The Phonics of Music

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Joy Notes Music - Testimonials

I am writing this as an open letter in order to endorse Joyce Piper's "Joy•Notes in Action" method of teaching piano.

As a child I took piano lessons - I was taught letter names for the notes and also to play hands separately. I couldn't understand the insistence on letter names, they certainly didn't appear anywhere in the written music, and I found being taught hands separately confusing. After three years I gave up lessons in frustration.

Now nearly 40 years later I'm back taking piano lessons from Joyce Piper, using her Joy•Notes method. Not having to identify notes by letter names makes it so much easier to read music. One needless step is eliminated. All I need to know is where the note is on the keyboard, not what its name is. Eventually of course one does get to know the letter names of the notes but the relief I felt when I discovered it was not necessary in order to read the music, was indescribable.

Playing hands together is more logical to me - after all that is how the music is written. Back in the bad old days when I was taught hands separately and then tried to put them together, things got missed out - I produced muddle instead of melody.

I find that Joyce's way of teaching patterns has really helped my playing. When I look for a key signature and sight read a new piece my fingers seem to know where to go. I don't have to read each note and try to remember every sharp or flat. My fingers know. My eyes know. My ears know. My brain knows.

I am writing from the point of view of a mature student and a relative beginner. Although I have a long journey ahead of me, I am enjoying every step of the way, and I know that if I practice hard using the Joy•Notes method I shall be able, eventually, to read and play any music I wish. I know this for a fact for my three children have been taught by Joyce and one of the greatest pleasures of my life has been listening to them play.
Yours sincerely,
Jane McKay
Surrey, BC

I had a couple of reluctant parents. They wanted their children to learn the "traditional way" of playing the piano. I lent them the tape Joy Notes In Action and explained why I was changing my methods. I also made it clear that this method was the traditional way of learning piano - it just ensured that the student learned using visual, auditorial, and kinesthetic senses, and didn't leave anything up to chance.

I know you've gone on and added to Joy Notes In Action and am looking forward to receiving your course for homeschoolers. By the way, we are homeschooling our kids. What a wonderful resource this will be for parents who want to give their children an excellent music education.
Dawne Krause, piano teacher in Dewberry, AB

Once my 8-year-old is ready to move on to Book 1, I plan to begin using the Primer with my 6-year-old. Another one of the advantages of Joy Notes is that it can be adapted to each individual child's level of maturity and ability.

I have found Joy Notes to be a curriculum which produces tangible results with reasonable advance preparation and is a pleasure to use. I highly recommend the Joy Notes experience!
Susan McQuay - Kitchener, Ontario

"Joy Notes is a much simpler method of learning. As an adult learner, I find myself looking for complexity where it doesn't exist. Through your methods of learning from errors, your patience, and your contagious love of music, my appreciation for music and my desire to learn have been rekindled." Susan Wayne - Kitchener, Ontario

JoyNotes is the best curriculum for teaching basic instruction. It is the only curriculum available for use by non-musician parents. Joyce's approach doesn't rely on all those complicated terms and tricks most of us had to deal with, but has a fresh approach incorporating visual, auditory, and hands on involvement.
Bill Waring, BA (Educ)
Masters of Music in Conducting

A friend introduced me to Joyce's method of teaching, and I was keen to try. Utilizing the patterns of keys broken down into groups enabled me to begin to understand how music was constructed and to obtain mastery over the various scales. Because the theory was broken down into manageable chunks which I could practice, I quickly began to see results in reading new music with the help of Joyce's concept of translating the staff onto the keys... Altogether it has helped feed my enjoyment of practice and to see results in my music.
Heather Miller

Thank you for taking the pain away each time I picked up a new piece to play. Your unique method of reading music and understanding patterns made me view the piano in a different light. I truly believe that this is the phonics of music you are teaching. I am no longer confused by note letter identification and hand position. Your style is simple yet still effective.
Wanda Post
V.P. Administration R.T.I.

"What relief when I discovered how to read music as its own language!  I am now more confident in my own abilty." 
Adult Student  

"This approach has revolutionized my enjoyment of music............the acute awareness of patterns allows me to visualize the relationships.  Reading music has become an ezciting adventure!"
Adult Student

  "Very satisfying - I spend more time now at the piano than ever!  There must be many other students who have experienced the frustration I have, who could be finding more enjoyment learning!"
Student

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