top of page
Search

15 Tips to Teaching a Beginner to Read Music

Teaching a beginner to read music can be a daunting task.

Teaching a beginner to read music can be a daunting task.


It wasn’t until I started teaching kindergarteners to read that I made the connection between reading words and reading notes.


I started implementing reading workshop principles for music lessons.


And it worked!


We’ll have a blog up soon with details but today’s tip is this:


Pick ONE reading principle to teach during a song.


Remember music is like foreign language and everything is new to your student. If they have too many “roadblocks” in front of them, they literally will just shut down mentally. Remember to help them navigate this unfamiliar territory by zoning in one ONE thing.


What’s the one thing you always teach a student first?


Today’s tip is to first approach reading notes like a “read aloud” lesson.


  1. Before your lesson begins, have in your mind ONE reading principle you want to teach your student with a song. If you’re using a method book, the principle might already be given. You can introduce the song and tell your student they are going to learn today.

  2. Before you play the song, look at the music with your student. This is like “pre-reading” or “doing a picture walk” with a read aloud. You can talk about the title, the composer, the tempo, the time signature, maybe read the words of the song. What does your student think the song is going to sound like and why? Before you play the song, look at the music with your student. This is like “pre-reading” or “doing a picture walk” with a read aloud. You can talk about the title, the composer, the tempo, the time signature, maybe read the words of the song. What does your student think the song is going to sound like and why?

  3. Go through and point out anything unfamiliar that might trip them up when playing (unfamiliar notes, accidentals, repeats, etc).

  4. YOU play the song for your students to hear. This part is like reading them the “story.” Exaggerate the dynamics and articulation that you eventually want to hear in their playing regularly. This gives them a good model to imitate.

  5. I used to think this part was cheating because they would just repeat the song back without actually reading. Actually, this is just a “scaffold” to give them an easy win while learning that ONE reading principle you are trying to teach with this song.

  6. Go through and point out anything unfamiliar that might trip them up when playing (unfamiliar notes, accidentals, repeats, etc).

  7. YOU play the song for your students to hear. This part is like reading them the “story.” Exaggerate the dynamics and articulation that you eventually want to hear in their playing regularly. This gives them a good model to imitate.

  8. I used to think this part was cheating because they would just repeat the song back without actually reading. Actually, this is just a “scaffold” to give them an easy win while learning that ONE reading principle you are trying to teach with this song.

  9. Go back to that ONE reading principle you’re learning. Find it WRITTEN in the music. Hopefully it’s there more than once. Point it in every place you see it written. Search for that one written principle in other songs that student has already played or in a song coming up soon.

  10. Have your student try playing that ONE new thing in the music. Take it out of context and work on it alone.

  11. Now it’s time for your student to play the whole song. Instead of them being weighed down by so many new things at once, they have a roadmap to follow while they play the song themselves.

  12. Keep in mind that music is like a foreign language literally and everything your student is looking at is unfamiliar at first. If they have too many “roadblocks” in front of them, they literally will just shut down mentally. Remember to help them navigate this unfamiliar territory.

  13. Encourage your students to sit down with just their music during practice time and find that new principle written out before playing.

  14. Keep pointing out that new principle in “pre-reading” EVERY time it comes up for the next several weeks until they can point it out themselves without prompting.

  15. Reading DAILY is key to reading fluently. So encourage those daily practice habits.


Remember that reading music takes time, so be patient with your students as they learn.


12 views0 comments

コメント


bottom of page