In the past, many musical rebels rejected reading sheet music. (Tori Amos, one of my all-time faves, is among them.) I mean, if you can just learn things by ear, why wouldn't you? And anyway, you can learn things by direct instruction, or by YouTube videos, or by (shudder) tabs. Right? Who needs to read music these days anyway?
Hey, guess what -- if you are going to be a great musician, it actually helps you to read music. If you are teaching kids music, you should teach them how to read music. It drives me up a wall that people will say things like "Do you even science, bro?" or get incredibly irritable over grammatical & spelling errors and then outright reject learning how to read music. A lot of people believe that music is just about a "feeling." It's not. It's an academic and technical skill that, yes, you can make it in without a formal academic background, but requires a great deal of study and personal scholarship anyway.
If you want to learn music, if you want to teach music, why would you deny yourself or any child all of the tools available to them? In the past, methodology and access have made it difficult to learn to read and study music.
Now, we live in the 21st century, and access is everywhere so long as you have an internet connection. This is where (my friend) Dr. David Asher Brown comes in. He has developed a full tutorial course, called PianoCub, to assist both adults and young people to learn to play piano. Having taught lessons and full ensemble classes for years, Dr. Brown has the experience and knowledge to create well-paced, easy-to-understand lessons for absolute beginners.
Sometimes, the barriers to entry for people who want to learn to read & play music are that they would prefer not to attend lessons or are unable to do so. Luckily, these PianoCub tutorials are easy to follow and can be completed anywhere you have an internet-connected device and a keyboard. Not only that, Dr. Brown's lessons are the most professionally structured and comprehensive of any that I've encountered online. In my opinion, this course is easier to follow, more personalized, more accessible, and less buggy than SmartMusic (not to mention less expensive).
And let's be totally honest. Most music teachers in public and private schools get stuck at some point teaching something they lack some expertise in. If you are a non-pianist teaching Class Piano, it would seem PianoCub is a godsend.
Reading music is important. That's why we still teach kids how to do it at the start of their musical training. It is a tool that can help open so many more creative doors over a lifetime. And Dr. Brown's tutorials are an excellent start for any beginners -- of any age.
PianoCub is just getting off the ground, and using Kickstarter as a means to do so. You can support these efforts here, and even get a demo video right off the bat.