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I have developed a system of learning to read music that is intuitive, easy, and fun. I use the middle line of each clef as landmarks-the middle line of Bass Clef Galaxy is 'the Dwarf' and the middle line of Treble Clef Galaxy is 'the Butterfly'. This locks the 'D' and 'B' into the student's memory, and it nails down the center of each clef on the piano. Relational reading using steps and skips then gets them going, but there is also a story encompassing 4 octaves that can aid students with memory and alphabet manipulation.
I differentiate the octaves on the piano with 'C Planets'. From lowest to highest, the order of the C Planets is: Camel-Cow-Middle C Cat-Coyote-Canary. This is a memorable way to teach students how to differentiate octaves on the staff.
I put stickers with pictures of each character on the relevant keys. This is an invaluable aid for young students and gives them the confidence to learn the clef topography. When the stickers wear away, the student has learned their locations and no longer needs them. It has made practicing easier for students too-when a student feels like they can do something, they will do it more willingly and happily. Music reading is a difficult skill, and is often a cause of resistance.
I have had a great deal of success with this system. It's easy and fun. Reading is no longer a struggle. It is my hope that this could be useful for students with dyslexia, although I don't know exactly how effective it will be yet. I certainly am not an expert in reading challenges-I did though think about what parents of children with dyslexia told me about how they learned to read, and I consulted with a teacher of children with dyslexia.
Here is a first draft of the book:
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