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How to Successfully Introduce Note Reading to Students With Special Needs.

Updated: Mar 31, 2019

You are teaching a student whom you suspect has a learning difficulty or processing issues.

You are trying different approaches to reach to your student: rote playing, teaching scales and chords, improvising which is great.

However, after a period of time, If you don’t introduce note reading, playing by rote alone can be quite limiting for even your most talented student because:

  • Most classical music is too complicated to learn by rote.

  • Music theory explains the logic behind music and how it works.

  • Reading music gives your students a language to be able to share and communicate their own music and creation to the world.

  • Reading music makes it possible for your student to become professional, play in orchestras and excel in the musical world.

  • If your student doesn’t have a good ear and a natural talent, reading music may not be able to create the talent, but it will definitely open up a world of understanding and possibility otherwise not attainable.


In order to successfully teach your student with special needs how to read music notation and move your student beyond the limitation of rote playing. You need to have a plan…

You need to set the grounds and have a solid base if you want to guarantee success.

You need to check that you have the following basics secure:

  • Make sure that your student is able to use all 10 fingers on the piano to play a simple popular tune with a steady beat by rote.

  • Make sure that your student can find different keys easily on the piano. Practice on finding all C’s, D’s … until it becomes really easy.

  • Work with your student towards enabling him / her to eye track a simplified sheet of music that is written in alphabet form and not music notes while pressing the corresponding keys on the piano. Try The Easier Piano Book or any other similar book.