Posted by Nicola on December 11 2007 09:32 AM
I learned the recorder at school and did have one of those Eureka! moments when it clicked that the dots corresponded to the letters which my teacher had kindly pencilled in above them. So that was okay. I taught myself to play the piano when my parents bought one and I just went by the sound of what sounded “right” and what didn’t. So I’d make up chords and accompianments to common songs – you know, arpeggios to Silent Night, that kind of thing. :)
Then my parents sent me for piano lessons and that’s where things went really pear-shaped. Learning to read music.
I could cope with anything round about Middle C – up to Upper C. But anything above/below that point, outwith ledger lines, like Toe-Nail says – eeek! Like her I’d count and write the name of the note – which used to really, really annoy my piano teacher who used to accuse me of not practising. And the opposite was true – I WOULD practise, but the only way I could make any headway would be to write the note letter beside the note and then practise until the notes/chords etc were in my brain and I didn’t need the sheet music any more. In fact, that’s how I got through piano pieces – learned the pieces off by heart (it did mean I didn’t have a very wide repertoire mind you, but on the plus side, I could play the pieces without needing any music in front of me!)
But that (learning off by heart) meant that if someone said something like – let’s take it 12 bars in – I’d have absolutely no idea where we were.
And there’d be absolutely no chance of transposing between key, none at all – took me all my time to learn a piece in one key, never mind another. :o
And because I couldn’t sight-read, I’d no chance of picking up any rhythm – I was too busy concentrating on the notes to start worrying about the beat! :D
Anyway, I have to say that being forced to learn sheet music killed my love of playing the piano. I could have muddled along quite happily, taking my time and grafting my way through pieces I wanted to play, writing the names of the notes beside them and finding the rhythm myself, but it was basically ruined by being made to feel as though playing music was an endurance and a struggle rather than something to be embraced and enjoyed. :(