Learning Arrangements 3
Francine V., Australia
I’m just learning the arrangement for Tear for a Friend, which is in the Arrangements 3 book.
The instructions really only gloss over how to play it – I am following the instructions along with the written music at the same time. I am lucky that I can already read music because of my background, but I know not all teachers have this, and certainly not most students.
Does this mean that students and teachers should be able to read now? My highest students are in level 6 and have just started reading notes – they are only reading intervals at the moment. Am I behind with
them in the reading process.
Mark M. New York
As I recall, Arrangement 3 training materials leave the door open for whether you teach those pieces with or without reading, and no particular timing is prescribed for any of those pieces.
So you could generate your own more detailed playing-based way of teaching the piece, in which case you could teach the piece sooner than you otherwise could if you wanted to teach it as a reading-based piece.
Otherwise you could wait until reading skills were developed enough to take on that piece as a reading project.
Either way, there’d be no particular reason to consider yourself to be behind, unless you have timeframe expectations of your own. That could be worth discussing.
Sheri R., California
I’ve never taught students Level 3 arrangements until after they are well into reading. I still teach them as playing-based pieces but by then they can already source from the page as well if they want. While Level 6 students can learn these pieces as playing-based projects, in my experience my students at that level haven’t even learned all of the Level 1 and 2 arrangements yet so I’m not in a hurry to give them the ones in Level 3.
It seems teachers who don’t read will have plenty to work from in Levels One and Two Arrangements before they themselves learn to read. I’m curious if you already taught all the Level 1 and 2 arrangements to these students (not that this is required) and how you managed that so early on?!
I just want to say that even though I do know how to read I’m really trying to keep that “other brain” out of the way of my SM way of learning. I’m constantly telling my students that I started from the beginning just like they are. Of course, it doesn’t mean I stop reading all together. Occasionally, I’ll pick up a piece that’s not from the SM program just to play or I’ll play something I had in my repertoire before SM and think of tools and strategies I can recognize while I’m playing it. I guess my point is that it may be a good idea not to learn the arrangements just by reading them.
Sandy L., Nebraska
You asked if your students in Level 6 are behind in the reading process (reading intervals now), and in answer to your question, I would have to say no. The reason I say they are not behind is that in the training (I believe it is in the video for Reading Rhythm), Neil talks about the playlist foundation required to begin the reading program, and states the 30-50 songs on the playlist, but then he also says we can delay reading “as long as possible.”
I think there is a balance, and we don’t delay it forever, but I think sometimes students can be right where your students are and that is exactly where they need to be. As Neil says, “it’s a process and not an event.” I too have had students in the exact same spot yours are–just the way things played out for their group. I think the main thing is for them to experience success with reading, and use their playing-based tools as they transition to sourcing from the page in TFMM.
As far as students and teachers being able to read “by now” as you ask, remember that you are learning ahead of your students. So, while students are in Level 6, you are probably still teaching them Arrangements 1 and 2 in a playing-based way. By the time they finish Arr. 1 and 2, their reading skills will have also come along through Reading Notes and TFMM at least part of the way from where you describe their current progress. If you want to at that point use Arr. 3 for some reading-based learning, I believe Neil says you can, although I think he also encourages using it to continue teaching in a playing-based way.
Like you, I learned Arr. 1 and 2 completely from the CD teaching without opening the music at all. But the Arr. 3 Audio teaching is very different, and you have to look at the music. Thankfully, by the time I got to it–as you are now–I had a pretty good handle on RR and RN, plus the audio teaching to back me up a bit. It sounds to me like you are in just the right spot with the skills you are bringing to Arr. 3 (even if you had not had your prior reading experience), and to your Level 6 students.
Francine V., Australia
There are only 2 students who have learnt all the level 1 and 2 arrangements – one is just amazing and picks things up like it’s just a toy, the other one has a traditional classical background and is still studying music elsewhere at the same time as coming to me. It’s this one who I was very scared to teach because I thought he should be teaching me! But he is finding Simply Music invaluable, and beams at me every time I show him something new. His compositions and improvs are amazing. He wants to pretend he doesn’t know how to read so he can do the Simply Music properly.