learning to read notes

said: Jan 18, 2011
 17 posts

We just returned from a sucessful lesseon yesterday. My daughter is so proud that all but one sticker is gone from the fingerboard! I did not believe it at times, but we do seem to make some progress :D
Since a few weeks we are seriously into learning to read the notes. She is getting the hang of it. I am rather happy that she is can recognize most of the ones she has played in the pieces so far. She can only read and write the letters of the alphabet and the numbers up to now. She cannot read properly yet.
The teacher told me she has to be able to name the notes in beat. He used a metronome which confused her totally as she could not keep up. Her note reading skills are not good enough yet to keep up with the given tempo.
Are there any games, besides flash cards, that are fun and help learning to read the notes? Fingering numbers add confusion as she reads them first and guesses “b” instead of “e” for example. I would like her to be more confident as the group lesson she is attending will focus on playing by notes this term. So it is not only reading the notes but also getting the fingers into playing them.
BTW she has difficulties playing easy song, like “Brother John” with the metronome too.
So my question is how can I help her to get used to the metronome—it just seems to overtax her at the moment? She will nodd her head to the beat, but has difficulties getting started and keeping the beat. It gets better when the teacher plays along with her until he switches to the accompaniment.
Oh, maybe I should mention my daughter is 5 and 1/2 years old and has been taking lesson for about 2 years now.
I thank you in advance for your much appreciated help.
Regards Rippe

Deanna said: Jan 21, 2011
Suzuki Association Member
90 posts

You could try working on associating the letters to the fingers used to play them and the sounds they make before trying to read them. I play a game with my young students where we first sing the letters on the A and E string on our body—for example A= toes, B = knees, C# = shoulders, D=head. Then I ask them to show me on their body where all the letters are, starting slow and getting faster. I usually start in order and then mix-it up. Then I move it on to the violin. Once she’s comfortable with this then instead of saying the letters point to the note on a page or use flashcards.

Once that association is made when she reads the notes on the page she only needs to think about one thing—what letter is it? Rather than: what letter is it? what finger do I use to play that letter? what does that letter sound like?

I would probably hold off on the rhythm until the letters are secure—or do the rhythm reading just one pitch. You can also say the rhythm rather than play it at first. Give different words to different note values. You can use the fairly standard: two-oo, ta, ti ti, tika tika or make up your own like: go-o, cow, cookie, alligator.

said: Feb 1, 2011
 24 posts

Try My First Note-Reading Book
by Kerstin Wartberg

Suzuki Supplementary. Book & CD. 48 pages.
Published by Alfred Music Publishing (AP.25895).
ISBN 0739042327

This is a beautiful way to start note-reading, without metronome but with CD. Rhythms are played by drum and piano, and encourage the children to take up the pulse in a lively manner.
Beside many basic rhythms all notes in the first finger-pattern will be introduced and systematically practiced in this book.

All my young students learned this way with much pleasure. It is also possible to use this book without teacher if a parent is supporting the child. Even parents without knowledge of note-reading can help and at the end both, child and parent have had an enyjoyable introduction.

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