Learning To Read Music: Learning the notes on the Staff

I’ve started doing videos to help my friend Don learn how to read music. I’ve decided to add it to my website to allow people to read what I have talked about on the website (like a notebook for all of you). If you’d like to watch the video, it will be at the bottom of this post.

Finding C

The best way to start is to learn where ‘C’ is on both staffs. If you know this, then you have a way to either go up or down the scale to figure out what the note is. I’ve made this diagram to help:

All the locations for ‘C’ on the scale.

On the treble and bass clef, I put the one ‘C’ in blue because it is the same note which is called “Middle C’.

Once you know your C’s the next step is know which way to go along the scale.

When reading up the scale, the notes will be from C: D, E, F, G, A, B and then C.

When reading down the scale, the notes will be from C: B, A, G, F, E, D and then C.

Keeping these two things in mind will make it easy for you to go up and down the scale.

Added help, find the G’s at both ends

Another help is to know where G is on the upper and lower end of the staff. I chose G because it is pretty close to both ends. Let me show you:

‘G’ is at above the line at the top and on the line at the bottom.

I find this helpful as well because I can also use this as a reference point.

Best way to learn…

I know you don’t want to hear this, but the best way to learn is to find yourself an application on either your computer or phone that will work as flash cards and quiz you on note location. I have found the following ones for windows and android. I don’t have an apple device so if you find one and want to share, I will gladly add it to the post.

Windows: 1/4 Learn Sight Read Music Notes, this is the free limited version, you can pay for it if you are going to use it more. I found that this is a great application to practice reading and learning notes.

Android: Music Tutor (Sight Reading), this has a free and pay version. Works pretty much the same as the windows version. You are able to set up time limits to see how well you do, etc.

Now that you have a practice tool, use it 5 minutes a day. This will get you moving on getting better at sight reading.

Here’s the video from my YouTube channel:

Also, the PDF that I mentioned in the video: http://thempfproject.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/001-Locating-C-and-outer-G-notes.pdf

I’ll post another tutorial in about 2 weeks to allow this to sink in.