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How To Read Music

How to read music: To be able to read music is an important aspect of learning to play the piano, and it’s not as difficult as it comes across at first glance.
Though many would argue that sight-reading is not a must to be able to play the piano, I would say that there are many advantages to learning it.

Besides, it is not very difficult to understand the basics of written music, with some practice you should be able to do well.
You can also refer to the piano lessons pages on this site for more information.
Here are some suggestions on how to read piano music.
Notes on the StaffLearn to recognize the notes on the staff. The notes on the lines and the spaces (both treble as well as bass) can be remembered with the help of mnemonics. Learn those mnemonics; it will help you to recognize the notes immediately while playing.
Both clefs togetherLearn to see the notes from both the clefs together as you play. Initially you may learn a piece one clef at a time if you find it difficult to play both the clefs together, but it would be a good habit to develop, to be able to play notes from both the clefs together.
Look aheadYou will need to constantly look ahead if you want continuity while playing, this is the secret of how to read music. This is a habit that you will need to develop else you will have to constantly pause till you eyes fall on the next set of notes.
Learn the patternsLearn the duration of the various types of notes/rests. Learn to recognize the patterns that are formed when tied notes, eighth or sixteenth notes are involved. The patterns will help you to play the correct timings for the notes that are involved.
Slow the tempoWhen you start attempting a song, you need not play at the tempo that is specified. Learn the song at a tempo that you are comfortable with and then speed up the tempo.
There are some excellent piano learning software programs that will help you get started on the piano; these include a combination of books, audio, and video lessons which means you can learn piano from the comfort of your own home.
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Piano Fingering

Correct Piano Fingering is an important aspect of piano technique. It is important that you learn to use the correct fingers right from the beginning.

Piano fingering basically means the correct use of your fingers while playing the piano!

Using the correct fingering is an important aspect of learning the piano. It is more of technique so it is important that you do it the correct way right from the beginning.

  • Why is it Important?
  • If you take any simple song, once you know the notes of the song, you can play it even without knowing the correct fingering.

    You can use any fingers you like and as long as you maintain the correct time/tempo you will think that you have done a good job. But it will work only for very simple songs!

    The moment you pick up something which needs more than beginner level skills, you will struggle to play the notes if you do not follow the correct piano fingering.

    To be able to play smoothly and at the correct tempo, you will have to use your fingers in the correct sequence. Without correct fingering, your fingers just cannot fly on the keys!

  • Basics of Piano Fingering
  • If you pick up any instruction book for Piano, you will notice numbers (1 to 5) placed around the notes. The numbers basically indicate the fingers that you are supposed to use to play those notes.

    Irrespective of whether it is the right or the left hand, the thumb is numbered as 1, then comes your 2nd, 3rd, and 4th fingers and finally your little finger, which is numbered as 5.

    So the next time you see those numbers around the notes, I hope you will remember and use the correct fingers.

  • How to Improve?
  • The only way you can improve is by following it in the first place!

    Whenever you are playing any song from a book, make sure you follow the fingering which is given there. The more songs you play from any book, the more you will come across different fingering sequences.

    Besides this, you can also practice major/minor scales using the correct fingering. All this will give you confidence and you will be able to use the correct fingering when you play any song from ear/memory.

    You will be able to play difficult passages/sequences with ease and once you have the confidence you can even tweak the fingering to suit your playing.

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