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Showing posts from April, 2019

Sight Reading 101: Support for Home Practice

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To wrap up this month's blog series all about sight reading, I'm sharing some easy-to-implement ways to support your piano kid in building this essential musicianship skill during home practice time.

The best thing you can do is to simply make sight reading a regular part of home practice. This doesn't have to take more than a minute or two each practice, and is as simple as getting your student to look at notes in a new order and play them. Doing this regularly will build into a confident sight reading ability.

 Daily Sight Reading Exercises
Apps are my personal favorite because they gamify the sight reading process for students. And the best part about all of the examples below is that they use the mic on your phone or tablet so your student can practice sight reading on your piano, not just a screen.Piano Maestro - this one is the star of the piano lab at the studio! A very robust app that introduces new notes & technics with tutorial videos, then students play piece…

Sightreading 101: Audiation

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Thank you for joining in on this Sightreading 101 series, if you're joining us now and haven't checked out the previous weeks, you can find them here! 

I know I've said this series of posts was going to be all about sight reading, but I sorta fibbed. Today I'm talking about one of the valuable skills that musicians have that definitely relates to sight reading, but is really a skill in and of itself, and that is Audiation. Audiation is the ability to 'hear' or comprehend music internally in the absence of the actual sounds that would comprise it. This can be with or without sheet music, but being able to read sheet music while comprehending the sounds can really take our sight reading to the next level. I think the best way to introduce this is with a picture. A little while back, this image made the rounds among the classical music circles on social media.


And I think this sums up the idea quite nicely. This really is a musicianship superpower. And while it may …

Sightreading 101: Intervallic Reading

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Welcome to week 3 of this Sightreading 101 blog series! If you read last week's post, you may have noticed that several times I mentioned the 'relationship between the notes,' today we're getting into what I meant by that in a discussion of "intervallic reading." So, jumping right in:

The movement from one note to another, or the relationship between one note & the next, is described in music theory as an interval. Intervals can be a step from one note to the following, a skip, or a leap from a low note to a higher note or vice versa. Intervals are given numbers depending on how far the movement is. For example,
One note to the adjacent note is a "second" because they're two notes apart. A skip over one note is described as a "third" because they're three notes apart.If the notes are 7 keys apart, we call them a seventh, and so on. The line below shows us what each interval can look like on the staff.

You may be thinking this mu…

Sightreading 101: Landmark Notes

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Here we go into week 2 of our deep dive into sight reading. If you missed last week's post and are wondering why we bother with this, check it out here

This week we're talking about landmark notes - what they are and how they help: Landmark notes are a handful of strategically placed notes, that when memorized, make sight reading simple & intuitive without having to memorize a bunch of mnemonic devices,* or memorizing the locations of every single note on the staff.

The first 3 landmark notes are very simple. Middle C (the one with the 'whiskers'), Treble G on line 2 of the treble clef, and Bass F on line 4 of the bass clef. These are often the first 3 notes beginning students learn in their first few lessons with me, because learning these 3 from the start establishes the relationship between the notes & the staff with 3 easily distinguishable notes (they're not too close together). When we move forward and learn how to find the remaining notes, we reinfo…

Sight Reading 101: Why bother?

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Hello everyone, and Happy Spring! I'm going to be kicking off the Spring season with a blog series all about sight-reading. I've definitely touched on this in the past, especially with some app recommendationsover the years, but I've not dedicated any blog space to why we bother learning it, or to really dig into how we can help young pianists train their brains to be successful at it. So this April, we're diving deep into sight reading!

Today's post is about the 'why': 
Why do we bother learning sight reading?
Music literacy - Playing music vs. reading it is often compared to speaking vs. reading language because all of the reasons we value language literacy translate to musical literacy as well. It's universal - you can hand any classically trained musician anywhere in the world a piece of sheet music, and they'll be able to turn it into music. Much like language can cross borders & build bridges, so can music, and music literacy makes the commu…