The use of colour notation – watch video

Notes are printed in five different colours. Each colour relates to a specific finger. For example, a red note is always played by the thumb.

Very young children are much more familiar with colour than they are with letters or numbers. They respond instantly to the idea that each finger is represented by a particular colour.

When learning to read conventional notation many children become overwhelmed by the complexity of what they are learning. They will frequently close their minds to the learning because they feel bombarded by too much information. They will often learn their own strategies for dealing with new music; many will depend on an excellent musical memory, others will depend upon finger numbers or letter names, others will rely on trial and error and many will depend strongly upon help from an adult.

By using coloured notation, note reading becomes simple and effortless. Following the music becomes the first strategy rather than the last resort. By genuinely following the music the child manages to absorb the basic principles of notation. Because sight-reading is so much easier the child can attempt more pieces each week. Practising at home is less taxing; therefore further increasing the amount of time spent actively reading the music.

When errors are made the child is much more likely to realise what is wrong and be able to correct the note. When the hands move to new positions the colours give a feeling of security and confidence. When sharps and flats are used the colour helps to act as a reminder. The change to conventional notation is introduced gradually throughout the books. Children are very aware that this is what they are working towards and actually look forward to progressing on to music without colour. By the time they have reached this stage they are confident enough with their playing and with the general understanding of so many elements of notation such as time values, the use of clefs, staves and accidentals that they are very receptive to the challenge of dealing with notes without colour.

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