Learning by reading notes not numbers

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charlierocks
Posts: 1
Joined: Mon Jan 15, 2018 10:37 pm

Learning by reading notes not numbers

Postby charlierocks » Mon Jan 15, 2018 10:44 pm

Hello,
I'm totally new to piano and I wanted to know if I'm already starting off the wrong way. I don't know the notes by memory meaning I cant read the music notes fast enough to play with anything, but I've learned how to play by using the finger numbers. I didn't do it intentionally but thats how playground sessions started me out. I'm currently in the beginning rookie boot camp lessons. Should I be worried and should I change my approach?

Thank you

briggsm
Posts: 8
Joined: Sun Dec 31, 2017 3:41 pm

Re: Learning by reading notes not numbers

Postby briggsm » Tue Jan 23, 2018 2:47 am

Hi Charlie,

I actually have the same question myself... So I probably shouldn't try to answer your question (blind leading the blind!), but I'll still give my 2 cents, as I've been playing/practicing for a few months now.

I actually know treble clef notes well (from days of playing trumpet), but I have a really hard time still with bass clef. I've just been relying on the finger numbering that the app provides, and it's working ok, but I'm not learning the notes. So I've tried to find other apps/programs to help me learn those. I've gotten to middle intermediate bootcamp here, and this app has never worked on teaching us to learn "notes" - it's more gears just at playing songs. So I'd suggest using another app to try to learn notes. And use PS to play songs, have fun hearing the "nice sounds that come from pressing down the right fingers at the right time..." And then, I'm hoping (with you) that eventually everything will come together & we'll understand music much better down the road.

But all that being said, I really hope somebody more experienced will reply to this thread and help us both!

sw1tch73ch
Posts: 209
Joined: Tue Oct 18, 2016 1:23 pm

Re: Learning by reading notes not numbers

Postby sw1tch73ch » Wed Jan 24, 2018 11:48 pm

I think while you are in the Rookie Bootcamp, having the finger numbering helps learn how to put your hands on the piano so that they find the keys. But once you have gotten through the lesson, you should go through again changing the numbers to letters with the little icons at the top of the lesson - a note with a number shows the finger numbers, a note with a letter shows the letter names, and the note by itself turns both off.

First figure out where to put your hands using the lesson and finger numbers, then reinforce the letter names associated with the note positions on the staff, and then practice without numbers or letters to really reinforce the association between the location on the staff with the location on the piano.

I finished the entire Rookie Tour with the finger numbers on. Now I'm going back through all the lessons (and getting updated versions of those lessons) with the letter names. I might go through a third time with neither. Or I might just go on into the Intermediate lessons. I will decide after I've learned a few more of the Rookie Songs I bought. :D
== Just keep playing. Just keep playing. Just keep playing, playing, playing! ==

-- jbs --

degerrum
Posts: 8
Joined: Tue Nov 01, 2016 8:03 pm

Re: Learning by reading notes not numbers

Postby degerrum » Tue Jan 30, 2018 10:24 am

I am curious as to other people's experience weaning themselves off of the finger numbers and note letters when reading the music. I am also trying the method of going through a lesson on slow with the numbers, then switching to letters, then switching to just notes. It does seem like the third time around I am just counting on memorization rather than reading the music however...

If someone has a recommended method for learning to read music within the Playground Sessions system I am all ears....

sw1tch73ch
Posts: 209
Joined: Tue Oct 18, 2016 1:23 pm

Re: Learning by reading notes not numbers

Postby sw1tch73ch » Tue Jan 30, 2018 1:57 pm

My response is actually just before yours. What you are doing sounds good. There is more to your memorization, perhaps, than you realize. You are building a repertoire of hand positions and movements. As long as you are associating those hand positions with music on the screen, you are building your sight reading. Of course, if you've stopped looking at the sheet music while you play, they you aren't building your sight reading.

Of course there are tools to help you learn to recognize the notes and their representation in the sheet music. Look for a "Flash Card" system, like Anki, where you can download the appropriate database of cards (Music) to train you. The one I'm using also does tone recognition, which I really am poor at, so that it plays a tone and you guess which one it is. You are doing this for your own benefit, so "score" your answers honestly. If something was hard, the program will present it to you more often. If it was easy, it will show it less often and concentrate on where you need work. Because I have trouble knowing the "Sound" of an F from an A from a D from .... any notes, I get a LOT of repeats where it plays a tone and I just guess what it is. If you have developed perfect pitch, each note has "a sound" that you can recognize. I don't hear them that way, so I might never develop (might... ha!, probably will never - it is nearly impossible for an adult) perfect pitch.

Anyway, sight reading only improves by repeated practice. I think the finger numbers are less of a crutch that most people think. But they can be a crutch so choosing to not use them at your earliest ability is good. Keep "reading" from the sheet music, even if you have memorized the hand positions, mentally make that connection between what you see and what you play.

Before you go through a piece, it will help to identify the notes to yourself, this is a C a D, an F, and so on. You brain requires a lot of repeated exposure to develop the long term memory. Mostly it will create short term memories and you'll forget them as quickly. It is the repeated reading practice of seeing the sheet music and identifying the notes, and where they are on the keyboard, that does it. It is not just repeating "this is a c this is a c this is a c" to yourself at one sitting, but by noticing in context as the context changes - that is, with new lessons - that "this is a c" and "this is an f" and this is a .... whatever.

I started by staking landmarks, just like learning to read where you learn a few words at a time, I learned/am learning one note at a time - the C in each octave around the two clefs. There is the Middle C - your home away from home. Then there is the C an Octave Up in the right hand, sitting in the second space between lines from the top or third from the bottom, inside the Treble Clef. Then there is the C an Octave below middle C, in the third from the top or second from the bottom space between the lines in the Bass Clef. Then grow your recognition to the notes around these Cs. Once you know the six notes on either side of these Cs (seven notes will land you on the next C), you can look for the new landmarks just outside the two Clefs, the C above the Treble Clef and the C below the Bass Clef - and these will be on Lines, 2nd above Treble Clef and 2nd below Bass Clef, and so on. It's a slow process, but so was learning to read. Compare the books you read as a Kindergartner (mostly pictures most likely) to First Grade, then Second, and so on. Expect learning to read music to be a similar and slow experience.

So
1) Use Flash Cards
2) Keep reading the music even when you've memorized the hand and finger moves
3) Practice, Practice, Practice - the repetition of correctly recognizing the notes is important, even slowly

Only one of these three is outside of Playground. It's free and I think well worth the effort to use the flash cards - so please consider it.
== Just keep playing. Just keep playing. Just keep playing, playing, playing! ==

-- jbs --


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