There was no existing piano method which began slowly and carefully enough for both kids and adult beginners. All the methods we examined either started too fast or assumed some kind of knowledge, experience or affinity with manipulating music symbols.
For the vast majority of children, this conventional type of piano method is a major obstacle.
Conventional piano lessons start children using the elements described in the drawing below, with the five horizontal lines of the musical staff above, and the piano keyboard below.
In this drawing, there is no visual reference point on the piano keys (below the five lines.)
To a child, the piano keyboard is an ocean of white and black buttons with no apparent organization, not to mention the series of five lines (on the page, above the keyboard) which have no apparent pattern and bear no apparent relation to the confusing, different pattern of the piano keys (below.) The child is required to relate the two complex graphic systems, an almost impossible task.
As an alternative to this confusion, look at the drawing below, where a keyboard is shown with the five lines of the staff referenced to the five blue stickers on the keys:
Children readily respond to this logical system, and slowly but securely start to relate the note on the page to the key on the piano.
Without visual reference points, the stickers, most children just give up and say, “This is too hard.” With the stickers, you can easily make up games that lead to confidence in relating notes on the page to keys on the piano.
I CAN READ MUSIC is the most understandable and fun introduction to reading piano music available for kids today. Click here for a detailed discussion of kids and starting to read music.
Includes 50 page illustrated song book with removable stickers.
Here is a sample page from I CAN READ MUSIC, where we acquaint the child with the “musical staff” (the five horizontal lines in the drawing below) before we start reading notes.
Leading children’s music educator and Emmy Award winning composer John Aschenbrenner looked at the experience children had with reading music and created a system based on what children could actually do comfortably, having fun while they learn to read music.
In I CAN READ MUSIC, the steps necessary to understand reading piano music are broken down into groups of fun activities that kids will enjoy exploring.
We make up games, like ringing a library bell every time the child successfully finds
the red key, and answers questions like, “Which white key is to the left of the two black keys?” Then ask them to play all the lines (the blue stickers) and then ask for the spaces (the white keys with no stickers at all.)
This is the easy “Fun Method” that we recommend using with all beginning students.
Usually introduced slowly while the child is still playing “by number,” the concepts introduced in this book are easy to follow for anyone, and help build the simple, abstract spatial skills necessary to read music, one skill at a time.
With such a visual reference point, kids relax and treat reading music as a game. Middle C (the red sticker) becomes their “home base” around which they can organize their efforts to find the relationship between the page and the keyboard.
Without such a reference point, most children are extremely confused with music reading,
I CAN READ MUSIC is intended as an easy-to-understand introduction to reading music for children, and thus includes songs which make use of only the WHITE keys of the piano.
Here you’ll find the second page of the activity section of I CAN READ MUSIC! Here the child learns that notes, formerly “numbers,” are now circles placed on the five horizontal lines they have met on the last page.
No extra graphic detail is given at this time (such as clefs, time signatures, stems, rhythm, etc.) so that the central, easy-to-grasp fact is seen: notes are circles found on one of five horizontal lines.
Most children look up at this point and say, “Yeah, so?”
It’s easy to learn about sheet music if the tasks are broken down into minute steps, and are made into games. I CAN READ MUSIC contains all the ideas and games you need to help children make the transition from piano “by number” to sheet music.
I CAN READ MUSIC
50 page illustrated book and removable stickers
Plus 56 Minute DVD from Teach Yourself Piano
Printed Book Delivered by Mail
This book comes in two formats: