Many music students struggle with music reading. Even after months of practicing, few children are able to sight-read music in the same way they read a book. But, new research shows, that reading music, and ‘regular’ reading are not that far apart!
October 29th, 2019
Katarzyna Julia Leikvoll, defended her PhD thesis in Literacy Studies at the University of Stavanger by conducting research on the differences in how students learn to read text and music.
Leikvoll examined how beginner piano students learn to read music in the Norwegian extra-curricular music schools. She then compared this to how reading and writing is taught in primary schools.
The researcher points out that text reading and music reading have many similarities.
In both cases, it is a matter of decoding larger units such as words, chords and scales instead of individual letters and notes.
Moreover, we anticipate what the next word or group of notes will be, based on the context. Leikvoll points out that this helps to maintain fluency in reading and playing.
Based on the methods for teaching reading and writing used in Norwegian primary schools, Leikvoll has developed a piano method for beginners called “Listen, write, play”. It includes a lesson book, an exercise book and a detailed teacher’s guide.
The method was tested out experimentally during a school year on a number of piano students and teachers.
For more information on her findings and method, click here.
This article is a re-post, with small modifications, of “How beginners can learn to read music more efficiently” an article published on partner.sciencenorway.no by Elin Nyberg.