To begin thinking directionally, have the student play skips and steps on the keyboard. Explain to the student that a skip skips a finger and skips a letter in the musical alphabet. A step plays the next finger and is the next letter in the musical alphabet.
Reading by shapes and contours is a helpful mechanic in reading notes. Relationships such as up, down, same, repetition, equal distribution in the tonic chord, or unequal distribution in the dominate seventh chord should be seen. Explain to the student the three movements possible on the staff: up, down or the same. Also, there are three types of distances possible on the staff: steps (seconds), skips (thirds or larger intervals), or repeats.
Use interval terminology from the beginning. The goal is to teach the student to think and reason directionally from a given note.
Drills can be taught easily without keyboard sheet music. The student can close his eyes while hearing the directions. Experiences such as playing 5-finger positions and chords prepares students for reading notation. It is helpful to create written drills which work with the concept of direction only, writing pairs of notes in any given direction, up, down or repeat.
For more information about piano instruction NJ, contact Barbara Ehrlich Piano Studio.