\"\"
Piano Forum logo

How to get kids to actually attempt to read notes? Beginner pieces? (Read 1515 times)

Offline minhogang

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 42
I have three students. The two barely look at the score, like they just expect me to say the note out loud for them and guide their fingers toward the note. For example, I point out middle C on the staff and play middle C, but 5 minutes later he forgets and calls it a B. This happens almost every lesson. It is extremely hard to teach them even the practical exercises for beginners. (Czerny)

My third student can read notes somewhat. He can play fur elise through, but the middle section and bridge very slowly and so I put him with Liszt Liebestraum. Of course not with the purpose for performance, but for technique. I thought that Liebestraum were good for both hands and phrasing (I personally liked to study expression more than blunt technique as a beginner) , but I'm not sure if I'm going too fast here. If he gets to the point where he can play Liebestraum at half the concert tempo I'm planning to give him Chopin etude op 25 no 1, which is basically a "harder" liebestraum. Thoughts?


Offline preludetr

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 85
Re: How to get kids to actually attempt to read notes? Beginner pieces?
«Reply #1 on: November 26, 2016, 05:16:37 PM »
I think you're going way, way too fast.

Offline mishamalchik

  • PS Silver Member
  • Jr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 86
Re: How to get kids to actually attempt to read notes? Beginner pieces?
«Reply #2 on: November 27, 2016, 06:16:34 PM »
From the perspective of a student who struggles with reading, for student 3 you are pushing too fast. You are also choosing superbly familiar pieces, such that the student doesn't necessarily have to really "read" the notes to know how it goes, hence the reason why the student is struggling with the less familiar, less played in a Rolex commercial, bridge of "fur Elise". At any rate, from Fur elise to the Liszt is a massive leap.

Pull something super obscure and simple, say, the Bartok Mikrokosmos and see if student 3 can read it and how far along he can get in the book. If a student struggles to read through any part of fur Elise, they are certainly not ready to even practice from the Liszt or the Chopin etude. Maybe try some waltzes and less complex pieces with repeated patterns, Bach is great for sight reading practice, I think. Have them practice with some more obscure, "throw-away" pieces just to get comfortable with reading.




Offline vaniii

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 246
Re: How to get kids to actually attempt to read notes? Beginner pieces?
«Reply #3 on: November 27, 2016, 09:57:11 PM »
There is nothing you can do.

It is a matter of perspective; these students believe their way is the most efficient way and so will not change until they ultimatly fail in their experience.

Two solutions I use:

1) Forcibly carry out sight reading in the session which will destroy their passion. Not desired.

2) accept and work around their flaw. If they were going into professional music playing, seriously, they would be open to your input as teacher.  This attitude won't get them far. In the meanwhile indulge them, faults and all.

It is a daily struggle; let's say, 10℅ of my current students actively do everything I ask, which is usually "look at the page and count", the others still believe sight reading is some sort of witchcraft.

Offline keypeg

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 3567
Re: How to get kids to actually attempt to read notes? Beginner pieces?
«Reply #4 on: November 29, 2016, 09:45:56 AM »
Minhogang, what is missing in your post is what your students have been taught up to now before getting them to try to read this advanced material.  Have these students been with you from the beginning, or are they transfer students where you don't know what they have been taught for note recognition?  (Associating the notes on the staff with the piano keys, intervals, etc.)

Offline lostinidlewonder

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 6112
Re: How to get kids to actually attempt to read notes? Beginner pieces?
«Reply #5 on: November 30, 2016, 03:47:51 AM »
I have three students. The two barely look at the score, like they just expect me to say the note out loud for them and guide their fingers toward the note....

My third student can read notes somewhat. He can play fur elise through, but the middle section and bridge very slowly and so I put him with Liszt Liebestraum. .... I'm not sure if I'm going too fast here..... If he gets to the point where he can play Liebestraum at half the concert tempo I'm planning to give him Chopin etude op 25 no 1, which is basically a "harder" liebestraum. Thoughts?
Your question is not clearly defined in your post but your title gave me some idea what you were on about. I do see a problem with your concept of doing something "harder". If a student struggles with the Fur Elise there is really no point trying to extend them with more difficult works (and much more difficult for your matter). You need to assess what they need to improve first and foremost, it has nothing to do with playing more difficult pieces but rather to set a basis for their practice methodology. What is this methodology is rather cumbersome to write about in detail in an online forum but certainly it includes sight reading and fingering understanding among many many other issues (score analysis, highlighting pattern, time management, repertoire selection etc).

You will be surprised often at the difference between what a student can actually learn efficiently as opposed to what they potentially can play. Often the difference is staggering and as a teacher I find it one of my duties to bring these closer together which yes requires going back to "beginner" pieces sometimes. In the real world however some students find it extremely dreary to focus on many lower level pieces as they train their practice methodology so of course you can give them more difficult pieces which you can guide them through but be wary of doing pieces which take months and months because this really does slow down a students progress no mater how much they love the piece. Learning 20 smaller pieces opposed to laboring on one single beast will be many times more beneficial for most developing students.



"The biggest risk in life is to take no risk at all."
www.facebook.com/groups/348933611793249/

Offline blkeys2016

  • PS Silver Member
  • Newbie
  • ***
  • Posts: 1
Re: How to get kids to actually attempt to read notes? Beginner pieces?
«Reply #6 on: November 30, 2016, 03:41:06 PM »
Depending on the age of child, note identification and recognition can vary greatly. It's like teaching them a new language.  First, have expectation set for them. Give them assignments to label notes, fill out a note work sheet or recite to you the notes on the page. Be creative in your approach and explain what you expect from them.

Im a huge fan or site reading as well as playing more pieces rather then longer pieces at an early age. I'm fortunate enough to have some of my students use a site reading test in an online program called Piano Marvel. It dishes out a bunch of level appropriate songs they've never seen before and then grades them on their accuracy. It's only works with electronic pianos though. But if you have that setup it could be very helpful. Or you could just put your own group of level appropriate songs together and give them your own site reading test too. That's what I do with my students who don't have electronic pianos.


Offline minhogang

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 42
Re: How to get kids to actually attempt to read notes? Beginner pieces?
«Reply #7 on: December 03, 2016, 01:39:21 AM »
Thanks for the replies everyone!!   ;D

I forgot about the Microkosmos, is there anything else like this?

Offline mishamalchik

  • PS Silver Member
  • Jr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 86
Re: How to get kids to actually attempt to read notes? Beginner pieces?
«Reply #8 on: December 03, 2016, 02:00:09 AM »
The beginners Czerny Book can help too. It starts with a unison 1 note at a time, and slowly advances. Many of the basic etudes and studies can help with  sight reading practice, though beware of Hanon and other studies that form a very predictable pattern, as they can be easy to "cheat" on. Coming from a serial "cheater" who uses pitch sense and listening to circumvent my atrocious reading ability.
I am working on it though! I use Bach as cannon fodder, and as I type this I'm sure my teacher (who is a Bach specialist of sorts) is livid. But Bach, and similar composers, are very good for this sort of thing because the musical structure is nice for sight reading, some 5 voice fugues notwithstanding, and he wrote an enormous amount of music. It's nothing against Bach particularly, but right now the major issue I feel I have is a lack of experience in reading notes on the page, and the easiest way I feel to tackle it, is to read as much music as I can, as accurately as I can, in order to build this skill