How often do you break free from your method book? How often do your piano students have the opportunity to play from sheet music that looks visually “different”? If you’re mostly supplementing from your method book’s accompanying performance or popular books, or from sources that are also “method-book-ish” then it’s likely that your piano kids aren’t often exposed to the beauty that is “non-typical” piano sheet music.
What is Visually Different Sheet Music?
The sheet music I’m referring to is music that has:
- Key signatures beyond just G and D major
- The opportunity for hands to cross-over each other
- The use of a large amount of the piano (varied octaves or more complex “out of position, out-of-the-middle patterns)
- Changes in tempo mid-way through the piece
- The addition of “non-notes” – tapping, clapping etc.
- Frequent use of sharps, flats and naturals
- Varied hand-positions (on the black keys, one hand in A, one in C etc.)
- … and much, much more!
Give your Piano Students Visual Variety From The Start!
Frequently breaking free from method-book-looking music gives your piano students confidence at the piano. I like to give my piano students as much exposure to visually different material as I possibly can; but it doesn’t mean that I’m selecting material that’s too challenging for them. It’s simply different.
Doing this while they are young, and approaching it with a “Hey! Check out this cool way of writing music.” approach means that they don’t develop the common fears and/or hang-ups that some older students grapple with when they are all of sudden faced with something out of the norm.
Does it mean that I’m sometimes moving away from the typical progression of learning to read music? Yes, absolutely. My student may never have encountered ledger lines… but what an in-context teachable moment! I’m not going to shy away from a great piece simply because the method book hasn’t got there yet. As a result, my piano kids are playing music that is unique and inspiring. We all like a break from the same old same old… and sometimes that means seeking out sheets that give our piano students the opportunity to experiment with music that is a treat for their ears AND eyes.