When you are learning to read notes from piano sheet music it is important to understand what a note is first.
A note is a sign on a page or sheet of music ( either single pages or in book form ) to indicate what its name is eg A, B, D; what key to press in order to create that sound and how long to play that sound for eg 1, 2, 4 counts or beats.
When you are reading notes from piano sheet music you are looking at the 'signs' written on the page and working out what the note name is eg B, F, what the note length is eg 4, 1 count and what the correct key is to press on the piano. You are also learning to read and play notes with the right hand when you see the treble clef and notes with the left hand when you see the bass clef.
What The Note Name Is
Notes in music are given the names of the first seven letters of the alphabet A B C D E F G plus their flattened and sharpened forms. Do not worry about the latter at the present. So to determine what note name is given to the note sign written on the sheet music take a look below at a way to help you remember.
This May Help You Remember
Notes are divided into two main types or groups - line notes and space notes.
Line Notes are notes written on the lines of the stave
Space Notes are notes written between the lines of the stave
There are little sayings to help you remember the notes.
Start from the lowest word ( below marked *) and work your way up.
The first letter of each word is the musical note name.
The exception is the treble clef space notes where the letters from the lowest note upwards spell a word.
Treble Clef: Every Good Boy Deserves Fruit
E very *
Bass clef: Good Boys Deserve Fruit Always
G ood *
Treble Clef: F A C E
Bass Clef: All Cows Eat Grass
A ll *
You can make up your own sayings to help you remember line notes and space notes. When I was teaching a young boy these, he suggested for the treble clef line notes that 'Every Good Boy Deserves Fudge'. I said that 'Every Good Boy Deserves Fruit' is the healthy alternative!
Learning To Read The Notes and Press The Correct Piano Key
The lesson example below gives you 5 steps in learning the notes F G A B middle C (RH + LH ) D E F G, where a new note in each hand is added on each step. Step 1 could be 1 lesson, step 2 another lesson etc. however you could take 5 lessons to master one of the steps. Just go at a pace to suit you. Use the information on line and space notes to help you.
step 1: RH - C LH - C
step 2: RH - D LH - B
step 3: RH - E LH - A
step 4: RH - F LH - G
step 5: RH - G LH - F
C = middle C - RH= RIGHT HAND - LH=LEFT HAND
You would learn to read and play the notes, step by step and with each progressive step you would play exercises and pieces using the new notes of the step plus the notes learnt in previous steps.
Teachers, Tutor Books and Online Courses may vary in the order of learning to read notes.
Sometimes you learn C,D,E,F,G from the right hand middle C and left hand from the C 8 white keys or 1 octave lower.
At each step you would:
1. Get used to interpreting note names from the sheet music and transferring it to a played sound on the piano by pressing the indicated key.
2. You would interpret the note lengths and work at getting the counting correct.
This information on the introduction to reading notes from piano sheet music is a great start to learning to play the piano.