Need help with music student.

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by samarelda, Mar 27, 2006.

  1. samarelda

    samarelda
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    I need help teaching my 11 year old daughter music. She has music in her heart and is currently playing piano, violin, recorder, harmonica and clarinet. Playing music comes easy for her and I am thankful for that. She started (on her own) singing harmony when she was 8. She can pick up her violin and play harmony to anything without even thinking about it. We got her a used clarinet last fall and in 2 days she was playing harmony easily. Sounds great, but here is the problem. I am really struggling finding a way to teach her to read music. I teach my kids piano (the only instrument I play) and because she can play anything she hears she can just play the songs without a book. She plays songs from our CD's complete with chords and add in extras. I am using Alfred's piano books but her sister is a book ahead and she (my 11 year old) is playing the same songs as her older sister just because she hears them. I tried using different books than her sister, but if she plays the song once or twice it is in her head and she doesn't even need the book any more. Any advice? I am very thankful for her ability, but if she keeps on this way she will only be able to play songs she knows.

    This post may belong in the music forum, but I am not down there much and the moderator did say I could place it here.
     
  2. Dave

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    Wow! Who needs written music with an ear like that! [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Seriously, have you tried to increase the complexity of the pieces you have her play? Try some things with lots of key changes or time changes that may cause her to need to look at the music for reference? Does she play in an organized group like a band or orchestra where her part is only 1 of many and often not the primary sound? This has other benefits like teaching her to follow the conductor's time instead of her own and counting things out. Also to adjust her tone to those around her.

    It sounds like she is very talented so the key is probably to progress her into material that she needs to read due to its complexity, at least enough to show her the value of learning to read music.

    Oh, also sightreading, where you read the music over, then play it once or twice at most, then move on to something else might be good to show her the value of reading as well.
     
  3. Joseph_Botwinick

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    I learned to read music by learning piano. If I were you, even though it will be hard, I would discipline her to learn Music Theory through the piano and have her stay in the book she is in. You might also look at Mardel Christian Bookstore for some Music Theory workbooks that are appriate for her age. This could be used to supplement her musical training on the piano. In my beginning band classes (6th grade), I have also used these workbooks here as a supplement to their learning in band. These work very well, IMO, because they teach the lesson at the top of the page, and then provide practice at the bottom of the same page. This way, they are able to refer back easily to the lesson while practicing. It also goes in a sequential order. IOW, each lesson builds on the previous lesson. I highly recommend it. They also offer this software to supplement the lessons.

    These are all good resources. I will say, though, that it is my experience after nine years as a band director that most kids will learn best by learning how to play their instrument properly by learning how to read music as they learn how to play their instrument. I hope this helps.

    Joseph Botwinick
     
  4. Joseph_Botwinick

    Joseph_Botwinick
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    Dave also has good advice as well.

    Joseph Botwinick
     
  5. Gold Dragon

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    She sounds like a perfect candidate for the Suzuki Method that emphasizes learning by ear over reading music.

    My mother was a piano teacher who trained me using a mixture of the Suzuki Method and more traditional teaching because I also had a pretty good ear for music. However I didn't have the passion for piano necessary to succeed using that method. I currently play the guitar largely by ear.
     
  6. TaterTot

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    As a piano teacher as well, I understand your problem. I have a student like your daughter, and I have to assign her pieces that are a little above her playing ability. We set goals and she learns at her own pace. I do not play the piece for her nor assign it from a book with a cd, or she will imitate it instead of reading it.

    My mother taught me when I was younger, too. I appreciated that alot, but I really grew more as a musician when I began taking from someone else. The accountability was somewhat stronger and the other teacher's perspective was different as well. Her strengths were more technical and improvisatory, whereas my mother was more ear dependant, if that makes sense. I was much more ready for my college music classes because of having a broader base, I believe. So that might be something to think about as well.
     
