Well, it’s actually a lot easier than most people realise!
When you first look at a sheet of music it’s easy to think that it’s way beyond comprehension and impossible to learn. But once you are taken through the basic explanation of what each note means, where it’s written on the music and where it’s located on the piano keys; then it can start to make sense very quickly.
Most people can learn to read music at a basic level within an hour. The hardest part is then being able to locate the notes on the piano at a fairly quick pace, but this would come in time the more you read music, and this doesn’t matter to begin with. As long as you can identify the letter name of each note on the music, and then find it on the piano, then you can read music. It’s all about creating reference points for yourself so you can find the notes, and then slowly but surely you will begin to find the notes without thinking.
For this tutorial we are only going to look at the treble clef, or G clef as it’s also sometimes called. First of all, let’s look at the keys of a piano and understand what each of the white notes are –
You will see above that the first 7 letters of the alphabet are repeated over and over which I’ve indicated with a bracket. So this makes it easy to identify each white note as all you have to do is follow the alphabet up to G, and then it just repeats again starting back at A. So we have A, B, C, D, E, F, G, A, B, C, D… and so on.
You’ll notice that I’ve marked one of the C’s in the colour red. The reason for this is that I wanted to indicate this note as the ‘middle C’. This is our first point of reference to help you find the notes on the piano. On a piano you will find that there are two black notes followed by three black notes, and so on. You will notice that the note C sits directly to the left of the two black notes. So the C is easy to find and is a great point of reference to locate the other notes. To find the ‘middle C’ as indicated above in red, all you have to do is look for the two black notes that sit the closest to the middle of the piano keys, and the middle of the piano itself.
Now that you know where the middle C is on the piano, and what the rest of the white notes are, we can begin to look at the music and figure out where the notes sit on the sheet music or music score.
First of all let’s look at the music and understand what some of the basic signs are called and what they mean.
Now, you may hopefully have seen this before. This is called a stave or staff, and represents the five lines and four spaces that we use to write the notes on –
This is the treble clef or G clef that sits on the stave or staff –
The reason why this is called a treble or sometimes G clef is that the curl of this sign sits on or around the note G. Here is the treble clef again below only this time I’ve added a note which sits on G to show you –
It’s now time to see all of the notes that sit on the five lines and four spaces, and what they are called –
Here is where they are on the piano –
The easiest way to remember the five notes that sit on the fives lines is by memorising the following sentence –
‘Every Good Boy Deserves Football’
Remembering the four notes that sit on the fours spaces is even easier as it’s the word ‘FACE’.
The last two notes for us to look at are the ‘middle C’ and the D (which is the next note up from C). Here’s how they look on the stave –
You will notice that the D sits directly below the first line of the stave (E note), and the C sits just below that and has a small line across the note. The reason for this is that it’s not feasible to have more than five lines for the entire stave as it would be too difficult to look at, so when the notes go either above or below the stave then a line is drawn through the note to indicate additional lines. For example, if we were to go down further below the middle C onto the notes B and A, then it would look like this –
Finally, let’s look at the full score of all the notes we have looked at so far along with these notes written out on the piano keys –