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#1922705 - 07/04/12 05:59 PM Trouble MEMORIZING notes
Brookelea Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 07/04/12
Posts: 2
I just found this forum and think I'm going to like it here. I am an adult, a really young 65 year old woman. I started lessons on drum set and timpani about nine months ago. About two months ago my instructor started teaching me marimba. At first it was a "monkey-see-monkey-do" method, but for the last month we have been working on actually reading music. My problem?? I understand all he is teaching me - the staffs, intervals, note values and other notation. I can recite all the acronyms - FACE, EGBDF, GBDFA, ACGDAEB, I can figure out a note on the staff and find it on the keyboard, etc., etc. Heck, I can even create a harmonic and melodic minor. I can figure out where every note goes on both base and treble clef. But I just can't MEMORIZE the notes on the staff. I can only find them. I've used flash cards, TEORIA, apps on my android. But there is a big hole in the bottom of my memory and everything just falls out!!! I should be able to read notes as easily as I read a book, but it just isn't happening. I'm not talking sight reading here - I can't just pick up a piece of music and look at the notes and read them off the page. HELP!!! How can I fix this big problem so I can move on to actually playing music??? I'm getting so frustrated. If I can learn to memorize note positions on the staffs I think I'll be off and running. Any ideas or suggestions??? Thank you.

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#1922725 - 07/04/12 06:23 PM Re: Trouble MEMORIZING notes [Re: Brookelea]
j&j Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/24/09
Posts: 445
Loc: Southwest

Don't get discouraged. It just takes time and practice. There are quite a few books for adults that will slowly teach you to see the note on the scale and play it on the keyboard without actually "finding it". There's a big jump that we take from knowing all the letters in the alphabet, and then being able to read words quickly. That same process happens when we learn to read music. As adults, it takes longer to make that jump, but it will happen.

I like the Alfred's Adult Series but there's quite a selection and many people on the Adult Beginner's Forum that can make recommendations. Congratulations on all you've learned so far. You must be having a blast!
J & J
Yahama C3 PE
Casio Privia PX-330
"Inspiration exists, but it has to find you working." Pablo Picasso

#1922784 - 07/04/12 10:07 PM Re: Trouble MEMORIZING notes [Re: Brookelea]
Sand Tiger Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/25/12
Posts: 1339
Loc: Southern California
Welcome to the ABF Brookelea.

As with all things for beginner beginners, start small. Perhaps look for very easy pieces of music with three or four different notes. Start by learning those three or four notes, and then expand slowly.

If you are using flash cards, apps and other learning tools, you'll get there. Just break things into smaller pieces. Go slower. Refer to the cards or apps or notes, if need be.

Some beginners work with a long piece of cardboard or laminated paper. It has the staffs with all the notes on it, and put that on the music stand or over the keys. The ones placed over the keys usually have the letters line up with the corresponding white key. If you think that will help you, you can make your own with a pen or printer and some card stock.

Everyone has to start where they are. Some things that come easily to others, might be a struggle for me. I can find a way, or find a way around.
my piano uploads

#1923200 - 07/05/12 10:31 PM Re: Trouble MEMORIZING notes [Re: Brookelea]
Peter K. Mose Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/06/12
Posts: 1943
Loc: Toronto, Ontario
Originally Posted By: Brookelea
I can figure out a note on the staff and find it on the keyboard....But I just can't MEMORIZE the notes on the staff. I can only find them.

Brooklea, as the other respondents have said, you're doing just fine! Just keep playing and keep reading. It is all coalescing for you. Welcome to the forum!

Peter (teacher of adult beginners)

#1923216 - 07/05/12 11:11 PM Re: Trouble MEMORIZING notes [Re: Brookelea]
Brookelea Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 07/04/12
Posts: 2
Thank you everyone. Tiger, I've never seen the "cheat sheet" thingy for notes, only to identify the keys on the piano. Where can I find one?? It might help.

I am using flash cards. I have a set in my purse, several cards in my pocket, and a set in my car so when I'm driving I just grab a card and quickly look and figure out what note it is. I also have a program on my laptop as well as one on my Android to use.

Part of my problem is I had/have really severe depression. About 5 years ago I had lots of ECT (Electric Shock). It really affects the memory part of your brain. Oh well, I'll keep trying. Thankzzz, Brooke

#1923254 - 07/06/12 02:46 AM Re: Trouble MEMORIZING notes [Re: Brookelea]
Sand Tiger Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/25/12
Posts: 1339
Loc: Southern California
I found a basic one at:


If you don't care for that version, you can do a Google image search on "piano notes on staff" and find lots more.
my piano uploads


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