Transfer student who has trouble with notereading : LUSENET : Everything About Teaching and Learning the Piano : One Thread

I have a 12-year-old transfer student who has trouble reading notes. She was working in Faber 2A. I think she was just plodding through the music mostly by ear. When I asked her to play some notes from flash cards she had to place her hand in C position before she could locate the note (plus she's still relying on all the silly mnemonic phrases). That's why I use Music Tree and not Faber. So my question is, what are some suggestions for backtracking and learning the notes other than using flash cards, without the student getting bored? (I should also mention that I'm the last stop before her mom gives up on the piano lessons, the student is involved in soccer and church activities throughout the week and isn't horribly motivated to practice, and I know her from church). Oy! The pressure. I don't want to give up on her yet, because she hasn't had the best experiences with previous teachers. Any suggestions welcome!

-- Laurie (, April 07, 2002


You might try (if you have time and the family is willing) an "intensive" course. I like to do this with my beginners. I see them every day for a week for about 30-45 minutes a shot. We spend the entire time building beginning reading and rhythm skills.

Since you are a Music Tree fan, try the adult version, Keyboard Musician. You might want to make a challenge of yow quickly she can move through the first several units.

Since she seems to have a good ear, take advantage of doing some improvising as a bridge to reading. You might even think about dictation activities (beginning very simply, of course).

Good luck!

-- Arlene Steffen (, April 07, 2002.

Go to and download Notecard. It is free. Not only can you put this game on your own computer for students to use at your studio, you can give this address to those who are having real difficulty with the notes and let them do it at home. I really like this teaching tool because it allows the Treble, Bass, or both staves and has a lot of versatility. It also times them, giving only 12 seconds to answer and gives a score accordingly. See what you think.

Flo Arnold

-- Flo Arnold (, April 09, 2002.

Another thought, maybe you could have her compose a song and write it down on staff paper for you. Sort of learning it backwards, but it sure makes you learn what notes belong where so others can play your music.

-- Mary Jo (, April 11, 2002.

Thanks so much for your replies, they are very helpful. I like the Notecard game; I think that might be a more fun way to get her to practice her note reading. Thanks again!

-- Laurie (, April 13, 2002.

What I would recommend is to talk to the student about this problem. Tell her that she has a lot of potential (like any normal kid) to play. But she has to re learn or review the basic concepts., Tell her that you are aware she has a lot going on during the day, but that you are sure that if you both organize homeworks and assignments she will be playing bautifuly in no time.

-- Gabriela Fernandez (, April 22, 2003.

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