What common pitfalls occur in the teaching of music reading?

from the series: Independence Day: Music Reading Craig Sale, Editor For this issue my colleague Bruce Berr and I wanted to share our thoughts on common pitfalls that occur in teaching music reading and in teaching rhythmic subdivisions. Having dealt with these issues in our own departments over the years, we decided to "switch departmental hat...
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How does 'experience before definition' apply to your teaching of reading concepts?

The natural order of learning1 , as described by Piaget and specifically applied to music learning by Frances Clark2 , begins with the child hearing, feeling, and seeing a concept before it is presented (i.e. sound-feel-sign-name). Experiencing a concept before learning its name and symbol, is meaningful learning. I like to think that teachers...
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What are your favorite teaching aids for music reading?

Whenever I visit the exhibit hall at MTNA and other music teacher conventions or browse through the advertisements in publications for teachers, I am always a bit overwhelmed at the number of teaching aids available. For me the bottom line is whether or not the product has pedagogical value, specifically in the teaching of music reading.  I as...
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What Do You Do With Transfer Students Whose Reading Level is Far Below Their Performance Level?

from the series: Independence Day: Music Reading Craig Sale, Editor Before enrolling any student, I always conduct a pre-enrollment interview. I think that this first meeting is especially important if the student is a transfer student. When this is the case, over the years I have learned to require that: the student must play one or two previ...
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How do you teach reading in group lessons?

from the series: Independence Day: Music Reading Craig Sale, Editor Group lessons are able to facilitate the learning of music reading concepts in an efficient, effective manner. A recent Keyboard Companion readership survey showed that roughly half of those responding utilize group instruction in some way - occasional group lessons, week...
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How is Teaching Adults to Read Music Different Than Teaching Children?

from the series: Independence Day: Music Reading Adult beginners seem to challenge everything we think we know about teaching. From the books used to the rate of skill development, adult learners are different from children. One thing we can do to understand our adult learners is to put ourselves in their position by becoming students ourselve...
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Independence Day: Music Reading

Richard Chronister is executive director of The National Conference on Piano Pedagogy, president and educational director of National Keyboard Arts Associates, and editor of Keyboard Companion magazine. He has been active in developing piano teaching materials and piano teacher training programs for more than thirty years. He is known thr...
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How Do You Prepare Students for the Reading Traps in a Piece?

Whenever we hear a new piece of teaching music that attracts our attention, and think of exactly the student who will enjoy playing it, we are apt to wonder if it has one or more of those traps that have cost us countless, precious minutes in the middle of a lesson. What really counts, if it truly is a great piece of music, is our attitude toward t...
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When Choosing an Elementary Method, What Do You Look For in the Area of Note Reading?

One of our writers says, "Our country must lead the world in proliferation of elementary method books." Some teachers swear by their favorite method and have been teaching it for years. Others try every new method that comes on the market, always looking for something new and different. Some teachers feel that different children require different a...
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How Do You Teach Fluent Rhythm Reading?

When piano teachers talk about music reading, we tend to think only of note reading. In fact, the questions we have posed for this department of KEYBOARD COMPANION have concentrated on just that one aspect of reading. Likewise, students seem to give note reading first priority when they sightplay new music. If they can't find the next note quickly ...
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How Do You Teach Students to Read Who Already Play by Ear?

from the series: Independence Day: Music Reading We've all heard, countless times, "Would you play it for me?" after a student has spent a week with a new piece without satisfactory success. If we know the student well, our response will be based on knowing why this request has been made. If we know that our performance can be the motivation f...
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How Do You Teach Fluent Chord Reading?

Countless times, teachers hear something similar to "I don't want Johnny to be a concert pianist, I just want him to be able to play hymns." Usually, we take the time to explain that hymn playing-or any chord reading for both hands together-represents one of the hardest kinds of reading any student has to learn to do. Regardless,&nbs...
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Independence Day: Music Reading

How Do You Teach Your Students Not to Back Up and Start Over? by: Richard Chronister Our question for this issue is not worded very delicately, but none of us has a very delicate feeling when a student-for the 999th time-quits playing a few measures into a piece, looks up at us sheepishly, and says, "May I start over?" The obvious answer might be, ...
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Do you use summer lessons for special reading activities?

Both writers for this issue's Music Reading Department take the view that summer is special for piano students. A good case can be made for discontinuing the regular curriculum and making sure that summer study is something that makes the coming autumn a thing to look forward to rather than a thing to dread.  I think that one of the most ...
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Independence Day: Music Reading

Where Should Reading Come in the Beginner's Curriculum? by Richard Chronister  The best way to teach piano students to read will probably always be a hotly debated item, and we will continue to explore that subject in this department of KEYBOARD COMPANION. Another controversial subject in this area is the one we deal with in this issue — when ...
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Piano Magazine is the leading resource for pianists, piano teachers, and piano enthusiasts. We bring you informative, interesting, and inspiring ideas on all aspects of piano teaching, learning, and performing. The official name of Clavier Companion magazine was changed to Piano Magazine in 2019.

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