Suzuki's new Piano Lab Teaching System puts you in charge by allowing easy monitoring and communication with every student in your keyboard class. Performance can be monitored on an individual basis or split your class into two groups based on lessons learned. Piano Adventures, the beloved series by Nancy and Randall Faber, is now available in a 2nd edition. The Primer Level begins as it did in the first edition but there is an updated table of contents that spans two pages. Moving along to Level One, the beginning was refined to help with a smoother transition for students who are coming from My First Piano Adventures Book C. The theory books were changed to correlate more with the Lesson book, both in artwork and material. Congratulations to Nancy and Randall Faber, production coordinator Jon Ophoff, and the rest of the team for this successful new edition of Piano Adventures! Thanks to ComposeCreate, my friend Wendy Stevens’ blog, I discovered that Anne has started a brand new blog,  PianoAntics, where you can see more of her creativity in action.
Recently she blogged about a  new recording gadget for an iPhone, complete with an audio of her performance of a Bach prelude. You might have seen this game last year, but I am posting it again for teachers new to this site. As an aside, and coming from a music education specialist,  *quarter, quarter, two eighths, quarter*, is the easiest rhythm pattern for children to clap. Here are some more Easter season activities from my website, including two composing activities for beginners. If you have downloaded material from this site, please consider making a donation to help maintain the website.
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My beginning student wanted to play the fishing game, so I made some rhythm flash cards for him. My little student is bothered by the fact that the dotted half note doesn’t have his own name! I also used these cards with lower elementary level students,  and for them I set a time limit to see how many they could catch and identify in a certain amount of time. The cartoon nature of these cards show they are intended for young children, so I don’t plan to make any with higher note values. Slideshare uses cookies to improve functionality and performance, and to provide you with relevant advertising.
Clipping is a handy way to collect and organize the most important slides from a presentation. I’m sure most music teachers have taught students how to read music using rhymes at some stage.
This abstract way of thinking about notes is not only the slowest way to get to know musical notation, it is also highly unmusical, with the rhymes having no bearing on musical direction, pitch, or how each note relates to the next. I remember having a six year old who was very musical, practiced insane amounts of unnatural hours every day, and could read music exceptionally well. Theory sheets such as the one on the right are very useful for students to put their alphabet practice into use. I get students to practice in two ways – one, of course, is saying note names as they play. I have had a few students who have felt that if they don’t know the letter name of the note that they are playing, they think they are “cheating” or not really reading the music, and therefore try to just fumble through unmusically with lots of pauses, disregarding rhythm while they think of each note name in isolation, trying to remember which rhyme it was they needed for which clef. Taking this topic one step further, I then have students who feel if they are getting to know the music well and find that they’re not reading every single note, that again, they are cheating. I would love to know any experiences other teachers have had with students and their reading ventures, or also any other methods of approaching teaching notation and reading note names. So, for me, it’s yes to A-G to and fro, yes to naming notes, and yes to intelligently presented mnemonics. I get kids to recognize EGBDFA in the treble clef starting on the first line in the treble clef and finishing on A (leger line) above the treble staff. EGBDFA in the bass clef starts on the E (leger line) below the first line and finishes on A (fifth line in bass). I have always taught Treble Clef is called the G clef & shown them how the clef is art around G. Amy your comment about using the clefs for note reference inspires me to add one of the points I use when teaching note recognition.


