Help my dd wants to quit piano bc she can't read music! - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 7 Old 06-06-2013, 05:55 AM - Thread Starter
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Hi all, I'm super frustrated.  My dd is 10.  She started piano through her school.  Although her teacher was very sweet, she does not stress reading music.  The books she used (I've since learned from other piano teachers) are not great at teaching reading music. 

So after two years of music lessons, she is done. She used to love the piano, but it is very hard to advance in an instrument by memorization only.  She even created her own song once, which was really good.  But if I sit down w/ her w/ flash cards to name the notes (I don't know how to play piano, but teacher suggested naming notes.  She has no idea what the keys are except c and d.  This is not good! 

My younger dd started w/ a different teacher who is great at teaching reading of the notes.  She has excelled (could be natural talent or the teacher) and loves to pound away on the keys, like her sister used to.  Since we are hs'ing both next year, I told older dd she would switch to new teacher.  She doesn't want any teacher.  She refuses to consider it. 


I'm really frustrated.  I think she would *love it* if she felt more confident, but she doesn't want to do the work to get there.  ANy thoughts?


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#2 of 7 Old 06-06-2013, 06:48 AM
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Long term things like learning an instrument are sometimes fun and sometimes not. I wouldn't let her quit at this point but if after next year she still isn't knowing the notes I would say she should be allowed to switch to another activity. I had many times when I hated the piano and flute but I am glad I had to stick with it now that I am an adult.

Some of this might be the age. I have noticed that my DD is reluctant to get out and do activities she has always enjoyed and she doesn't want to try new ones. She has a pout about going similar to the pouts I remember having as a teen but always has a blast and says she is glad we.went afterwards. I finally told her that since she claims she won't like anything I am going to pick projects I think she will thank me for picking when she is grown and we'll do them anyways until she is out of this funk.
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#3 of 7 Old 06-06-2013, 07:15 AM
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Having a period where there's less pressure (like no regular lessons, but an instrument and books she could pursue on her own somehow) can be a good thing.  Occasional lessons (like monthly) might be a nice change too - sometimes it's nice to slow down during periods like this and that's a nice alternative to stopping completely.  A lot of us do this naturally as adults - and I do think it's particularly helpful for older kids in music which can just feel like you're never getting a break from with lots of lessons and practicing and feeling burnt out or bored (both my sisters did this at times with their instruments during different times throughout high school and I think it was really to their benefit).



I might try to find some basic and fun learn-to-read music books you could have around for her - could also be easier to learn to read music on with the focus on another instrument to start out (recorder? singing?) and then she'd probably quickly pick it up on going back to the piano.


Finding a teacher or some introduction to jazz chords/triads/rhythms and things of that nature where you are learning bits of notes, but a lot of playing isn't dependent on reading music may also be something she'd enjoy, be able to pick up with her current abilities, and might even lend itself to some basic reading music practice.  I had a piano teacher who would do this, as well as teaching composition from time to time - it makes for a nice breadth of what you feel like you can do and play in the first place.

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#4 of 7 Old 06-06-2013, 07:24 AM
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It looks like she has a fear or a mental block somewhere about note naming! If what you're saying is right, it's not just the note reading, right? It looks like she can't name the keys on her piano.


Reading music is not particularly difficult and any 10 year old who's into music should be able to get it. But it looks like she doesn't want to work on it at all right now?

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#5 of 7 Old 06-06-2013, 09:40 AM
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The flashcards were the regular paper kind, correct?  A lot of kids find them too boring. Many kids really like phone games or computer games.


1.  Try downloading a couple apps for your iPhone or Android.  Just search for something like "read music piano flashcard"  or "read music piano game" and read the reviews to figure out which one is the best. (I haven't tried these two, but they look good.)!-learn-to-read/id463880788?mt=8


2.  Do you have a computer with internet at home or at the library? Try some free online computer games on the internet and some free online computer flashcards. Do a similar google search and just try them to see what you like.


3.  I'd give it a try for about two weeks to see if the games helps.

     If the games don't work work, then I'd look for a local piano teacher who is certified in the Suzuki method.

You actually can advance really far by learning to play by ear and memorization, and the Suzuki method is one way.  So if the games don't work, then perhaps try the Suzuki method for a couple of years.  Once the love for the piano comes back, you can always revisit the note reading thing a year or two later.

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#6 of 7 Old 06-06-2013, 02:16 PM - Thread Starter
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thank you all for your answers.  Yes, I used regular flash cards.  I will check out those apps for sure. 

She can tell me the names of the notes if she counts out.  As in, "THis is c, so the next is d, e, f."  The only notes she knows on the printed page is c and d and then has to count out face and every good dog or whatever the shortcut is. 


THanks!  Keep them coming. 

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#7 of 7 Old 06-06-2013, 03:47 PM
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I used to have a long card that had the note names on it that you could tuck behind the keys for reference. Something like that could help. I'd also try to start small. Don't shoot for the whole octave at once, but just recognizing a few notes easily by sight, then adding on more.

But - my first inclination was to get her started in jazz piano. I would have killed for that opportunity when I was a young pianist! I still think my sight reading skills are useless in the face of those who can play by ear and improvise.
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