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#926877 - 09/21/07 03:49 AM Materials for learning to read notes
trio Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 09/20/07
Posts: 4
Loc: NJ
I am trying to find fun and easy materials for me to help my five year olds in learning to read notes and then relate these to the keyboard. I am looking for something fun (a computer game?, board game?). They are taking piano lessons, but can use some practice materials. I am new to music myself, so I need something I can follow and learn along with them.

I searched the site and FAQ and found references to some flashcards. Not sure if this will hold their attention.

Thanks for all suggestions.

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#926878 - 09/21/07 01:11 PM Re: Materials for learning to read notes
Morodiene Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 14910
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
Have you tried www.musictheory.net ? You'd have to probably help them navigate to the place where they have note training, but kids these days are pretty computer savvy. If you can make hte investment, I just bought Music Ace, and that is perfect for kids this age. I don't think flash cards are bad, hwoever. What I do is spend maybe 2-3 minutes on them so they don't get tedious, but I have them name the note (if I think they're counting up or down from Middle C, I have them say the little saying for lines in Treble clef first, then the note name), then they have to find the note on the keyboard.
private piano/voice teacher FT

#926879 - 09/22/07 01:23 AM Re: Materials for learning to read notes
Ebony and Ivory Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/14/05
Posts: 1179
Loc: Minnesota
MusicAce is tons of fun for the kids!
It is better to be kind than to be right.

Professional private piano teacher since 1994.

#926880 - 09/22/07 01:38 PM Re: Materials for learning to read notes
Morodiene Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 14910
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
I had one student who is in the process of moving, and so practice just didn't happen this week. We spent part of the lesson on MusicAce, and after the lesson, she begged her mom to let her come a 1/2 hr early to piano next week! We compromised on coming 15 minutes early, but I can't help but think this will help many students who have trouble with the "theory" end of things.
private piano/voice teacher FT

#926881 - 09/22/07 02:08 PM Re: Materials for learning to read notes
Gyro Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/24/05
Posts: 4534
I'm skeptical that flash cards, or computer
games, etc. can significantly help with
this. This seems to be one of those things
that you just take to, or don't. And if
you don't, you're always going to struggle
with it. For example, you can show
a flash card with the note B on the bass
clef (the note on the second line from
the bottom), but the problem with this,
as I see it, is that there is no context,
it's just a picture on a card. In real-time,
when you try to read that B on the score
while you're playing, it's a much different
situation. Here you're doing a complex
physical activity with both hands as
you try to pick up the note on the score,
and this is just one note among many
that you're plowing through as the
instrument produces a cacophonous racket
that you're responding to psychologically
and emotionally. Moreover, in real-time
you're reading rapidly between treble
and bass clefs, and the note on the
second line of the treble is G, rather
than B, and the clefs are identical-looking,
except for their position, and those
clef signs at the beginning of the staff.
During actual playing you can mis-read
that B as a D, the note on the third
line from the bottom of the bass clef,
simply because they're so close together,
or your brain can freeze up
momentarily and be unable to identify
what that second line on the bass clef
actually represents.

#926882 - 09/24/07 03:37 PM Re: Materials for learning to read notes
trio Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 09/20/07
Posts: 4
Loc: NJ
Thanks for your suggestions!!! I checked out musictheory.net and it is very good. I also downloaded the free trial version of Music Ace and my kids loved it. I will purchase it. Which set of flashcards do you use?

Thanks a million!!!

#926883 - 09/24/07 04:55 PM Re: Materials for learning to read notes
Betty Patnude Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/11/07
Posts: 4896
Loc: Puyallup, Washington

Google: Piano Music Sight Reading Practice
This is an easy activity to do and is not stressful as there is no need to hurry, the pace is yours to choose.

There are 3 levels of game play: Beginner Intermediate Expert

You may choose the focus of the game to play within certain parameters:
Treble Clef
Bass Clef Or
Grand Staff (Treble and Bass Together)

There is:
No timing – Play at your own speed
No scoring is kept game to game, however it tells you when you have made an error and the % of correct answers you have “earned”.

I like to avoid the element of intensity when assigning "devices" like this - I want it to feel like a "can-do" process.

I'm not sure how 5 year olds would like it - but you could look it over and see how YOU do with it.


#926884 - 09/25/07 12:36 AM Re: Materials for learning to read notes
pianoexcellence Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/14/07
Posts: 753
Loc: Abbotsford, BC, Canada
As for Gyro...

I do not believe that you either take to it or not. I do believe that anyone can learn to read comortably.

I definitely agree with your assesment of learning notes away from the keyboard. I have found through frustration and trial and error, that the best way to teach, is through the grand staff right from the very beginning. The only method book sold in my area that does this is the horrifically outdated Edna Burnum Mae series. If you can get through the dull tunes, and prickly non politically correct references in the lyrics, then you will have a student who can really really read. (provided that you drill on the side)
Music is the surest path to excellence

Jeremy BA, ARCT, RMT
Pianoexcellence Tuning and Repairs


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