Sight Reading Tips for Beginners (and Advanced Players!)

One of the most enjoyable moments about learning an instrument is learning to play pieces and songs that you enjoy, be it an already existing pieces or a piece that you composed!  One of the earliest skills we learn as musicians is how to read sheet music.  Here are some tips to make reading music simple and effortless!

  1. FACE + ACEG
    All musical notes and rhythms are written on the Musical Staff.  The staff has four spaces and five lines where we can write notes, as well as uses ledger lines for notes above and below.  Most often, teachers will teach their students about the names of notes in the spaces.  

For instruments that read in treble clef, starting on the bottom space, the notes spell out FACE:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For instruments that read in bass clef, starting on the bottom space, the notes spell out ACEG.  A common way to remember these spaces is All Cows Eat Grass:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Take a look space to space.  Notice how each space skips a letter (for example in treble clef: F first space, A second space)? Because of this, we can say that the note on the line between those spaces is a G!
Using this method above, you should be able to discover what all of the notes on the staff are!  Speaking of the notes on the staff….


2. Read the notes of the piece before you play it

When you pick up a new piece of music that you’ve never seen before, there can be a lot of notes and passages that you may be unfamiliar with.  Before you even start to play the instrument, take a minute to look through the piece.  Look through the piece for indicators (key signatures, time signature, etc)

Happy reading!
-John

The Piano Workshop