21/60 The invisible pencil

It’s not the pencil that is invisible, come to think of it – the title is a bit misleading.

I’ve inherited a number of young piano pupils who are very weak at note-reading, so the challenge is to encourage them to engage “their little grey cells” and start learning their notes on the stave rather than relying on fingering and notes written in.

Actually, the challenge is for me, to keep on encouraging them to read the music. It is just too tempting to write in fingering and note letters from a mixture of exhaustion and exasperation.

We were going through the first piece in Book 5 of the Lang Lang Piano Method, a series I have just started using and am increasingly impressed with. The left hand of this piece is a cleverly constructed simple repetition of a scale element, with different endings each time.

“Could you just write an ‘F’ by that note so I can remember it?”, she asked sweetly. I swear she had her head on one side and was using a winning smile.

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I held the point of the pencil a millimetre above the point on the page, and mimed writing ‘F’.

“I suppose that means you won’t write it for me,” she said in a disappointed tone of voice.

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“No, no, I have written it in, but using invisible writing.”

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I got “the look”, but somehow she has managed to remember the ‘F’ and play it every time.┬áNot sure how many times I can play that trick, though.

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