Reading Notes

Which Note Is Which?

Question: My main problem is identifying and remembering which note is which.

Is there any special way I could train my mind and brain to recognize the notes correctly, and to remember them all?

– Abigail (Portland, Oregon, USA)

Albert’s reply: Absolutely! Identifying notes is such a common problem that I developed a whole course on it, How to Read Sheet Music.

Most piano students struggle with learning to read music, and the reason is invariably that they try to take on too much at once. You’re actually in an advantageous position, because you’ve identified the exact problem. Most students try to read music at the keyboard without having first trained their eyes. Reading piano music involves a synthesis of several skills, all of which must be highly developed: recognizing notes on the staff at sight, finding those notes on the piano keyboard and doing so with the proper rhythm – with both hands simultaneously, no less.

It should be needless to say that attempting to perform the above tasks all at once will be overwhelming to most piano students. The key, then, is first to train the eyes to recognize all the pitches on the staves at sight. There should be no hesitation at all: Recognizing the note names on the treble and bass staves should be as immediate and effortless as spelling out the letters in your own name. Reading notes must come prior to sight reading.

If there is any hesitation whatsoever, you need to train your eyes before even attempting to read music at the piano. Until you do so, you will only continue to struggle, which will lead to frustration, false conclusions (“I guess I’m just not talented”) and even quitting piano.

The solution is really quite simple. I designed my course not only to give you in-depth professional knowledge about reading music, but also to enable you to improve dramatically with only a few minutes of focus each day. Each lesson builds upon the previous, and by the end of the course recognizing any note on either staff will be childishly simple for you. Then it will be time to try your hand(s) at sight reading!

I’d be honored to have you as a student and invite you to learn how to read sheet music today. You’ll be happy you made this very small investment.

If you do nothing else, at the very least open up random pages of music and practice reciting the note names. It’s a very disorganized approach and you’ll progress far slower than you will with a professional method for training the eyes, but at least it’s a step forward.

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