A lot of us dreamed of becoming a pianist at one point in our lives — however, the thought of spending long hours learning note-reading put us off. But if you are set on pursuing this dream, it’s time to look at things from a different perspective. Learning notes is inevitable when you want to master the skill of playing piano, but the task doesn’t necessarily have to be boring. It will take some time before you master how to read notes, but with constant exercise, you will be able to learn these things on your own.
If you follow these steps carefully, it will not be long before you finally play your first solo piano piece!
1. Be familiar with notes
At first glance, music notes will look intimidating, just like how the letters of the alphabet appeared when you were still learning them. Notes are the ABCs to music, so study them in the same manner that you learned your alphabet – through curiosity and constant practice.
Music notes are marked using the letters A to G. On your piano, the note found at the center of the staff is called the Middle C. In a grand staff, the high pitch notes are located at the top while the low pitch notes are located at the bottom. Often, the high notes are played using the right hand.
2. Familiarize yourself with the piano keys
The black keys on your piano are marked as # (sharp) and ♭. The Middle C is the white key located to the left of the black keys that are grouped in two.
3. Practice the solmization
Do-Re-Mi is a show tune popularized by the classic film “The Sound of Music.” It’s an effective way of familiarizing yourself with notes and musical scales. Remember to start playing at Middle C, which is your “Do.”
4. Play an easy piece
Once you’ve mastered the Do-Re-Mi, you can now try your hand in playing a real song. An easy one would be Jingle Bells. The 4/4 written on the music sheet above means the song requires a 4/4 beat for every bar.
5. Notes and Measure
There’s a designated measure for each type of note. Measure refers to how long you should press on a particular key. A whole note has four beats (one and two and three and four), a half note has two beats (one and 2 and), while a quarter note only has one beat ( one and).
6. Play the notes in succession
The music sheet above shows three E notes in the first measure. The first two are quarter notes while the third is a half note. Practice playing these notes, slowly at first until you master playing them in succession.
7. Review the steps and rehearse
Go over the six steps and keep practicing until you can skillfully play Jingle Bells. Once you have mastered reading notes and measures and are familiar with the piano keys, you can proceed with other songs.