Teaching Tips

Reading Music

By Ron Sprunger   |  March 8, 2016
How We Learn to Read - In the development of language skills a child listens and speaks before reading. This natural learning sequence should be applied in the teaching of music reading. Let's lay a firm foundation for reading through singing, playing familiar melodies, and improvising. Seeing what we already know can motivate the learner to value reading as he/she delights in seeing what has been played and sung. The next step is reading: hearing what we see.

Swapping Tunes

By Ron Sprunger   |  November 2, 2013
On numerous occasions I've wanted people to sing a text that is new to them. Rather than have them simultaneously deal with a new text and an unfamiliar melody, I've chosen a melody that they already know. Also, singing a familiar song to a new melody keeps it fresh, a good antidote to singing on "autopilot."

Key Signatures

By Ron Sprunger   |  June 20, 2013
Determining the Key with Flats & Sharps in the Key Signature Note: The last flat of the signature is the 4th tone of the scale / the last sharp is the 7th tone of the scale.

Hearing Three Against Two

By Ron Sprunger   |  June 20, 2013
In the music example attached, a triplet feel is established first, then duplets are played against the triplets. Let's begin by listening to the effect of this interplay of rhythms and the slight tension that it creates.

Ear Training

By Ron Sprunger   |  June 12, 2013
More than once my voice teacher said, "Pitch is ear desire." If a piano is in tune, a pianist might need a little encouragement when asked to sing a pitch before playing. However, other instrumentalists know that playing in tune requires more than pressing the right value or key on an instrument.

Counting

By Ron Sprunger   |  June 12, 2013
Confidence in singing and playing requires an awareness of the count on which a melody begins. After counting each of the following patterns several times, and feeling the beats that are silent, try to relate each pattern to a familiar song.

The Value of Slow Practice & Counting Aloud

By Ron Sprunger   |  April 23, 2013
I'm sure that most all piano students have been told to practice a piece slowly at first. For me this seemed more like a chore than a pleasure. It took years before I learned the reason for slow practice.
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