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Can't (Won't) Learn to Read Music (Read 2790 times)

Offline cvp1796

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Can't (Won't) Learn to Read Music
« on: December 09, 2014, 06:59:36 AM »
Hi there! I'm currently a college student attempting to make extra money by giving informal piano lessons. I only have three students at the moment (as I said - no music degree, totally casual). Two of them are fine, but the third one struggles with reading music.

She has no prior music instruction (while the other two already play other instruments) and cannot learn how to read music. She insists that I tell her all the notes, which is fine at this stage since she is a complete beginner, but I am afraid that she will not be able to make significant progress if this issue continues.

I've tried everything. Lately, I've been asking her to write out the notes, in hopes that she might catch on reading music, but she usually asks me what the notes are half the time anyway, and she is only able to write out the notes after I play it for her. I don't want her to become too reliant on me telling her the notes/helping her.

Any other tips? I haven't been teaching for an awfully long amount of time, and I know I don't actually have upper level education in music (I'm studying information technology - totally different), but I would like to, at the very least, improve on being a teacher.

Offline j_menz

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Re: Can't (Won't) Learn to Read Music
«Reply #1 on: December 09, 2014, 09:39:26 AM »
What do you mean by "reading music"?
"What the world needs is more geniuses with humility. There are so few of us left" -- Oscar Levant

Offline cwjalex

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Re: Can't (Won't) Learn to Read Music
«Reply #2 on: December 09, 2014, 09:59:23 AM »
can you be a little clearer what her problem is?  i'm guessing you mean when looking at sheet music she can't identify what letter the notes are?  i'm also going to assume that you gave her the mnemonic devices to learn the lines/spaces of each clef?  she just flat out refuses to memorize them?  have you tried explaining the perspective of the clefs being connected with 1 line and that reading music is really as simple as saying your ABCs after each line and space?  have you tried giving her music that focuses on notes in a single octave so it is much easier to read?  for me i found mnemonic devices to be really inefficient and slow and i found it much easier to just memorize certain key locations and relate other notes with intervals.  for instance, memorizing all 5 C locations, memorizing the middle line on each clef.

maybe give her some cites that have little games for learning to read the notes? like these:

http://musicteachersgames.com/bassKeyboard1#

http://www.sightreadingpractice.com/cgi-bin/index.cgi?sight&dpt=s&layout=full&r=w.s/&id=25215285289&cr=1

the first link might be more beginner friendly than the second.

Offline keypeg

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Re: Can't (Won't) Learn to Read Music
«Reply #3 on: December 09, 2014, 10:45:52 AM »
Hi there! I'm currently a college student attempting to make extra money by giving informal piano lessons. I only have three students at the moment (as I said - no music degree, totally casual). Two of them are fine, but the third one struggles with reading music.

She has no prior music instruction (while the other two already play other instruments) and cannot learn how to read music. She insists that I tell her all the notes, which is fine at this stage since she is a complete beginner, but I am afraid that she will not be able to make significant progress if this issue continues.
So the first two students already know how to read music.  The third one doesn't.  So are you teaching her how to read music?  If so, do you have a methodology for teaching her how to read?  Or are you just putting the music in front of her and expecting that somehow she reads music?  If so, it would be like teaching a literature course to a student who hasn't learned how to write the letters of the alphabet.  Most lit students went to primary school, where they learned to read and write.

What is your concept of what reading is about - the skills needed to learn how to read - and what kind of approach for teaching reading do you have at the moment?