What's up with the 3rd graders?

Another week of vision therapy insights. My vision therapist, Jared Torgerson with Alderwood Vision Therapy is a sport for answering my questions during our sessions.

He's mentioned several times that they get a lot of patients in their offices when they enter 3rd grade. What's up with that? Have you ever noticed students start to struggle when they get up to Level 2- Level 3? In reading books, that's when the pictures go away, the text gets smaller, and there is more of it on the page. 

For piano students, when students leave the primer levels, something similar happens, notes get smaller, there is more two handed playing, a larger range of the keyboard is played, more key signatures are introduced, and the pieces are a little to long to memorize during a lesson. 

How do I use this?

  • Pay attention to head and eye movements. Students who struggle the most move their heads the most. At this level there is a lot more information.

  • Have a student read a short (3-4 measure) passage of music and count how many times the eyes move from the music to the hands and back.

  • Play the same passage for your student, and have your student count your eye movements.

  • What did you learn?

If your student's eye movements are significantly more than your own, repeat the exercise, but ask the student to move his eyes less. Count again and compare.

Lots of eye movement is really exhausting for a student. If this is what happens at a lesson, practice at home can be arduous. Assigning micro sections, even as small as 1-2 beats and have the student master them can be really helpful.

Happy Teaching :-)

Sarah Beatrice Lyngra