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#2026503 - 02/03/13 07:40 PM i am terrible at reading sheet music help
adak Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/27/12
Posts: 282
Loc: Canada
i have trouble reading and remembering the letters of the notes, can you give some advice and perhaps free books on how to improve? or also suggest books that cost money? (i dont really want to pay though, so free would be better)

(my exp is about 3/4 through of alfreds book 1)


Edited by adak (02/03/13 07:47 PM)
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#2026520 - 02/03/13 08:30 PM Re: i am terrible at reading sheet music help [Re: adak]
ju5t1n-h Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/13/12
Posts: 179
Loc: Vancouver, British Columbia
just keep working on the book you have, it eventually comes. You will never be a sight reading genius reading Alfreds books alone - it takes many years of recognising the patterns, the keys and the notes. Try reading this thread http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20120213153625AAwKTL8
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#2026529 - 02/03/13 09:04 PM Re: i am terrible at reading sheet music help [Re: adak]
chopinlover88 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 07/18/11
Posts: 14
I can understand your position.. I went from reciting monikers for every note to being able to sight read pretty decently in one year. I recommend using "A line a Day" series of sight reading books. You have to buy them but they are cheap, usually less than $5. I started with level 4. I think starting with level 3 would be the lowest someone should start only because it has both hands moving. Ive seen 1 and 2 and most of it is just one hand at a time, which depending on your ability to adapt, might not be a bad idea but I like jumping right in. I would do a few of these a day at the least and in the beginning just focus on making sure the notes are correct. You will get better and better and eventually be sight reading pretty well.

After this book my teacher suggested ABRSM grade 4. These are pretty good books as well but I think Line a day is better when you start out, to get your bearings better and piano awareness better.

Good luck!

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#2026532 - 02/03/13 09:10 PM Re: i am terrible at reading sheet music help [Re: adak]
Bluoh Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/20/11
Posts: 421
Loc: Canada
How are you remembering the notes right now? We can help you if there's something wrong with what you're doing (or something better).

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#2026540 - 02/03/13 09:19 PM Re: i am terrible at reading sheet music help [Re: adak]
adak Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/27/12
Posts: 282
Loc: Canada
i just run through EGBDF or GBDFA or FACE or AGEC. it does slow me down when playing a peice, even more if the notes are above or below the 10 lines.
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#2026547 - 02/03/13 09:32 PM Re: i am terrible at reading sheet music help [Re: adak]
PaperClip Online   content
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/21/09
Posts: 516
Loc: Amsterdam, Holland
Well, I learned the notes by an online free flash game. For a month each day 10 to 15 minutes. I hope the link still works. The site is in dutch, but the game is in english, I believe (sorry, can't check because I only have ipad, so no flash).

http://pianolessen.eu/pianotoetsen-muzieknoten-oefenen-online.html
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Playing since May 02 2009

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#2026552 - 02/03/13 09:51 PM Re: i am terrible at reading sheet music help [Re: adak]
hamlet cat Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/01/13
Posts: 103
Loc: Mojave Desert
Hi adak.

This is what helps me. For every piece that I am learning, once in a while I slow way down and say the notes in my head as I play them. When I do this it does not matter if my timing is off, the important thing is to recognize and say the note. I find this helps my ability to remember and speed up my recognition of the notes. This is usually done while playing hands separate. It does not need to be done all the time, a couple of times during each practice session for results. Give it a try.

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#2026605 - 02/03/13 11:59 PM Re: i am terrible at reading sheet music help [Re: adak]
Bobpickle Offline

Gold Supporter until July 10  2014


Registered: 05/24/12
Posts: 1383
Loc: Cameron Park, California
Brian Lucas's ebook is good; http://www.simplesightreading.com/

Really, if you know that there are 7 note names, know how to find each on the piano (use the black keys' repeating patterns to identify the white keys), and know where middle c is on the Grand Staff, you can slowly go up and down on the grand staff and identify each line or space as a white key based on relative positioning (memorizing where a couple c's fall on the staves make identifying surrounding pitches easy). Integrating the notation for black keys, or sharps and flats (accidentals, key signatures, scales, circle of fifths, etc.) is the tricky part.

Explore the 3 links under the topic "Learning to Read Music" in my thread below for great video tutorials: http://www.pianoworld.com/forum/ubbthreads.php/topics/1948785.html

Then just practice!
http://www.emusictheory.com/practice.html

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#2026646 - 02/04/13 02:17 AM Re: i am terrible at reading sheet music help [Re: adak]
floydthebarber71 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/07/12
Posts: 178
Loc: South Africa
I use an Android app called Sight Read Music Quiz 4 Piano. It's really neat for when I have spare time away from the piano, and it's practical since you have to touch the correct key on the keyboard corresponding to the note shown.

