QUOTE(nearlygreen @ Feb 11 2009, 01:25 PM)
Thanks for your helpful advice. I hadn't actually thought of most of those ideas myself so I will try them out. You both mentioned teaching him to play things by ear. I had thought of this, but I'm worried that we'll then move away from learning notation completely, or he'll just refuse to ever try reading it again. How did you two effectively combine the two?
Also you mentioned trying other activities in the lesson, could you give me some suggestions, as the only activities I do, is learning the pieces in the book. I know you mentioned theory but I'm wary of this because he stuggles with reading notation. I'm actually new to this game, only started teaching in October so it's all a learning curve for me.
Thanks for your advice x
As far as teaching by ear is concerned, my dyslexic students did
learn to read from notation, but doing some
teaching by ear gave them a break from it. They knew which pieces would be played from the book and which they could "just play". But I would definitely start off with notation at the beginning, when he is reasonably fresh. Sometimes a young beginner can recognise middle C at the beginning of the lesson, but by the end of the lesson simply has no idea!
Also, with all my young beginners, I give them Dozen A Day alongside a tutor book; the Mini (pink) book starts with just two notes, and I find it helps to consolidate their learning. As you will have been teaching this lad (I assume?) since October, you will already be picking up on the signs that he is ready to leave one particular activity and move on to another, and with this age-group it's really best not to labour the point. You can always come back to a specific point next lesson - perhaps approached in a different way.
Don't be wary about theory. The Lina Ng Theory Made Easy for Little Children
is excellent for this age-group. Level 1 is very basic, and it will back up his note-reading, but in a fun way. There are lots of stickers to put in at the right places, puzzles to do, bits to colour in etc, and it has been universally enjoyed by the kids I have given these to. At Â£2.50 each, it's something the parents don't seem to mind paying a bit extra for.
Try a variation on the "I went to market" game. For example, "I went to market to busk, and I played this
note" - but make sure he wins sometimes! As he gets more confident you could ask him to name the note, but keep within a small section of the keyboard that he is familiar with.
Sometimes with young ones, I have taped a huge stave onto the floor with electrical tape or masking tape, asked them to pretend to be a note and jump onto the line / space that I name. But make it clear whether you are working in treble or bass clef!
You could also make up some flash cards for him to work with at home, asking Mum / Dad to help him to learn the notes. He could use them to spell simple words. This idea could be extended into a flash card game, adding extra cards as he becomes more confident.
And make him laugh! It does wonders for easing tension and then refocusing concentration.
Hope this gives you some ideas - but the sky is the limit, really.
Oops, another long post!