Delayed Reading

Typically, children learn to read after their ability to talk has been well established. In the same way, children should develop basic technical competence on the piano before being taught to read music. A common misconception is that Suzuki students never learn how to read music, but that is not true. Once students have learned to play both hands together but independently (right hand plays something different than left hand at the same time), reading music is introduced, often in the form of theory games. Students are also taught to read music from non-Suzuki repertoire at the beginning so as not to interfere with the students’ ability to play by ear. (“Playing by ear” meaning knowing how to “sound out” melodies without looking at the music, not simply memorizing and regurgitating) As students advance to more difficult pieces, Karin uses a combination of reading skills and ear training to help students learn the repertoire. Giving students freedom to be able to play pieces from the musical score later allows students to utilize both reading and ear training skills, allowing them the use both tools to be successful, but also be able to play the repertoire without relying so much on the music.