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BOOKS

What is Dots and Beams?

Dots and Beams creates music reading material for all instruments and ability levels.

These reading materials are perfect for sight-reading practice, but that's not the only thing they're good for.

 

Their unique design also allows the exercises to be reused and recontextualized for use with many exercises and for many learning goals.

 

Who ARE THEY for?

The Dots and Beams books are for:

Musicians and teachers who want a structured way to practice and teach sight-reading.

Creative musicians who like inventing new exercises for their students or their own practice.

Musicians who want to develop their ability to

think in every key.

Musicians who want creative ways to drill theory concepts on their instrument.

People who want to develop their sense of rhythm.

 

How is this different?

Many books of sight-reading materials are simply a collection of easy compositions.

After you or your student read the exercise the first time, you are no longer practicing sight-reading, you are now learning a piece of music.

As a sight-reading exercise, books of easy compositions are one-time-use.

The Dots and Beams reading material

is designed to be neutral, flexible, and

difficult to memorize.

 

They let the user change the context and learning goal of the material, allowing for dozens of uses of the same exercise!

 

What makes it neutral?

Standard compositions outline specific structures like chord progressions, cadences, and repeated rhythmic motifs.

As a result they're locked in a specific tonal structure and often provide limited rhythmic variety.

Dots and Beams exercises don't follow any specific harmonic or rhythmic pattern.

 

Structure and benefits

Melodically these exercises resemble typical melodies but they don't emphasize any particular harmonic structure. Because of this, they can be used in any key.

Rhythmically they draw randomly from a collection of rhythmic groupings that is carefully selected for each difficulty level.

 

These exercises can't be predicted and are extremely difficult to memorize. The reader must understand what they're reading in order to play the exercise.

Additionally the user can change the context of the exercises by changing the key signature or layering on a new challenge.

As a result, all exercises can be played dozens of times while still retaining an element of challenge.

 

Pitch Only

Focus just on note-reading without having to keep up with the rhythm.

Practice reading in treble clef or bass clef.

Gain comfort with ledger lines above and below the staff.

Diatonic exercises help you practice reading notes in any key signature.

Chromatic exercises help you practice reading accidentals.

Rhythm Only

Practice rhythm-reading without worrying about hitting the right notes.

10 difficulty levels that are thoughtfully graduated.

Exercises in 6 time signatures in compound time and simple time.

Practice reading ties at all difficulty levels and in all 6 time signatures.

Develop rhythmic accuracy as well as a strong sense of time.

Pitch And Rhythm

Combine note-reading and rhythm-reading.

Practice reading in treble clef or bass clef.

Diatonic exercises that can be played in any key signature.

9 difficulty levels that match the Rhythm Only difficulty levels.

Exercises in 6 time signatures in compound time and simple time.

Develop rhythmic accuracy and note accuracy at the same time.

How do I use THEM?

The idea is to treat these reading materials as building blocks that can be used to build a variety of exercises to develop many musical skills.

I've used them to work on note reading, scales, key signatures, chord qualities, chord inversions, chords within each key, coordination, rhythm reading, comprehension and accuracy, and much more.

To give you a sense of the types of exercises that can be created around these books I've started a list of exercises that you can use in your practice. I also encourage you to discover your own ways to use these books.

If you discover a way to use these books that hasn't been mentioned let me know! It may be beneficial to other musicians.

Follow Dots and Beams on social media and YouTube to see demonstrations and discussions of practice ideas.

 

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© 2020 by Nathan Petitpas, Dots and Beams

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