sight reading

Stepping Stones

 

 

 

 

 

 

What’s a game of football without goals?

Mmm! Lots of keen sports people randomly running around for 90 minutes?!

And yet, how easy it would be for our music students to be drifting along aimlessly without any real direction. And maybe even us too as their teacher!

So what is the secret to motivating our pupils (and ourselves)?

I’m sure you would agree that we need to set a combination of achievable short and long term goals. Goals give students and teachers focus. Short term goals act as “stepping stones” to the bigger ones.

And the best goals of all? Those are the goals set by the student. When they take “ownership” of their goals, they really do make great progress!

So this month, consider four small goals to encourage pupils to set. Hopefully, the bigger goals will naturally follow…

1st Goal – Let them choose the pieces (songs)

Pupils are far more motivated if they’ve chosen the song. Here’s an old trick of mine. If they are preparing for a concert or an exam, why not give them a  [···]

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Sight reading

Can you relate to this?

Do you have students who constantly feel ‘the need to look’ at their hands when sight reading and learning music on the piano?  Perhaps they try to memorise the music quickly before they have learnt it sufficiently, then make many mistakes when playing it because they have forgotten what is actually in the music?

Do these students also regularly lose their place in the music and therefore get annoyed with their playing?  The answer would be “Oh yes they do” in my experience.

I needed a solution that works well for me and my students in order to stop ‘the need to look’ at their hands.

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Note Recognition

“Catch a man a fish and you’ll feed him for a day. Teach a man how to fish and he’ll feed himself for life!” And so the saying goes.

As music teachers, I’m sure you’d agree with me, that a core objective in our lessons is to develop independence in our students. We don’t want them to be “spoon fed” for years. Rather we want to encourage them to think for themselves as musicians and use their initiative to learn new skills and pieces. Personally, I want my students to learn to read music as quickly as possible and then they can enjoy a lifetime of exploring new music for themselves.

So how do you teach music reading skills? I tell my students that they must memorise the notes but not the music (at first). Here are some resources and ideas you might like, starting this month with:

STEP 1 – Note recognition

MUSICTHEORY.NET
A great starting point is musictheory.net It’s a free web based resource that you can fully customise to your student’s needs. The great thing about this method is that pupils can answer the quiz at their own speed without any time pressure. Select “Note Identification” and then follow the self-explanatory steps. You can always paste the link to your uniquely designed activity to include in the student’s weekly email notes or paste it into their  [···]

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