Adult Students

Value of “easy” TFMM songs

Amy L., California

I have an adult, private student who came to me already reading. She is near the end of Foundation Level 6, has completed Reading Rhythm and Reading Notes, and is working her way through Read n Play. I’m realizing I’ve procrastinated on introducing Time for More Music because it’s so much easier than the reading projects that she continues to work on outside of lessons. I know she would beieft from focusing on playing-based strategies with these simpler songs, but I fear that she’ll resist because she’ll see the songs as babyish and uninteresting.

Just writing this post is helping me in that I will acknowledge to her that these songs are indeed easier than her reading level, and I will explain the purpose and value of going through them. Does anyone have any other ideas to help me build a set-up conversation for introducing TFMM?

Mark M., New York

Let them be easy, then, as a great and easy way to introduce the combination/interaction of reading-based and playing-based strategies. It’s not (and almost never is) about learning the pieces, but the strategies.

Robin Keehn, Washington

Let her enjoy having an easy success. Also, finding and applying playing-based tools should be easier for her with those pieces. I also love the variety of key and time signatures that are introduced in TFMM.

Brenda D., Colorado

Also, TFMM songs progress in complexity rather quickly. You can also add the elements of expression in the earlier pieces. There are some lovely pieces in the book that are worth learning.

Bernadette A., California

There is always a method to the madness. Every song delivers a strategy to learn even if it’s simple, but you mus coach the student to find it. It is not necessarily about reading and just playing the piece. There is a reason for the increased complexity quickly. I believe it is that you are training the student to get to difficult pieces so that all other music seems simple. Because she already reads, I would focus in on the strategy that is being learned.

Rochelle G., California

I have an adult student who’s at the same place and we already finished TFMM. I can tell you that she did find value and she enjoyed playing some of those pieces.

Jan D., Ohio

Just because they can read more difficult pieces doesn’t mean they are truly understanding what is going on in the pieces. I have found that writing out the pieces that they have learned earlier helps to understand them better, and pulling the notes out of their heads and putting them on paper also helps to highlight their strengths and weaknesses. Don’t concentrate on the simplicity or difficulty of the pieces, but on the form and strategies. Most students find they are seeing things in the music that they didn’t see before and are excited when they do.

Laurie Richards, Nebraska

You can also mine more out of the simpler pieces by asking her to create her own arrangement. Even just a new LH. She’ll appreciate the simplicity then! Also, most people with reading experience have not read anything with 6 sharps or 6 flats, both of which are in TFMM.

Julia B., Canada

Here’s something to give it a twist: On the simpler pieces, tell her that you want her to come up with simple, clear, playing-based strategies and a diagram, as though she was preparing to teach the song to a Foundation 1 student. Then have her come to class and teach it to you using those strategies. I find this helps students pull those strategies out of storage and put them into practice in an effective way, rather than just breeze through a piece that is easy for them.