Your one-stop guide to teaching musical literacy

During April we have been looking at musical literacy from lots of angles.

Today’s blog post is simply a round-up of all the different posts and videos we’ve put out there: a one-stop guide.


Back at the start of the month I questioned whether the use of mnemonics in learning to read notation was a helpful strategy or not.

This topic is always one we like to discuss and quite a debate ensued over on our Facebook page.


The question of mnemonics was quickly followed up by our video series SPARKLE: the 7 secrets to reading notation every music teacher should know.

S: sing
First there was S for Sing where you can find out why singing should be part of piano lessons, how to build your singing confidence and how to deal with pupils who struggle to sing. CLICK HERE

P: patterns
P is for Patterns which form such an important part of learning to read music notation. CLICK HERE

A: automatic
A stands for AUTOMATIC and three stages of learning are outlined. CLICK HERE

R: rote
R is for the often misunderstood ROTE. In this video Sally takes you through; the advantages of teaching some pieces by rote; the danger points to look out for; and how to teach a piece by rote.

K: knowledge
With K the attention turned to KNOWLEDGE where she explains the importance of building on previous musical knowledge CLICK HERE

L: landmark notes

E: enjoy
And E for ENJOY is the final video where you’ll find a couple of games you can use to reinforce note-reading. CLICK HERE

The whole series can be found over on The Curious Piano Teachers YouTube channel. There’s also a whole bunch of other stuff you might find useful. Head over there and check it out – if you subscribe you’ll be notified of all videos as they are posted.  CLICK HERE

We also have a FREE Teacher Workbook that accompanies this 8-part video series.


Our regular live Tuesday Teaching Tips on Facebook returned this week after the Easter break. Sally’s thoughts and insight into how some children see notes differently, for example looking at the top of a stem rather than the note head, has already proved highly popular.

Tuesday Teaching Tips with Sally – some common confusions with notation.

Posted by The Curious Piano Teachers on Tuesday, 24 April 2018


Being musically literate is so much more than just being able to read the notes. In this blog post Sally explored how we can continue working with more advanced students on their musical literacy through a sonata. CLICK HERE to read last week’s blog post.

As this is something you might want to return to several times, bookmark the page for easy reference!

This blog post was compiled by Dr Sally Cathcart, Co-Founder and Director of The Curious Piano Teachers

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