• Lesson

Beginning Reading Review

Reading Standard Notation

I really hope you've gotten a little familiar with reading notes thus far. Maybe you can't read music at first sight yet, but with a little effort you can piece it together. That's a great start.

Reading music will be a great asset in your development. As we move on, you will realize just how valuable it is. The patterns and musical structures revealed to you by standard notation will elevate your understanding of music and your creativity.

The main reason tab exists is because it is easy—there's nothing for you to learn. If tab were difficult, it would all but disappear.

Standard notation does not exist because it is easy—it exists because it reveals music to you, and it is an international language among musicians on all instruments. The silver lining is that reading music is also easy! It just takes doing it a little every day for a while. Be patient.

Here are the few concepts I want you to be comfortable with so far:

Key Signatures

Do you remember what a key signature is? Where is it written? What effect does it have on the notes written on the staff?

Time Signatures

Can you explain what a time signature is? What does the top number mean? What does the lower number mean?

Bass Clef Notes

Can you identify the note names of the bass clef? If not, use the bass clef trainer for a few minutes a day.

Rhythmic Notation

Can you write, by hand, all of your basic rhythmic note values? Whole notes, half notes, quarter notes, eighth notes, triplets, 16ths, etc. Are the stems on the correct side of the notehead?

Print some staff paper pdfs and practice writing music. Writing music helps with your ability to read music, too. Try writing music you know how to play. Try to picture what the notation would look like for a song you're listening to.

Put a little energy into it and you'll be reading in no time.

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