Thoroughly engaging a child in the process of learning to read music is critically important. That’s why I make a really big deal out of it right from the beginning. Before I even teach them the fist note on the music staff I ask them to think of a country far, far away. Some kids will name countries like Japan, China, Egypt, or even India. I then ask them if they went to one of these countries would they be able to understand the language. They all shake their heads and say “No.”
I then pointbingo_music_notation to the music notes I am going to teach them and tell them that if they learn THIS language they will be able to speak to any other musician anywhere in the world because they all understand the same secret code. A language called Music Notes. Most students get pretty excited about this. Don’t we all want to be a secret agent who can unravel some mysterious code?
Learning a new language is very exciting for sure but it’s also very hard. The key is to totally immerse yourself in the process. You listen, read and speak it until you master it. This is why daily practice is so important. It doesn’t have to be long, a few minutes a day will make a big difference.
When I was 5 years old, my Father invented a game for me to help me learn to read music. He made flash cards of all the notes and hid them all over the house. If I could find them, bring them to him and correctly name them, I would get a reward!
I think this was ingenious because the essential element of the game is not only to play it, but to think about it ALL THE TIME!
This is just one example of how you can make learning to read music fun, interesting and something your child will look forward to every day. See what you come up with and what works or doesn’t work…and then, share it with us so we can share it with others.