Piano Teacher Tricks for Barline Hurdles

I just read a really neat blog post from fellow private piano instructor Diane Hidy titled “Breaking the Rules of Engraving“. Diane describes something we’ve all encountered: While playing a 6/8 piece, her student pauses at the barline, interrupting the fluidity of the piece. Diane’s clever solution is to use her pencil to beam the eighth notes over the barline so the student’s eyes (and fingers) continue smoothly, in time, to the next measure. This is absolutely brilliant, and a tip I will start using today.

Handwritten BeamOverBarline

If you’re a Finale user and you make custom stuff for your students, here’s how to beam over the barline: Enter your notes, select the area with the Selection tool, then apply the “Beam Over Barlines” plugin. From the plug-in menu, select the “Note Beam and Rest Editing > Patterson Plug-in Lite > Beam Over Barlines. In the below example, I also hid the two extra 8th note rests in each measure by typing “h” while they were selected in the Simple Entry tool.

Finale Beam over Barline

I’ll leave you with this last Finale tip: Bookmark the Finale Visual Index. Finale’s Visual Index is really helpful when you want to produce a notation result (like beaming over barlines) and you’re not sure what terms to search for in the Finale User Manual.

Do you have a creative solution to share with music educators? Leave a comment below.

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