One of the neatest things about practicing before my lessons begin is that my students get a chance to look at my music. We often have conversations about the notation, usually about how big the piece is – “Wow, that’s so many notes!” or “That song must be really long!” But I also try to have them spot things that they already know – middle C, quarter notes, sharps and flats. Think about the way children learn to read: Along with books they can read on their own, it is helpful to have books above their level around so they can see what books are like for adults and look for words or symbols they already know to give them confidence in their abilities. The same experience rarely happens in music learning. Students often look ahead in their own books and want to talk about whichever song is at the end, but unless they have someone else in the house who has played at a higher level, they won’t be exposed to reading more advanced music until they can play it.
So what can I do to expose more students to more advanced notation? Musical I-Spy! I’ll put out a different page of music every week for students who are waiting for their lesson to look at and examine on their own. I finished putting it together yesterday, just in time for next week’s lessons! Be sure to look for it in the beanbag room 🙂