When to change the staff mode from numbers to letters or without any?

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giorgiomartini
Posts: 4
Joined: Sun Mar 14, 2021 10:48 am

When to change the staff mode from numbers to letters or without any?

Post by giorgiomartini » Sun Mar 14, 2021 1:05 pm

Im half way through the rookie tour, and I haave the feeling im not really learning to read the staff but the numbers.

Is there a lesson along the way where it tells us to switch modes?

I dont want to do the whole tour and realize I had to read the staff without any help from numbers or letters.

Is there a lesson or video along the way where we make the switch?

Or when do we do this?

mbvs
Posts: 15
Joined: Wed Sep 09, 2020 4:09 am

Re: When to change the staff mode from numbers to letters or without any?

Post by mbvs » Wed Mar 17, 2021 3:29 pm

No, there isn't a lesson where they say: "Ok, now it's time to switch off the numbering" ...

My humble advice: make the "Reading Music - Staff Notation (Rookie)" course as soon as it pops up (although it can get pretty hard at the end) and turn off numbers/letters afterwards altogether (with an occasional glimpse when starting a lesson or when in doubt). But don't expect to be a fluid sight-reader by then, it seems to take a lot of practice and effort, at least that is my experience.

giorgiomartini
Posts: 4
Joined: Sun Mar 14, 2021 10:48 am

Re: When to change the staff mode from numbers to letters or without any?

Post by giorgiomartini » Thu Mar 18, 2021 3:24 pm

Thanks! I didnt know there where some courses popping up there?

I think its not well explained.. or i missed it...


when are we supposed to do this according to playground sessions?

after the rookie tour? when we want?

playground sessions could do a better job at explaining this.

Thanks anyway! will do this course! :)

mbvs
Posts: 15
Joined: Wed Sep 09, 2020 4:09 am

Re: When to change the staff mode from numbers to letters or without any?

Post by mbvs » Thu Mar 18, 2021 7:43 pm

giorgiomartini wrote:
Thu Mar 18, 2021 3:24 pm
Thanks! I didnt know there where some courses popping up there?

I think its not well explained.. or i missed it...


when are we supposed to do this according to playground sessions?

after the rookie tour? when we want?

playground sessions could do a better job at explaining this.

Thanks anyway! will do this course! :)
Agreed, when you look through the forum a lot of people are puzzled about this.

If I remember this correctly there are "Staff notation", "Both hands practice", "Hanon", "50 melodies" and "Scales" courses popping up during Rookie Bootcamp (did I forget something?) - generally the courses increase gradually in difficulty, so I think they are meant to be done in parallel to the Bootcamp or as an optional addon for people who want to go deeper. But honestly, I didn't care and made Staff notation and 50 melodies (which is only 1 handed) right away, for Hanon I bought a book, which serves me better. After finishing Rookie I played through Both hands practice as a kind of recap and I practice scales outside PGS per key together with cadences and inversions.

But hey, that's just me - do as you like!

PS: there is a great post by EFlatMajor viewtopic.php?f=62&t=20790#p28773 which describes this stuff way better than I did!

PeterSchut
Posts: 6
Joined: Mon Mar 15, 2021 3:18 pm

Re: When to change the staff mode from numbers to letters or without any?

Post by PeterSchut » Sun Apr 04, 2021 6:50 am

I have the same problem.
But for me it is even worse.
I went through the 18 lessons Grace by Sheléa, and man do I like this method with the teacher Phil (I also did "the entertainer" with him) .... fantastic.
But after a while (i am in my 3rd month of piano, about 35 hours of practice, never played before) I just know it by memory and I use the bars only for the rhythm and the changes, I am not really reading anymore.
I stopped using the finger notations as the position of your hands is shifting a few times.
But it is by memory ... I am worried I will not get used to the Staff notation ... maybe I am just inpatient and not that young anymore (1963)

Any tips?
Peter

rickm
Posts: 33
Joined: Wed Sep 16, 2020 2:56 pm

Re: When to change the staff mode from numbers to letters or without any?

Post by rickm » Tue Apr 06, 2021 12:52 am

I like to recommend the opposite to what many students do.

First, let me say that I've seen a few students fess up that they got half-way through Intermediate bootcamp before realizing that they couldn't read very well. Not even close. Some went back to the beginning or some point in Rookie and repeated it. There are comments here about that too, or at least fearing that could happen.

