Now, before we begin with all the black dots and notes, there is one very important, and indeed vital thing to remember. A point that will allow you to relax, absorb information with ease, and learn almost subconsciously - and that point is - do NOT be frightened by the music on the page!
This might seem a very obvious and simple thing to take into account, but fear of the notes on the page, how complicated it all seems at first, and what a 'mystery' reading music surely is is by far the biggest hurdle the majority of newcomers find themselves having to overcome. Folks new to reading music will look at a page of notes and it will look as friendly and simple as if it were written in a foreign language - and this immediate impression fills them dread at how long it will take to understand any of it! But relax - the beginning stages of learning to read music is nowhere near as complicated as you think- so as I say, do NOT be frightened at what you see. Within a very short time it will begin to make a lot of sense.
Your brain needs to be in a state where it can absorb information without it feeling like hard work - and if you are apprehensive and worried at the very start, you will only make the learning process harder for your self.
So are you relaxed? Good. Before we get on to the basics, here are a few motivational tips that are proved methods of helping you to take in information such that you will end up processing it subconsciously. By using these simple but effective techniques, you will end up reading music with the same flow as if you were reading the words in this article. At first you might find you are reading a few musical syllables at a time - as you might when you learned to read - 'mus-ic-al' for example, taking time to work out what's going on with the notes, but quickly those musical syllables will join-up and your reading will flow!
OK, not he most exciting form of learning in the world, but the simple fact is it works. Even mental practise, rather than physical practise is a case of repetition. The more you read over something, but taking it in, ensuring you mull over the points made, again and again, visualising it in your head, the more it will stay in that brain - most of you will have revised for exams, and it's much the same thing - BUT - take your time. Do not cram. Read small sections, and really take them in, concentrate on that small piece of information and let it settle in the brain. You'll start to ease it in to the subconscious quite easily this way.
By splitting down specific subjects, particularity in music, say for example, particular notes, the signs for different keys, different ways to write chords and so on, you can learn their value and meaning very easily. But do this by using prompt cards. Write down in large print, notes and their names, key signatures and so on, on one card each. Stack them in a pack, and turn each over one at a time. Concentrate of what you see, focus on its exact detail and meaning, take a mental snapshot of that card. Then move on to the next. When you are ready, cover up the name of the note, or the time signature, or whatever information you are learning and see practise recognising and naming the information on each card without help. You will find that this is a very fast way of learning.
3. Put By Time.
Do not over do it. You will get frustrated, tired and bored if you go at it too hard. Put by just ten minutes a day but no more than twenty. Most people can find this small amount of time each day, without disrupting other parts of their lives, and it means you get a good, regular session of learning. Another factor that is important in retaining your learning. Small amount often will have far more benefits than a four hour cram on a Sunday! So next, we set off on that journey - the basics of musical 'grammar' - what all those dots and notes mean!