Training Wheels for Playing Music
Are kids who want to learn to ride a bicycle wasting their time by starting with training wheels? With them, a kid can learn how to properly sit on the bike, hold the handlebars, pedal, brake, turn, look out for obstacles in the path, and ring the bell. All of this without having the challenge of learning at the same time the hardest part: balancing on two wheels. So a kid can enjoy riding just as much as the other kids who have taken their training wheels off. Eventually, however, peer pressure will force a kid to take off the training wheels, but at that point all the focus is just on learning to balance.
The training wheels of playing music is WYSIWYP simplified notation. New students of the piano can learn how to properly position themselves on the piano bench, how to hold their hands and fingers over the keys, how to find notes on the keyboard, and how to press and release the keys. A student can thus become comfortable playing the piano with the simplified notation before taking the plunge to learn traditional notation. Then at that point the student can focus just on that without the stress of trying to learn everything at the same time.
As demonstrated by the Test Drive, a student can learn how to read WYSIWYP notation in an hour or less. A small investment that hopefully pays for itself in faster learning of the music playing basics.
Taking off the training wheels
If WYSIWYP is successful, it will inspire some students of music to want to pursue their musical interests to a higher level. Today to be a "mainstream" musician, one will have to learn to read traditional notation. Hopefully, having learned with the WYSIWYP approach will make it easier to learn than starting from scratch. This is because it retains several elements in common with traditional notation:
octaves based on the 7 note (diatonic) scale
noteheads define note onset
real-time playing adjustments for sharps and flats
In addition, the plan is that the WYSIWYP app, SNapp, will provide a step by step transition for the student. This means restoring the traditional notation stepwise in the following order:
restore the traditional notation treble and bass staves
restore key signatures
restore traditional notation for rhythm
Each step is a challenge, but this step by step approach may be easier than going "whole hog" with no transition.
On the other hand, there may be those who simply want to enjoy playing music without the added stress of reading traditional notation. For example, retirees who want to take up playing music for the first time in their lives may prefer to just stay with WYSIWYP.
Do all beginners need training wheels?
No. Some kids just have a natural skill for learning everything needed to ride a bike all at once. But some kids do. The same concept applies to learning to read sheet music. Those beginning students that can manage to learn to read music and play it at the same time have no need to use WYSIWYP.