Resistance To Reading Music Is Age Based
Resistance to reading music is age based. The younger you are, the more trouble you will have learning to read music. This causes kids a lot of stress. There are obvious exceptions. For the average child reading music is very difficult since it requires the use of numerous abstract mental skills.
The child may only be acquiring these skills, or may not even have started acquiring them yet. Reading music requires coordination of the brain hemispheres that younger kids may not have developed.
Barely Ready For Reading Music
Asking some kids to read music is a physical impossibility. It doesn't matter what method you use. Their brains aren't ready. One notices that a child of ten may grasp the rudiments of reading music in only a few minutes, whereas a child of five may take years of careful preparation to become comfortable reading the notes.
Why Not Just Wait?
This brings up the question, “Why even bother to teach the younger kids to read music? Why not just wait until they are older?” In a way the questioner above is correct. Teaching younger children to read music is very difficult. And using reading music as the only activity within the lesson is a recipe for frustration and boredom.
The answer is that the younger the child, the smaller the part of the lesson that deals with reading music should be. I think a proportion of four parts fun to one part reading music is suitable. You may dilute more if necessary. A proportion of four to one seems right. You may find kids who like to read music, in which case increase the reading portion a little.
Reading Music Requires Basic Skills
With the youngest children, you’ll find that the “reading music” portion of the lesson becomes a remedial course. Concepts such as left/right, up/down and other basic abstract ideas are explored and solidified.
The reason for this is that you are courting total disaster teaching reading music to a child who is unsure of left/right, and up/down. You need to teach the “precursor skills” in the abstract before you add reading music.
At the piano, up is to the right, and down is to the left. It may seem a small task to you, but to five year old it is often overwhelming. This is before you have added the complexities of sheet music into the mix. To a ten year old these concepts are not difficult.
But there are other immediate hurdles that present themselves at every level of learning the piano. The point is to not put the impossible hurdles right at the beginning of piano lessons, especially with younger kids. Any child who has difficulty with reading music has not been properly prepared. Start with abstract musical fun and piano games.