is it too late to learn to read when your ears are very good? : LUSENET : Everything About Teaching and Learning the Piano : One Thread

Hi.... I'm 23 at the moment and I play piano (Keyboards I should say) but I don't even read music. All the music that I play is by ear, I know this might sound stupid or exadurated, but i even learnt mozarts very famous piano piece which i don't even know whats its called with about 95% accuracy. And all by ear. No exaduration! For that reason no matter how good I am in playing the piano, because I don't read music I don't think i can really be called a musicain officially even though people don't believe that I don't read music when they see me playing. I want to learn to read music but my ears don't let me. When I try to read a music of a music I'v heard before, my hands automaticly play the peice and I don't get to learn reading. This was the case since I was 13 when i tried reading music for the first time. I was either memorizing the music or hearing it and "cloning" it and I don't have control over this. PLEASE and I really mean this, PLEASE, how can I learn to read music without the help of my ears. I mean i thank God for the ears that i'v been given but I WANT to learn to read!!!!! do you think its too late for me? Thank you so much for reading.

-- Reimon Oshana (, October 15, 2004


I don't think it's impossible, Reimon, but obviously it won't be easy. My suggestion is to buy music you don't know and play it. Don't try to learn the piece, just concentrate on playing every note you see.

There's lots of 20th century music that is less predictable/less melodic which should challenge your ear.

Good luck!

Alice Dearden

-- Alice Dearden (, October 15, 2004.

Yeha thanx... that's a good suggestion. but should I go for a teacher to start me off or should I give it a shot by meself (since I know some things about music already)? My point is it possible for someone to learn by themself?

-- Reimon Oshana (, October 17, 2004.

I think it's possible to learn by yourself, but will take an incredible amount of self-discipline, perseverance and dedication. A teacher can help you set realistic goals and keep you on track. However, maybe you'd like to make a plan -- to work at sight-reading for 10 minutes a day by yourself for two months, for instance -- and then evaluate how you're doing after that time. Maybe you'll decide you need regular lessons, maybe just the occasional one, or maybe you'll be doing so well that you can go on for a bit more by yourself. By the way, has sightreading exercises you can download and print -- lots of them!

You also mentioned that you don't think you can be called a musician officially because you can't read music -- there are probably many other things a teacher can help you with besides sight-reading. So I do suggest that at some point you get some lessons.

Alice Dearden

-- Alice Dearden (, October 17, 2004.

Thank you so much for those advises... i'll will hav a go at it and see how I go :-) Thanx once again

-- Reimon Oshana (, October 18, 2004.

I would suggest sight-reading many pieces, but only once per piece! Stress to your teacher that she should not teach by rote. Also, have you tried learning notes that do not actually form a piece? Try testing your skill by picking random notes on the page and trying to play them. I like the suggestion about learning 20th Century music. Have you tried playing a piece backward?

-- Zoe (, December 07, 2004.

You might want to think about how you can work out the notes. When you look at the notes of a melody that you know, can you hear how it should sound in your head? Can you trace with your eyes the way the melody goes up and down, the way the distance between the notes is large or small? Can you look at that melody and feel what fingers are going to play the notes before you put your hands on the piano?

Then look at a tune that you don't know. Can you start to hear it in your head? To feel in your fingers where they should go? Take the time to work it out.

How about taking out a rhythmic pattern - say 2 bars - from a piece that you know, and write it down. Just the rhythm! Use the pattern to make up another piece - I'm sure that with your ears you can do that! Work out how to write down a few bars of what you have played.

Reading should be done with the ears. It sounds, however, that what you need to do is slow down so that you make sure that you are reading all the details. You drive a car - you can use the brake. All you need to do is put your mind in 1st gear for a short while in order to learn a piece accurately. When you KNOW what the notes are, then you can put your foot on the accelerator.

-- Judy Fisher (, February 11, 2005.

Moderation questions? read the FAQ