One of the biggest challenges you may experience when starting your new instrument is learning how to read music. It does look daunting at first, but once you get the basics covered, it gets easier the more you practice. Here are some tips on how to grasp the concepts of reading music, and why the skills are good to learn!
When you first start to learn how to read music, one of the best ways is to take a few notes at a time. Don’t push yourself to start with, and just focus on getting the notes correct. You may have heard music teachers say the phrase “Every Good Boy Deserves Fudge”. Don’t worry: they are not mad! In fact, this is one of the most important phrases you will ever need in music theory. You will find that the notes after the treble clef are E, G, B, D and F; that phrase is a brilliant way of remembering them! The same technique is used for the bass clef, except for the notes being “G, B, D, F, A”. I personally use the phrase “Great Big Dog Frightens Auntie”. You can make your own up though of course!
Another way I found to help me start reading music was by using flashcards. It may sound childish, but it is a quick and fun way to learn the notes! Even if you only go through them for 10 minutes a day, eventually you will see an improvement and it will help you with your music (especially sight reading!) You can easily find them online, and so all you need to do is print them off and then get practicing! This is a brilliant technique that will really help your music notation skills!
Believe it or not, scales are also a good way to get used to the notes. You may think that this is more for your fingers and not your sight-reading skills, but what if you combine the two? Having the notation for a scale gives you a large section of notes in order, so you can play the scale and match it up to the music. Once you feel a bit more confident, you could start playing the scale from different points, and see if you can figure out where you are on the sheet music. There are lots of different ways you could do this, which would all add to your musical notation knowledge!
Once you feel more confident with your music reading, try playing a piece without looking at your hands! This may be difficult at first, but that’s okay! Knowing how your instrument feels is very important, and when playing a piece for the first time, your eyes will more than likely be focused on the music rather than your fingers!
With all these tips in mind, you should be able to easily start the process of reading music. It does take time, so don’t get annoyed with yourself if you struggle at first! If you keep practicing, you can only get better!!