How to Practice Reading Music
How to practice reading music... PAINLESSLY. Sheet music reading practice that is more like a game than an exercise. Reading a music sheet tends to be a CHORE for young players, but not these sheets!
Please scroll down the page for the download links.
Jumping Fleas and Leaping Kangaroos are first a challenge for the eyes, then for the fingers, guessing how far to go on the keyboard.
Like Wormies and Snakes and Crickets Go Hopping, these two new sheets are focusing not on note identities, but on the intervals between notes. As students focus just on reading a music staff, extra details such as rhythm and fear of black keys do not intrude.
Should they be reading actual notes?
With Wormies, Snakes, and Crickets I have written, "Choose any white key," but with Jumping Fleas and Leaping Kangaroos I might just say something like, "Start this on a G, to make it easier for me to follow along."
Test their understanding
But I don't insist on starting any place in particular - the INTERVAL is the thing here. And deliberately starting them on a key that would NOT be the actual note if reading on a staff, they are forced to pay closer attention.
What's different about these sheets?
With Snakes and Wormies, students crept from key to key: always to a neighboring key. With Crickets Go Hopping, students also stepped from one key to its neighbor, until SUDDENLY there was a "hop!"
Now in Jumping Fleas, it is mostly all hopping, with unexpected steps and stops, where a note may be repeated.
Recognizing 4ths, 5ths, 6ths, & 7ths
Leaping Kangaroos takes on all of them!
Please scroll down the page for the download links.
But will this make a difference in reading a music sheet?
Yes. I believe it has made a difference with my students.
The nice thing is the transfer of this interval recognition into their regular music. I can say "This spot here is like Jumping Fleas," or, "This is one of those 4ths like in Leaping Kangaroos," or even, "Can you find the 5ths in this line of music?"
Real musical jargon
It also gives us a vocabulary we can use. Now I can say, "These notes are a third apart," or, "This is a jump of a sixth, as in Für Elise and Harp Ballad" (quickly followed by a fast demo of the pertinent measures of those piano pieces).
This can lead in new directions, as in:
What? There are other clef symbols?
Just yesterday one of my older students, a boy who has been playing difficult Beethoven sonatas for some time (but still wants to learn everything by ear!), was made aware that there are other clefs besides treble and bass clefs!
And he learned WHY this viola or alto clef symbol, which can move up or down, even exists. [Answer: the instruments which spend a lot of time playing in what would be the ledger line region of the staffs use the different clef symbol to indicate where Middle C is. Middle C is at the point of the symbol.]
Don't be in a hurry
These are not "one and done" with my students. Instead, I place these interval-reading assignments on their assignment sheets every week, usually with the suggestion to play just one a day. Then on lesson days, I may ask them to pick which one they want to play for me - or I might ask to hear a couple of them.
If one of these pages is baffling to my student, I will have them re-visit Crickets Go Hopping or even Snakes again.
You will KNOW if they are "getting it." When they begin to gain speed with Jumping Fleas, I will add Leaping Kangaroos onto it, without taking Jumping Fleas off the list!
The links for reading notes on sheet music:
How to practice reading music? Download Jumping Fleas!
Download Leaping Kangaroos
Thanksgiving song lyrics & sheet music for Over the River & Through the Woods, an old-fashioned song kids will love to play & sing! EASY solos & duets.
This song, the Beatitudes, Matthew 5:3-12 in the KJV Bible, is not paraphrased, but composed to include ALL the beatitudes. Sheets for voice, piano, guitar.
Free piano music for beginners "Wabash Cannonball" is an energetic & easy solo or duet! This page features Primo & Secondo parts, & lyrics.
Classical songs for young voices can be difficult to find, especially boy/girl duets. "Oh false one" by Gilbert & Sullivan is a winner! Full of comedy & energy.
Sheet music for Silent Night vocal duets for your young choirs or vocal students. With pretty harmonies, this is an easy Christmas duet for beginning singers.
Songs Old & Songs New
All the first-year material I give my beginner students.
Piano keyboard sheets, scales, chords, note-reading exercises, and over 256 pages of music!
Queen Esther in the Bible
This beautiful song book for piano & voice "Esther, For Such a Time as This", available as a digital download, tells the riveting story of the time when Jews in ancient Persia faced a foe named Haman, and how a brave young queen risked her life to save her people.
A good choice for a singing story-teller, an operatic group, a short theater production, or a class of children!
This book is also available from Amazon as a paperback.
Just the Black Keys
This book is available as a digital download from this site. Visit this page to see some free examples from the book.
It is also available from Amazon as a paperback!
This is the perfect easy start for little pianists.
And when they start reading white-key notes on the staff, this is a fun easy resource to say each week, "Choose a new black-key song at home this week and figure it out to show me next lesson!" They will be spending more time at the piano.
The Adventures of Tonsta
A perfect read aloud storybook
for little boys or girls.
The Adventures of Tonsta highlight the travels of a very young boy with a good heart, who goes about helping folk in trouble.
With a red cap on his head and a sack of tools slung over his shoulder, Tonsta seems to meet people in distress wherever he goes.
Lots of trolls in this book - including one who gives him a Christmas gift!
Available at Amazon
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About the Author
Hi, I'm Dana! (Say that like "Anna".) I'm the owner of Music-for-Music-Teachers.com, and a newer site, SingTheBibleStory.com.
Like some of you, I've been playing the piano since early childhood, and have added a few other instruments along the way, plus an interest in arranging and composing music.
You can find out more about me and the reason for this website at my About Me page.