Tim Topham, internationally recognized leader in music education and founder of Top Music, joins the show to talk about his approach to delay method books and reading in order to focus on creativity and musicality first! Tim says, “Why don’t we leave the method books alone for a few weeks and do improvisation, creativity, musicality, and skill training first, before we introduce reading? I’m not against method books at all. They are a brilliant, structured, scaffolded way to teach students to read music. But is that the thing to do in lesson one? And my answer would be a very strong “no!”

Our discussion includes what do to at the first lesson, what students should do at home, how to involve parents, and when to introduce the method book. One of the main benefits of delaying method books is students gaining skills such as improvisation, playing by ear, and an understanding of basic harmony early in the process. As teachers, we can avoid the future challenges of trying to incorporate these skills later. We also discuss how students are motivated to continue lessons longer since they are more engaged in these opening lessons!

Be sure to check out Tim’s new book, No Book Beginners, which is a handbook for teachers, giving them not just the confidence to try this approach, but practical tools to guide them through the process including:

  • Lesson plans
  • Backing tracks
  • Videos of Tim teaching the first 5 lessons
  • Sheet music for teachers
  • And more!

No Book Beginners: https://topmusic.co/book

Creative Teaching Conference: https://creativeteachingconference.com/

Watch video version