The Student Who Is Musical but Struggles to Read Music
How many of us music teachers have students who are so musical but struggle to read music, and whose ability to read music is grades below the level they are playing at? I have heard this problem brought up in many music teacher discussions. The answer I’ve heard other teachers suggest is to have two lines going: continue to give the student music at the level they are playing at, but also give them music at the level they can read at in order to progress their reading ability. They need to develop their skill to read if they are going to be able to progress musically.
I have recently received a letter from someone who was a classic case of this and, sadly, her difficulty in reading music ultimately blocked her progress. Now as an adult she is determined to tackle the problem, and is finally breaking through! What a shame though that she didn’t have this to help her when she started to learn the piano, right from the very first lesson. Here is what she wrote:
“Rebecca, I wanted to tell you how much I am enjoying your Easy Notes. I am an adult pupil returning to music after many years, and I needed to refresh my memory regarding the notes. To tell the truth I was always a terrible sight reader. I found the old method of learning the notes really hard work and very slow and frustrating. My mind just didn’t seem to work that way. I think that is why I eventually gave up piano, even though I got up to grade 8. It’s hard to believe that at grade 8 I still found it hard to read music, but that’s the sad truth. I learned the pieces by torturously figuring out the notes and then much practising, repetition, ear, and memorising. It was very embarrassing to me that at grade 8 I was such a poor sight-reader, and in fact it made it impossible to carry on. It’s sad that even though I was a good performer and in fact I really enjoyed performing, in the end my poor reading was my downfall. I was probably one of many, many people who gave up piano because this one area was so lacking. Even my music teacher just didn’t know how to help me.
After all these years, I found your Easy Notes and decided to return to music lessons. I am really enjoying your method of learning the notes – it’s so incredibly simple! When I see a note on the stave, I instantly think of your little character and I know what the note is without having to count up the stave with mnemonics. So much quicker! My sight reading is improving a lot, thanks to your wonderful product. So you see, even an old student like me is not too old for Easy Notes and it’s never too late to learn. If you want to use this on your blog I really don’t mind at all. I’d like everyone to know that your method works well not only with children but also with adults.
Thanks very much Rebecca, with much appreciation.
It’s so encouraging to hear that Easy Notes is helpful to all age-groups, young and old alike! I’m sure that if Ruth could have learned the notes this way when she was young she wouldn’t have had the difficulty in learning to read music that she did, but how great it is that she has now found a way to break through! I hope this opens the way for her to read, play and enjoy LOTS of music. Good on you Ruth!
If anyone has any comments, or stories similar to this, feel free to post them in the box below.
My next blog topics will be about a quote I once read, “When learning is fun, learning is easy”.