How to Read Piano Music

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The most complex part of learning the piano is reading the notes and then playing the note that you read. Here are tips to help you.

Things You'll Need

  • Piano
  • Keyboard
  • Reading music is crucial to playing and their is no shortcut. You can use flashcards and memorize the notes, but not know where the notes are on the piano. You can easily memorize keys on the piano, but not be able to read music.

    Reading Music:

    Look at the sheet music. The sheet music will be written on a Grand Staff. The top part of the Grand Staff is the Treble Clef (Right Hand) then there is a big white space OR words to the song and then the bottom part is the Bass Clef (Left Hand). Remember part above the lyrics is the treble clef, part below the lyrics is the bass clef. Notice that the top and bottom have black dots on the page with lines going up along side some of the black dots. Ignore the lines beside the black dots and concentrate on whether there is line going through the black dots. The black dots should either have a line running through it or no line running through meaning it is in a space.

  • Look at the picture and you will see a Grand Staff. The symbol on the top is called a Treble Clef (AKA G Clef). This is the one that you will read to play the notes for the right hand. The symbol on the bottom is called a Bass Clef (AKA F Clef). This is the one that you will read to play the left hand.

  • Now let's start with the Treble Clef. Starting at the first line (which would be the first line on the bottom of the 5 lines for the treble clef) going up you will see an E, the second line will be the G, then B, then, D and finally F. You can use the saying "Every Good Boy Does Fine." For the spaces, remember to work from the bottom up, you will see the letters f a c e. I use the saying "Space spells face".

  • Now let's look at the Bass Clef. Starting from the bottom up read the lines in the Bass Clef as G B D F A and the spaces in the Bass Clef are A C E G B

    To help you memorize them you can use the saying "Good Boys Do Fine Always" to remember the lines and "All Cows Eat Grass Bananas" to remember the spaces. The b (bananas) will be sitting on the very top line with no line going over the top of it.

  • For many remembering the "sayings" can be hard, so here is another way to do it. Start with the very first line for the bass. We are going to start there and go all the way up to the very top line of the treble clef. Follow along with the image to help you. It will be G for the first line on the bottom, go up to the space and it will be A, go up the the line it's B, keep going, alternating between line and space and it is, G, A, B, C, D, E, F, G, A, B. Now the white area with have the C. The C can be played with either the left hand or right hand. An easy way to recognize a C is to note that is sitting in the middle of the treble and bass and it has a horizontal line going through it. Now we continue towards the treble clef with the first note reading from the bottom upas the D, then E, F, G, A, B, C, D, E, F and the last one on the very top is G. Now you don't have to remember if the saying is Every Good Boy or Good Boys Do Fine, just use the musical alphabet instead.

  • Stop by PianoGeek.com to read and watch videos on playing the piano.

Tips & Warnings

  • So, every time you see a black dot (a note), figure out if it is on a line (meaning it will look as though a line is going right through the note or in a space (meaning you will see NO line going through it) then by using the line saying or the space saying you can find the name of the note.
  • Also, after looking at some sheet music, you may wonder why are some of the notes white and some or black. That is for counting purposes and does not change the note. Whether it is a black note on the line or a white note on the line, you are only concerned with what line it is.
  • AND some of the dots will have lines going along the side of them, this is also used for counting purposes and does not change the note.

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