Helping Students Become Good Sight-Readers: Part 2

Helping student’s become good sight-readers part two: working with the tech savy and auditory learners.

Do you have those students who memorize their pieces in one week and have an incredible “ear” for picking out tunes they hear? Often these students play beautifully, sometimes they even seem to progress faster than other students their age. A casual passerby might think that this is a model student or that the student must be so talented everything comes easily to them. In many ways, this student is easy to teach, that is until sight reading is introduced. As soon as you give this student something to sight-read the circumstances dramatically change. Perhaps this student’s reading skills are passable enough to read new music given them as a learning piece to be worked on for a few weeks, but as soon as this student is given something to sight-read they balk and at very best only haltingly play through the song. So what is a teacher to do with a student who is bored by sight-reading books and drags their feet at any mention of sight-reading.

Sight reading part 2

This past year I started using an ipad in lessons. Originally I had the ipad for personal use but after hearing everyone rave about how much their students loved the ipad I decided to give it a try in lessons. The results? My students absolutely love it! Though quality instruction and feed back can never adequately be replaced by technology; technology can be utilized to a teacher’s advantage. Though there are not apps for every skill a students must learn at the piano, a few high quality apps are worthwhile. Some of my favorite apps to use are sight-reading directed. I seem to always have a small number of students who are auditory learners and either find sight-reading a challenge, or are completely uninterested, and avoid these types of assignments at all cost. The ipad will not work miracles but with the added technology feature these students are much more willing to sight-read their music. Students love the feedback from the ipad.

One of the apps my auditory student’s love most is pianomania. Because students play to a background track auditory students are receiving the auditory stimulation that often times make music so appealing to these kids. But the part they are playing is not predictable enough for them to simply learn by ear. There is music to appeal to all kinds of preferences pop, classical, folk song tunes, and much more.

Another app my students enjoy and often purchase for home use is my note games. It often moves at a slower pace and is affordable for students to use at home.

There are several other apps for sight-reading, and many for rhythm, theory and much more but these are the ones I use most often. If you have an ipad or other tablet I would love to hear what your favorite apps are in the comments below.


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