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What are the advantages of teaching pattern-based repertoire? I am concerned that my student will not learn how to read.

There are many benefits to using pattern-based repertoire in your teaching. Two large benefits stand out are these:

(1) Your student can learn pattern-based pieces more quickly than other repertoire. Typically, this type of literature enables your student to perform at a higher level because the student’s playing is not limited by his/her ability to decode all of the notes and musical symbols on the fly.

The result is that your student can experience the joy of playing meaningful pieces much more quickly, and the student becomes much more motivated to practice.

(2) Pattern-based pieces need not be taught entirely by rote. In fact, they provide a secondary approach to learning how to read.

The patterns themselves provide an opportunity to involve the student in an analysis of the music and the planning of a strategy for learning to play it. The act of identifying the patterns, landmark notes, hand placements, and intervals are crucial skills that underly the ability to read music fluently.

In short, when learning pattern-based pieces, your student is taking a “macro” approach to reading the music.

Of course the most effective approach to teaching reading involves a balance of pattern-based repertoire with more methodical approaches.