Learning to read music can be slow, boring, and frustrating. Most young students become fluent in reading the right hand notes long before they are equally fluent in the left hand notes. The frustrations of learning to read music can take the fun out of learning new pieces, and can really slow the whole process of piano playing down.
Luckily there are new technologies that can really streamline this process. There are many cell phone and tablet apps that teach music reading, and provide fun and effective practice. Many of these feel like playing a game, they remind me of games like guitar hero. At the time of writing this my favorite is called music tutor. This app shows you the notes on the staff and you have to play them correctly on the onscreen keyboard to progress through the game.
These apps come with huge levels of customization, allowing people all all levels to progress with their reading skills. You can set it to just the spaces of the right hand, or you can add accidentals, or ledger lines. You can even add much more complex things such as C clefs.
I didn’t really see the value of these apps until I gave one of them to a young student who came back the next week totally fluent in reading music; something which used to take months now can be done in days.
Reading music is a vital skill. It allows you to play anything ever written. It allows you to write down your own musical ideas and compositions. It used to be something that took weeks to learn, and months to perfect. Now it can be learned in a matter of minutes and days.