When I began teaching Piano full-time in 1985, I realized that my students were not learning to read music very well, and I set out to discover why.
Children are naturally aural creatures first; so the challenge became how to make the shift from aural to visual in an engaging, compelling way. The children were not focusing on the notes; perhaps because the notes were the least interesting thing on the page. Finger numbers often provided enough information to bypass note reading. Fancy Illustrations were an other distraction.
So how could I keep attention on the notes?
I decided that pages should resemble flash cards, and be presented in a very organized way. The first exercises would therefore be patterns, not melodies, so that the children would not be able to anticipate the outcome, yet provide enough clues to ensure success.
Real sight reading means that it is played once and the page is turned. Therefore, there would have to be many pages providing continous challenge. The pages would be small; the very few notes on each page would be large; and there would be absolutely nothing else on the page except music.
At first, the sheets were hand-drawn and punched together in a loose leaf ring-binders. For the next ten years, I continued to develop the books, use them with my students, and revise them as needed. I applied for my first copyright in 1996. The set expanded from 20 to 28, to the present set of 40 books. The books are now spiral bound photocopies with colourful cardstock covers. Kristine Gore, April 2020
Minibooks can be described as:
- A series of 40 spiral-bound small books, in four sets, RED, BLUE, PURPLE and GREEN, spanning concepts from beginning primers to Level Two
- A Mini-Lending Library, from which teachers can lend out book by book.
- Self-teaching (minimum of teacher talking, giving instructions, etc.)
- Actual Sight Reading from the beginning, with built-in success.
- One small step at a time
- Patterns only at first (less predictable)
- Patterns are related to the pages before and after
- Minimum amount on each page = pages turn quickly = feeling of achievement
- No instructions on the page
- No finger numbers at first
- No meter at first
- No pictures or visual distractions
- Large notes
- Eyes remain on page
- Large volume of material at same level
- Companion to existing primers (most primers begin in Middle C Position)
- GREEN BOOKSs introduce a global, total staff,non-position approach with The Staff Trick.