Breaking the Rules of Engraving

Music notation has problems.

One of my frustrations with standard notation is the way that the beaming of eighth notes (quavers) sets up students to see things in groups. Seeing things in groups is lovely, but can cause a student to make rhythmic assumptions that are incorrect. 


This passage appears in Last Day of Summer from Attention Grabbers Book 2.

Last Day of Summer two line jpeg.jpg

The layout is absolutely as clear as I could make it. But my adult student, Jeanne, was stopping at every bar line. 

She was playing this:

Last Day of Summer in 4:4.jpg

I took a direct, practical approach. I eliminated the visual distractions that were causing her to stop. I connected the beams across the bar lines, and used my white out to eliminate the bar lines.

This particular example is pretty messy, but it didn't seem to matter. As soon as she played from the "altered" score, her rhythmic problems disappeared. She played this sweet tune in 6/8 completely in time. 

I'm not suggesting that it isn't worthwhile to learn to read the "regular" score. Of course one has to figure that out at some point.

In the meantime, there is nothing wrong with modification.

In all of my Attention Grabber pieces I've simplified the layout. I've changed stem directions and put pick-ups on the line with the phrase where they belong.

But even in MY books, there are things that aren't visually obvious. The notation we take for granted is not visually clear to many people.

Grab your white-out and make the score easier for your student to comprehend.

 I love making the score the look like what it's supposed to sound like. Even when that means breaking the "rules of engraving. "





This is my favorite brand of white-out tape. It is fairly thin and can be used to white-out a single fingering or bar line.