Using Two Types of Songs to Learn Note Reading
When teaching piano, it is important for our students to become familiar with the notes on the staff. I think most musicians would agree that reading music is a basic skill for any instrument. Here are two things that help with note reading.
- Playing Familiar Tunes
When a young student is playing song such as “Hot Cross Buns” or another familiar tune, they can hit a wrong note and immediately know it is a wrong note and then work to correct themselves. This is a great listening skill, and if they have their eyes on the music-like we want them to most of the time-they will see the note, and make the connection of what the correct note is. This is an approach for one type of learning.
- Playing Unfamiliar Tunes
The other way to help teach the notes on the staff is by using unfamiliar songs. When a student is playing a melody that is unfamiliar to them, it is important, as the teacher, to pay especially close attention. Since they are not self correcting due to knowing the tune by ear, they will keep playing the wrong note if it is one they are truly not familiar with on the staff. This gives a really good indicator if one or two notes are getting mixed up, if the student is unsure of the lines and spaces names, or if they just have their fingering confused. Then we know as teachers where to focus a little extra attention and all piano playing will be easier in the future!
So when you come to some of the “made up” songs in your lesson books, remember there is value in these songs also! You will more clearly see the progress of true note reading by your students.