, 07:30:04 PM »
My post isn't a direct response to this topic, but it is related.  What are some ways you guys have 'drilled' note reading to beginning reading students BESIDES computer games and flash cards.  Many of my students (with 2 years or more experience) still struggle with note reading and resort to 'guessing' what the notes are when they're sight reading' instead of using the reading skills we've gone over.  Any thoughts?