All Cows Eat Grass

musical notes

Every good boy deserves fruit.

Good burritos don’t fall apart.


Most of you will know EXACTLY what I am referencing here.

If you were trained as a musician in the last 30 years, then this is most likely how you learned to read music.

If you are a musician, trained recently, and don’t know what I’m talking about, then I have to say that I am glad for you.

Because this is not how to learn, or to teach, reading music.

“WHAT?! But it worked for me!!”

your instant reaction

I know, I know and hear me out.

Why are we so obsessed with teaching concepts through metaphors and structures that have NOTHING to do with what they actually mean? Western staff notation is an inherently logical system, that we teach through acronyms that have no conceptual connection to it. Rather than learning the patterns of ‘space, line, space’ or even more importantly, the connection to the SOUND of an instrument, we learn an acronym.

And don’t even get me started on how difficult that is for our smallest students – I’ve already written about that enough!

The big problem is, you know how to read music. You’ve been reading music or years.

So my question to you is this: what process do you go through when you read music? Do you name each individual note? Or do you follow the patterns, and the rules of how it works?

My challenge to you is this: teach music the way you read it.

As a successful reader of music, your strategy works. I could offer more advice here, but at the end of the day, you are the expert. Read some music. Write down what you do. Explain that strategy to your students. It’s one more strategy that they didn’t have before!

There is a resource we have made just for this moment! Find it here. If you want to, you can buy the whole pack, catering to Years 1 through 6. If that’s not your speed, we have the ones tailored to other year levels available in the shop!

Feeling overwhelmed with the never-ending responsibilities of a music teacher? Us too! Go to our shop to find reasonably priced music education resources designed by experts to make your life easier.

This post was originally published October, 2021.

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