Today’s post is Interval Circles, a worksheet for older students to identify intervals from unison to octaves. I mentioned last week that I needed more interval worksheets, so I am following through!
This worksheet gives students practice in how musicians see and read intervals in a score. Not all students are born good music readers and some struggle with it for years, despite our best efforts. However, most poor readers can improve with a lot of practice in reading intervals.
I teach reading by intervals, yet in the last several months I’ve noticed a student struggle with reading. I realized that he was trying to identify individual notes as he played. In hindsight, I believe it came from worksheets, of all things! He made a gold medal on the state theory test because he had very diligently done all his theory homework. He would very carefully double-check all his work by counting up from guide notes on every single example. But somehow that transferred over to sight-reading and I saw him counting lines and spaces of each note he played to make sure it was correct!
We had a little talk and I told him that while it is very important to know all the notes, when he is reading music at the piano he doesn’t have time to think of the names of all the notes as he plays. It is much faster to read by intervals. He tested it out while I pointed with my nifty telescope pointer and it was amazing how well he was able to read.
Sometimes we don’t know what causes students to have a set back, so it was very rewarding to realize the most likely cause of this.
Getting back to today’s Interval Circles worksheet, it covers unison and 8va intervals going up and down. It will also help students who sometimes get confused over the direction the intervals move, thinking when the stem goes down, the note goes down. Yes, I’ve seen that, too!
If you have a student having trouble with reading, try Notey Noteheads, free cards from my website. I left the stems off so students with learning difficulties can focus on the note head. There is even a parent’s guide to help students practice at home.