Developing a New Relationship with Written Music
Found in: Students with Prior Experience
Carrie G., Arizona
I am a new teacher to Simply Music but have been teaching traditional piano for the last 10 years. As a result, I’ve been transitioning a number of my students over to Simply Music.
I have a girl who has been with me for the last 2 years. She can read any piece of music she wishes at this point. My concern arises in explaining to the mother, in a concise way, the benefits her daughter is getting from Simply Music.
She has ALWAYS had trouble memorizing pieces, and can read very fluently. So well that I am aware that she has been coming to lessons without having practiced much all week, otherwise known as faking it. She is very busy, honor roll, involved at church, typical over-scheduled family. She sings in her choir and is very musically involved. She has been trying to compose some music to go along with her friend’s poetry, but has admitted to me that she feels that she would like to do more, but doesn’t know where to begin. I’m convinced Simply Music will help her to be able to all of these things.
Vonnie L., Oregon
I learned piano traditionally as a child and was a good sight reader. But memorizing was not easy for me. I never dreamed that I might be able to compose and no one ever asked if I had composed anything or wanted to. When I read printed music, I think I saw the notes as many separate vertical events that somehow sounded good when arranged in a certain mysterious order. I never saw patterns in the music other than ‘repeats.’ Although my teachers tried to ‘incorporate’ theory into my lessons, it was always as a separate module, playing scales and chords. I practiced them dutifully but without enthusiasm, not seeing what possible application they had to real music.
When I started training in SM, I was eager to see how difficult it would be to learn pieces without reference to the music, since I had always considered myself a visual rather than an auditory learner. I found it was not difficult because I am still learning by seeing, but seeing in a different way. Now I see horizontal movement, chord shapes on the keyboard, chord progressions, variations on a theme, etc. After learning a few variations, I began to see how I could take a simple idea and add to it, change it, to make a more complex piece. Now I see the use of what I was taught earlier but I also see that the SM way of teaching it in actual music is more enjoyable, more easily learned and retained and more easily applicable.
So even if it seems that (students with prior experience) are stepping back technically, they will be learning a new way of seeing music that will help them tremendously in their ability to compose and will free them from the page.