Teaching students to Read Music

In my experience, my students that have difficulty reading music only focus on what the fingering is for the note. They have no idea what the letter name is. They also have trouble knowing how high or low a note is or playing intervals. So they never move forward in knowing letter names of notes.

Brass Trainer

I found a computer game to practice Treble Clef trumpet fingerings. Brass Trainer. It works really well to help students that struggle with letter names and fingerings. Other brass instruments are included as well: French Horn, Trombone, Euphonium and Tuba.  Click here to go to the brass trainer

Dry Erase Board

I  use a dry erase board with a staff and piano keyboard permanently imprinted on it. It works well making them draw and name notes. The piano keyboard graphic is a good tool to teach them enharmonic names and the chromatic scale. Especially for brass students that have no experience with piano. You can pick them up at school supply stores and of course on the internet.

Make Them Solve Their Own Problems

As a teacher, I know that it is difficult to get students to be effortful. So in my private lessons, I make them read something.  I do not play it for them until after they have figured it out. It takes patience and time, but they gain an important skill.

Touch and Say

An easy way to get them reading is to have them touch and say the letter name of the note on the page. I have all my students do this no matter how old they are. Once they can read, I find they do it on their own when they are dealing with a difficult passage. You can increase the difficulty of this exercise by requiring them to do the rhythm correctly. Then the pitch. Then both the pitch and the rhythm. Later, you can also ask them to do letter names, on pitch, in rhythm AND expressively. That is when you know that your student can really read successfully.

If you have other internet resources to help student learn to read music, please leave a comment and share what you use.

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