Following on from my previous post on C major sight-reading…
I started the ABRSM Grade 1 piano exam piece “O when the saints” place with a very young pupil this morning. She’s an astonishingly quick learner, but like many children (and I was one of them, at her age) relies almost entirely upon having an excellent ear rather than note-reading skills.
As there was only a short time left in the lesson, I started the piece when the tune begins in the LH, after the introduction.
I was very keen that she should fathom out the notes on the stave, rather than use the “listen and copy” method (I play, she tries, I correct her, she tries again, eventually gets it right and memorises the notes… sounds familiar?).
We have done masses and masses on note-reading, but she’s too quick and impatient to read the notes properly (or else she might need glasses? I wonder…)
So, I as soon as I realised what she was up to, I shut the book of exam pieces, moved away from the piano, and wrote this exercise into her practise notebook:
I went through the first phrase with her – she’s very familiar with the LH CDEFG notes, so this was no problem, and I got her to write the finger numbers in. To make it a game, I presented the next phrases in turn as “trick questions” – which note/finger/ was missing? (I was waving my sticker sheet ready to reward a correct answer…)
Once she was able to spot the missing fingers and play the phrases accurately, we went back to the music. No problem – she was able to read the LH tune first time through. Result!