After my own wife went through over 20 rookie lessons, and two of the Challenge courses (You Raise Me Up and Xmas Medley), all at 100%, I found out she couldn't read a note. She couldn't play a note on the keyboard if I gave her a name, and couldn't name a single line or space on the stave. She got by with finger numbers (where there are no hand shifts), and by watching Phil's hands in the videos. Oh, my favorite trick is where she hits a random note on the piano, and looks to see where it is on the on-screen keyboard. Then she marches her finger up or down the keys until she gets to the place where the keys played in the lesson are nicely highlighted. Very clever.

What many students do is start every lesson using note names and/or finger numbers. They practice away until they get 100% or or their target "good enough" score, then they turn off the aids. They continue practicing until they get to 100% without the aids. And they think they nailed it.

By then, as people here have also said, one is going by memory (perhaps more than they realize) and they aren't really reading the notation. And, it's too late.

I encourage people to start each lesson step with these aids turned off. Don't press PLAY yet. Struggle through and read all the notes, and find them on the keyboard. Use whatever fingering seems comfortable. Take a stab at understanding the rhythm and what the correct note durations are. I'm not talking about being able to play the whole piece in tempo, although if you can do some of it at a slow speed that's great. Even a measure here and there. Depending on the length of the lesson, we're only talking about a few minutes. BUT, this is where you get to improve and practice reading. THEN, toggle on the aids and go through one more time and check your accuracy.

I guess the old-school paper equivalent of this is to struggle with each new piece of music, but as you go through it you find all the notes and pencil in some or all of the note names and/or finger numbers. But, at least you've read it once and you will still improve even at this extreme.

After that, it varies depending on your skill level. Strive to keep the aids turned off, BUT, be aware to avoid getting frustrated. Be sure you're having fun, and strike a balance. The key is those few minutes seeing the music for the first time and reading it for real, even if the aids are turned on for the rest of the lesson. It takes quite a while to learn to read well. It takes even longer if you never really try.

PeterSchut
Posts: 6
Joined: Mon Mar 15, 2021 3:18 pm

Re: When to change the staff mode from numbers to letters or without any?

Post by PeterSchut » Sun Apr 11, 2021 8:01 am

Hi rickm,

That indeed seems to be the way forward. The nice thing about the rookie lessons is that when you are advanced enough the fingers are not highlighted at the keyboard anymore, so you have to start figuring out that yourself.
I then cheat by looking at the Note and then the nummers to figure out where to start, but that indeed doesn't help you learning the staff.

I will start using your advise more at the start .... indeed a not to the point where you get frustrated but enough to start learning.
I am now after exact 3 months and 36 hours at lesson 62 (Stairway to heaven), skipped 3 lessons where I really disliked the music, did Grace Rookie, and The Entertainer Rookie and this is the first lesson that takes me way more time then the other lessons.
The guide is gone but also the technology needed seems harder to me .......

I just need to keep on going i guess, but thanks for the guide.
Cheers,
Peter

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sw1tch73ch
Posts: 535
Joined: Tue Oct 18, 2016 1:23 pm

Re: When to change the staff mode from numbers to letters or without any?

Post by sw1tch73ch » Mon Apr 12, 2021 3:03 pm

One point on going back through Rookie after finishing it with the numbers off rather than turning them off earlier is that during the Rookie Bootcamp, we are ... Rookies. We have no clue where to put our hands and what fingers to use. Leaving the numbers on, or using them at least at the beginning of each lesson, teaches us how to use our fingers and improve our flow over the keys. The numbers do help prevent bad fingering habits.

So for Rookies, I always recommend to use the finger numbers in every lesson, but to turn off the finger numbers in each lesson when they can. They'll learn the proper fingering. Turning off the numbering will give them the practice of seeing the "naked" music. The finger numbers might still be important to start each lesson in Intermediate because the flow for playing chords depends on planning and forethought before you play. The Chords Course is good for this. Then you can turn off fingering for the Intermediate lessons if you want.

They include the finger numbers by default. I have to think they gave that some thought before making it the default. But if you buy all the "offline" or In Person lesson books, from Alfred's or Hal Leonard or the others, you might find they have no finger numbers, or at least fewer. So, use the finger numbers to place your hands, don't use them to play, or at least don't use them to play so much.
== Just keep playing. Just keep playing. Just keep playing, playing, playing! ==

-- jbs --

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