Oh, this is just for the speed at which you can recognise the notes, it's helping me as a first step.


Edited by floydthebarber71 (02/04/13 02:21 AM)
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#2026775 - 02/04/13 09:12 AM Re: i am terrible at reading sheet music help [Re: adak]
aTallGuyNH Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/22/12
Posts: 500
I highly recommend http://www.sightreadingpractice.com for note recognition. It has the benefit of taking you directly from the written note to the keyboard (including MIDI, although I haven't tried it) without the intermediary step of translating into the letter. It is completely free and has lots of settings to ramp up the level of difficulty (different key signatures, ledger lines, accidentals, and so on).

Also http://www.musictheory.net/exercises/ is pretty good for more varied exercises, including note recognition based on letter, but their equivalent of the above exercise is not nearly as good IMHO. A couple primary reasons are that the notes are not displayed on the Grand Staff, and also it does not display the entire keyboard. So you're jumping around instead of dealing with a fixed layout that simulates your real piano. Mine tends to stay in place and not jump around. smile
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"...when you do practice properly, it seems to take no time at all. Just do it right five times or so, and then stop." -- JimF

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#2027027 - 02/04/13 05:15 PM Re: i am terrible at reading sheet music help [Re: floydthebarber71]
JimF Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/08/09
Posts: 1677
Loc: south florida
Originally Posted By: floydthebarber71
I use an Android app called Sight Read Music Quiz 4 Piano. It's really neat for when I have spare time away from the piano, and it's practical since you have to touch the correct key on the keyboard corresponding to the note shown.



+1 thumb

There are at least a dozen note reading apps for iOS and android phones and tablets. Find a quiet 5 minutes a day, every day for a month, to drill and you will not have a problem recognizing the notes. ( ...ahem, the "library" makes an excellent spot to drill on your phone app)
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#2030198 - 02/10/13 01:09 AM Re: i am terrible at reading sheet music help [Re: adak]
MidnightSwooner Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 02/07/13
Posts: 13
Tagging so I can find this thread later...reading music was always something I struggled with, and w/my time away I can only imagine how much worse it's going to be.

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#2030227 - 02/10/13 02:35 AM Re: i am terrible at reading sheet music help [Re: MidnightSwooner]
Michael_99 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/28/12
Posts: 935
Loc: Canada Alberta
When you learn a piece it takes you days and weeks of reading the music and playing the piece over day after day, week after week and month after month. Because you will spend the rest of your life sitting on a piano bench playing your piano, you will be able to read the music, it just takes time and now that you are committed to learn to play the piano, it will all fall in to place as a committed hard working piano player. Welcome.

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#2030235 - 02/10/13 03:02 AM Re: i am terrible at reading sheet music help [Re: adak]
4evrBeginR Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/27/09
Posts: 1607
Loc: California
You are probably not terrible at it. You are using Alfred Book 1, so you are new to the piano, right? You haven't been playing the piano for 10 years and still can't read a darn, I'm guessing. So actually, you are not terrible at it, just new at it. Nothing to worry about. Just keep reading, slowly, and you'll get there.
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#2030908 - 02/11/13 02:35 AM Re: i am terrible at reading sheet music help [Re: aTallGuyNH]
Charles Cohen Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/26/12
Posts: 1183
Loc: Richmond, BC, Canada
Originally Posted By: aTallGuyNH
I highly recommend http://www.sightreadingpractice.com for note recognition. It has the benefit of taking you directly from the written note to the keyboard (including MIDI, although I haven't tried it) without the intermediary step of translating into the letter. It is completely free and has lots of settings to ramp up the level of difficulty (different key signatures, ledger lines, accidentals, and so on).


I suspect this is a very important point:

. . . You do _not_ want your brain to waste time translating
. . . from the note "on the staff" to a letter, to the note
. . . "on the keyboard".

An experienced sight-reader (who must also be an experienced pianist!) sees three notes on the bottom of the treble staff, and his hand -- without thinking-through the note names -- fingers an E-minor triad.

This ability takes _time_ to develop -- a whole lot of time! It involves recognizing the _patterns_ of notes on the staff, not just the individual pitches.

He's also reading _ahead of his playing_. When you read text out loud, if you want to sound good, your eyes will always be moving ahead of what your mouth is saying. the same with piano -- the eyes move ahead of the fingers.

That also takes _time_ to develop. [That skill is also used by people using Morse code.]

So do what you can, and keep practicing sight-reading, and things will fall into place. Don't expect quick results.

Brain pathways must develop through practice and repetition. It's more like learning a sport, than learning an academic discipline.

. charles

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