My twenty years and hundreds of students have taught me that we all learn things differently. I try to start all my students reading relationships and intervals, but you know what, some of them just can’t make the physical and aural connection.
I believe an excellent teacher simply restates the information in creative and interesting ways until the student gets it. I don’t think rhymes, codes or any form of short cut are effective methods to use in music classes. These methods or techniques tend to cause some confusion, especially when teaching students who were exposed to them from a previous music studio.
But I believe that the original way to reading music is most effective and all music teachers should practice doing so. Our support team consists of music teachers, like you, who also use Music Teacher’s Helper in their own studios. Check out more musical facts via the Facebook page (photo section) of the Australia Council for the Arts. This entry was posted in A luscious childhood, A luscious life, A rainy day, Culture vulture, Social butterfly and tagged childhood development, luscious childhood, luscious quotes, music, musicians. Live lusciouslyLUSCIOUS is about being a style leader, social butterfly and domestic goddess.
Our verbal switching network allows for 2 way communication and lets you monitor the progress of up to 10 students at a time, and you can add systems to make classes up to 30 students! Each piece is listed in a table that shows the correlating pages in the Theory, Technique, Performance, and Sightreading books.  Sight-reading! For example, in The I Like Song, the keyboard finger graphic was enlarged and moved to a more prominent position.
Throughout, some of the Discovery and other creative elements at the bottom of the pages are different. The title to Russian Sailor Dance was changed to Russian Folk Song, using the words from My First Piano Adventures to help with the dotted half note rhythm.
She is a fine composer, artist,  crafter,  web designer,  computer animator, video maker,  piano teacher, and performer.
Anne shares my passion that teaching music is more effective and fun if students use manipulatives and hands-on activities.
Everything she does is top-notch, and if you have never checked out the material on her website,  you’re really missing out. You will have to print on both sides, so be sure to adjust your printer settings carefully before you start. He had not learned rests yet, but after playing this game, now he knows them!  I changed the color of the fish so they are all a solid color. Otherwise, we would have spent the whole lesson fishing, which I think was fine with the kids, but not for me because I have a lot of music I want to teach! However, if you want to play a fishing game with older students, you can use regular flash cards. You know, Every Good Boy Deserves Fruit, FACE, Good Boys Deserve Fudge Always, All Cows Eat Grass – or whatever rhymes you have used. But if I asked her to name a note, or asked her to start from a certain note in the music, she wouldn’t know what I was talking about. I explain the lines and spaces and stepping up goes up the alphabet and coming down goes backwards.
I don’t think you can bypass this vital stage in getting acquainted with the notes – please, feel free to correct me if you feel this is wrong.
It has taken some effort with a few students to change this old way of approaching reading. It’s fantastic for teaching all sorts of things, and students really enjoy using it during a lesson.
Every student has a running composition which we work on when time allows during a lesson, and this enables me to introduce all sorts of music theory points painlessly and with a great deal of lighthearted humour.
Just like a language the movement of the notes and its interval perception is the most important thing. I’ve been teaching piano for nearly 20 years, and never have I seen a more universally successful method for teaching a child to play from sheet music. Pre-recorded lesson plans or informational tapes can be played and explained through the system.
The things you love about Piano Adventures, the wonderful music and creativity, are still there. Yes, now there is a sight-reading book to accompany the series, but it is not available yet, so I can’t review it here.


At the beginning of the book, a page was added to work on finger numbers and firm fingertips. Grumpy Old Troll, one of my favorite pieces in this book, now has words. There are a few new pieces, and there is more emphasis on famous composers. They had to learn the entire grand staff for our state theory exam, and of course they need constant review for it to become part of their long-term memory. Her material is so colorful and creative that I want to move up to Canada so I can take lessons from her! In addition to all her games and on-line tutorials, she has a complete beginning piano method for pre-school available for download.
Cut them out and hide the eggs around your studio. Your younger students will be so excited when you tell them they are going on an Easter egg hunt! Just because eighth notes are not in beginning piano books doesn’t mean you  have to wait for the second or third year of piano to learn them. I didn’t understand at that stage how she could read music so well without knowing her note names.
Rather than rhymes, becoming so familiar with the alphabet A-G that you can say it just as quickly backwards as forwards is key to getting to know notes.
The answer that I give them is that it is there to serve the purpose of creating the music.
You can send custom exercises to the parent’s email and they can work on memorizing those specific notes. I agree that the menmonics don’t really seem to help, so I liked your reminder to work more with alphabet and intervals.
Then I show how the treble clef is an old fashioned G, and the bass clef an old fashioned F. It provides a welcome break particularly when focus on the instrument becomes a bit tedious with small children. Of course, she just knew which note corresponded to which key on the piano, without giving them names, and could follow patterns. Then, all you need is a base point, say middle C for example, and you can figure any other note out from there, going up and down the alphabet. So once the music has served its purpose and you don’t need to read every note, that means that you’ve learned it well and the sheet music is then just a reference point as you need, or to see the bigger picture rather than individual notes.
For example, when I see a harmonic C to G, I probably process it as a P5 first and then as C to G. Mnemonics work well, particularly as I teach guitar and it’s much harder for students to grasp how notes go up and down in steps than it is if they are playing on a piano keyboard.
If your students can’t clap 8th notes, print only the first side and write in the rhythms you want to use.
When we’re teaching music as a language, however, being able to communicate verbally and have the same language is extremely important. Every week I will give a student one other note to memorise – middle C first, then the bottom line of treble clef, then the top space of bass clef etc. In the early stages, this is just steps (2nds) and skips (3rds), but as new intervals are introduced, rather than solely thinking of each note in isolation, trying to figure out its note name, showing shapes and intervals and how that relates to finger patterns and hand shapes on the piano is much more musical and relevant to understanding direction and phrases. I can see how intervals would work particularly for instruments where the notes are laid out in a line though.
When you first learn to read, it is necessary to sound out each letter as you figure out the word. Otherwise, delving into more complex theoretical concepts and keys and scales becomes exceptionally hard as you can’t communicate verbally and be on the same wave length.
Now, we don’t even see individual letters, or even words, but read in sentences, unconscious of each letter. If Easter eggs are not appropriate for your students, give me a suggestion and I might be able to come up with something else.
I find that it is when a student reaching a comfortable point in reading that they have this little panic about not actually being aware of the notes anymore.
And it is generally the ones without a great ear or memory and have had to rely on reading heavily in the early days.



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