November 1

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Reading Isn’t Everything

If there's one mistake piano teachers make with young children, it's this.

They try to get them reading music too soon.

It's not necessarily the fault of the teachers. It comes from centuries of teachers teaching with a conservatory-style, reading-heavy approach. And so, most lessons revolve around just that - learning how to read music.

But, when young children are asked to read music too early, it ceases to be music anymore. But rather, it's a frustrating puzzle they've been asked to solve.

Which then becomes a turnoff they may never recover from. A long-term association with music.

It's like taking a one-year-old and trying to teach them grammar before they've gotten to experience the language.

For very young children, there are a few goals we want to aim for:

  1. Develop their sense of pitch. 
  2. Develop their sense of rhythm. 
  3. Establish a track record of positive experiences.

This is done through movement, singing, playing tunes by ear, learning tunes by rote, and playing with others.

Once these foundations have been set, children fly through reading when they are ready for it. It's the natural progression of things.

With the right foundation, children won't just learn how to read. 

They'll learn how to love music for life.

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For parents, students, and anyone else who believes that music can and should be a meaningful part of everyone's life.

About Jonathan Roberts

I am the founder and director of the South Shore Piano School, and I have been teaching the piano for nearly 20 years. My work centers around bringing music to the lives of kids, parents, and adults in an enriching, meaningful way. At the South Shore Piano School, my incredible colleagues and I accomplish this through skill-based teaching, community, and an innovative, people-first business model. You can read more about me here.


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