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Where can I purchase flash cards for note reading?

My son is using the Alfred's books. He has some learning differences and we think the flash cards would help a great deal. He plays by ear, guesses notes rather than reading them. He can memorize the lesson and fake it. He has a wonderful ear, beautiful voice and is 15. Right now he is very frustrated but we don't want him to quit. We appreciate your advice.

-- Margo Walter (mwalter@cns.gov), October 01, 2002


Margo, Be thankful your son has a good ear. You can capitalize on his ear to help him become an excellent reader. Focus first on his singing of the flashcard notes. When he can sing them accurately, have him find on the keyboard the notes after he sings them. Then he can trasfer this skill to reading sheet music: sing a measure, then play it. Soon he will be able to sing notes in his imagination, and those imagined tones will trigger his playing the correct notes on the keyboard. After years of dealing with reading problems, I truly believe that this approach to learning to read is musically valid and extremely successful if a student has the patience to learn this way.

The "typing" way of learning to read--where students name notes and name keys on the keyboard, and then match the line or space on the page with a key on the keyboard--unfortunately overlooks the most important thing: the sound (the pitch) of the notes. So often I have encountered piano players who barely listen to what they are playing. It seems much better to me to start with the sound inside before trying to play it on the keyboard. Best wishes for your son's excellent progress.


-- Alan (noname_poster@yahoo.com), October 01, 2002.

Margo, your main question was where to get the flashcards--I can tackle that one easily enough. Most of the big music publishers print sets of flashcards: Bastien, Faber, Hal Leonard, and I believe ALfred. Does your son have a teacher? She should be able to order them for him, but if you always order your own books at a music store, just ask them to order you a set of flashcards. Since he is using the Alfred books, I'd go with that, since the cards are likely to be arranged in an order to correspond to the Alfred series, although any of them would work fine. Pianoannie

-- annie (nonameposter@yahoo.com), October 02, 2002.

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