  7. blackbird

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    I would encourage you as well as the other posters have----you need---must teach theory to go along with her playing by ear. If she never learns how to read music---when she gets in college or seminary--the professors will "eat her lunch"---those weren't just jots and dots and little squiggly flags on the end of staffs that Mozart had written down, you know!!
     
  8. Joseph_Botwinick

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    Now that is a fact. My freshman year as a music major, there were about 50 other freshman music majors there with me. By the end of the first semester, there were about 20. By the time I graduated, there were 4 of us left. Most of those who dropped out of the program and changed majors could not hack music theory. I was never more thankful for my piano lessons and my Music Theory class I had my senior year in High School. It helped me a lot.

    Joseph Botwinick
     
  9. TaterTot

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    Thats so true. Being able to play by ear doesnt get one real far in college, if she might possibly consider studying that when she is older. I think you have gotten some good advice and I know you will do what is best for your budding musician.
     
  10. Gina B

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    Get her blank music sheets and have her fill in the notes.
     
  11. blackbird

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    How would she know what to fill in where??? :D :D
     
  12. Aaron

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    Pay someone to give her music lessons, and require her to practice them.

    (I haven't read all the responses, so If I'm repeating someone else's—all the better! [​IMG] )
     
  13. Gib

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    Just take a magic marker and stab the page 30-40 times, add some stems, give to Joseph and let him play it. You may get a masterpiece out of it.
     
  14. samarelda

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    Thank you all for your very good advice.

    I wish we could afford to pay for lessons for her, but right now that isn't an option. When I run into situations like this where my abilities are limited I always ask the Lord for help. He answered my need with you great people. I think we will do fine with the great advice you all gave me. I am a tough teacher---comes from homeschooling---and there have been times she has been in tears--and had a bit of an attitude because she didn't want to work at a piece. She wanted me to figure it out for her. I told her fine, you just sit there until you figure it out yourself. She did figure it out after she got rid of the attitude and was willing to put some effot into it.

    Dave, I think I will try moving her on a little more rapidly. Don't know why I never thought of that. It makes sense.

    Joseph, I have been using a theory book but it hasn't seemed to be very effective. After taking a look at the one you recommended, I think I will order one of those for her. I really liked what I saw on the link you gave me.

    I don't know if she will ever go on to music in college, but you never know. She really wants to be a pastor's wife. I know the Lord will use her musical ability no matter what he has planned for her. She really amazes me. She will play a song, then play it in a minor key, make up her own songs, add frills. It is so fun. My huband is very musical. His musical training was one semester of violin at BJU. Yet, he can play the violin, cello, dulcimar, trumpet. I play some by ear, but my daughter and husband are far more musical than I am.

    Again, thank you for all your help. I realize none of you know our exact situation but having so much advice to choose from is most helpful. Thank you each one.
     
  15. gb93433

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    I know almost nothing about music. My daughter's teacher says that she plays the piano very well. Her first teacher was very good and had never taught before but was the chruch pianist. Her next teacher was a lady who taught at the junior college and had studied music in Latvia. All along I was told before she started that she needed to be taught to read music and to play correctly. It has paid off. A few years ago my daughter started playing some of the hymns she had never heard before and did quite a good job.
     
  16. Dave

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    By the way, the advice to teach her theory is excellent. Music theory is absolutely required if she ever wants to go to college for music in the future. It helps at every level to understand it. Particularly if there is ever a desire to either write music or do improvisation.
     
  17. Debby in Philly

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    My experience is that people who have this gift are not necessarily "perfect". That is, when they play by ear, they don't always get it exactly right. Very close, but not exactly. So if they are playing with others, they don't always blend in. And that is what written music is for. It is a wonderful thing to have this gift coupled with a good knowledge of reading! Frankly, some people who play by ear are very arrogant about it, saying that reading is foolish nonsense; they don't realize what they are missing.
     
  18. Pete

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    I'm one of world's worst guitar players and know nothing at all about the cockroach footprints that people put over songs.....

    .....then again Tommy Emmanuel is the world's best guitar player and he can't read music either [​IMG]
     

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