Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Explore Rote Teaching

Rote teaching has always been a debatable subject to me, partly because of my personal learning experience and the other is that I had quite a few transferring students who were taught by rote could play such advanced pieces but not so good at reading. 

However, in recent years, especially after admitting students who are visually impaired or have a visual learning disability, I started to attend workshops hosted by rote teaching experts and incorporate quasi-rote in my teaching. Here are few benefits that I like:
  • Majority of the rote music was composed and known as "pattern music" such as playing groups of black keys that appear easier to play than reading. This particular trait allows beginner students to experience more "fancy sound" and the full sonority of the keyboard, hence, help to develop physical comfort on the piano in addition to the traditional five-finger position. 
  • These more "fancier pieces" serve a good motivation and are appealing to students for recital choices. 
  • You can discover music that can be easily i.d. by "patterns" and teach it by rote.
  • Many of the rote teaching music incorporates theory concept like the use of perfect 5th as repetitive patterns.
  • Some rote teaching methods include notes reading and rhythmic counting instructions. Visit the links below for details.
Here are some reputable resources that inspire and help me to start. Although I am a firm believer in drilling reading and counting, sometimes, it is fun to experiment beyond notation as long as we keep our students in check. I also find a couple of my favorite RCM pieces that can be taught by quasi-rote and I will inlcue those in the following post! 

Have fun in experimenting!!

Piano Safari by Katherine Fishers and Julie Knerr

Little Gems for Piano by Paula Dreyer (her primer level is a supplemental book to Irina Gorin's Tales of a Musical Journey)

Repertoire by Rote by Dennis Alexander and Amy Greer - African Adventure and Holiday Rote and Reading Pieces by Wendy Stevens (she has composed some cool pieces that can be easily taught by rote)


  1. I am constantly browsing online for ideas that can benefit me. Thanks!
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  2. It is interesting to read your blog post and I am going to share it with my friends.aybabg