Craig Sale is Senior Editor for the Piano Magazine and Director of Online Courses for the Frances Clark Center. For thirty years he directed the preparatory program at Concordia University Chicago.

How does 'experience before definition' apply to your teaching of reading concepts?

The natural order of learning1 , as described by Piaget and specifically applied to music learning by Frances Clark2 , begins with the child hearing, feeling, and seeing a concept before it is presented (i.e. sound-feel-sign-name). Experiencing a concept before learning its name and symbol, is meaningful learning. I like to think that teachers...
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What are your favorite teaching aids for music reading?

Whenever I visit the exhibit hall at MTNA and other music teacher conventions or browse through the advertisements in publications for teachers, I am always a bit overwhelmed at the number of teaching aids available. For me the bottom line is whether or not the product has pedagogical value, specifically in the teaching of music reading.  I as...
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How much in-lesson assistance do you give students in learning new repertoire?

I think most teachers would agree that independent learning is an important goal of teaching music reading. I believe, however, that we fall short of that goal if, once a student can satisfactorily read music, we begin to simply assign repertoire to be learned independently. When we do this, we cease to be a guide and facilitator during the fi...
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Describe your sight-reading library contents and organization

I admit it- I am a "packrat." My natural inclination is to hold on to things because "you never know when they might come in handy someday!" Although I strive for reform from this behavior in my daily life, I continue to collect and save music for students. The fact is that this music can be very useful to my students, often as sight-reading m...
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What Do You Do With Transfer Students Whose Reading Level is Far Below Their Performance Level?

from the series: Independence Day: Music Reading Craig Sale, Editor Before enrolling any student, I always conduct a pre-enrollment interview. I think that this first meeting is especially important if the student is a transfer student. When this is the case, over the years I have learned to require that: the student must play one or two previ...
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How do you teach reading in group lessons?

from the series: Independence Day: Music Reading Craig Sale, Editor Group lessons are able to facilitate the learning of music reading concepts in an efficient, effective manner. A recent Keyboard Companion readership survey showed that roughly half of those responding utilize group instruction in some way - occasional group lessons, week...
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How do you incorporate ear training into your reading curriculum?

from the series: Independence Day: Music Reading Craig Sale, Editor In a small discussion forum at the 2003 National Conference on Keyboard Pedagogy entitled "Remedial Reading for the Transfer Student," participating teachers agreed that those transfer students considered to be "poor readers" had "poor ears." Experience and research show that ...
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How is Teaching Adults to Read Music Different Than Teaching Children?

from the series: Independence Day: Music Reading Adult beginners seem to challenge everything we think we know about teaching. From the books used to the rate of skill development, adult learners are different from children. One thing we can do to understand our adult learners is to put ourselves in their position by becoming students ourselve...
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Piano Magazine is the leading resource for pianists, piano teachers, and piano enthusiasts. We bring you informative, interesting, and inspiring ideas on all aspects of piano teaching, learning, and performing. The official name of Clavier Companion magazine was changed to Piano Magazine in 2019.

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