ROTE TEACHING: WHEN IT WORKS, WHEN IT DOESN’T, FOR KEYBOARD STUDENTS
Rote approaches rely on having the student imitate the teacher. The teacher plays a phrase and then the student plays it. The advantage is, the student isn't distracted by having to read complex musical notations, and can focus his or her attention on simply producing the musical phrase. The beginning student can often learn to play complex, impressive sounding pieces within a relatively short period of time this way. But there are disadvantages, too. Students may only know certain pieces, those that were drilled. Nor can they learn pieces on their own without the teacher’s help, because music-reading skills weren't developed, when lesson time was spent simply imitating the teacher.