Decoding Strategies Sheet
Joanne J., Australia
This is a great topic, and applying the SM strategies is a skill that does take lots of practice. Below is what I have called a ‘decoding sheet’ which I put together to help remember the steps to take while developing the skill to take music from the page to the keyboard. It is a guideline, a framework, ie not definitive, which I give to all my students to refer to as they begin TFMM to hopefully develop the right habits from the word go.
STEPS TO DECODE A PIECE OF MUSIC AND MAP IT ONTO THE KEYBOARD
WHAT TO PLAY
(REMEMBER TO USE YOUR ‘LOUD SPEAKER’)
- Be aware of any cross pollination opportunities
- Work right through rhythm and notes in MICRO sections ie each section complete before moving on
DISCOVER RHYTHM FIRST:
- Time signature – count to…..using ………notes
- Do one section/line/bar at a time (whatever is appropriate)
- Clap it through USING VOICE
- Play it through on one note USING VOICE
- Any patterns?
- Process Rhythm – LH and RH:
- Where do patterns repeat
- Put rhythm into BH but not at KB – T, R, T, R, T, T, L, etc (AIR PIANO)
THEN DISCOVER NOTES:
To Process, always do RH, LH then BH (as in rhythm process T,R, etc with voice) in Micro Sections
- Identify Clefs
- Identify Relevant Location Points
- Key Signature – Identify sharps or flats – explore scale journey
- Note accidentals
- Voice intervals then play while still voicing
- Identify any 5/5 sequences
- Identify any sentences/patterns
- Collapse sequences/sentences/patterns into chords/positions
- Identify any order the above might fall in
- Is there a tailpiece?
- Any ‘anchor’ notes?
- Pivot notes?
- Apply the Nancy Reese Tools that are applicable eg slotting etc
HOW TO PLAY
- What is the story, what picture we wish to paint?
- Loud, soft, gentle, slow, fast, bouncy, smooth, boisterous, dreamy…….
- Is it needed?
- Where is it needed?
- After which note/chord and which hand