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    Reading Music

    I know I'm gonna get raked over the coals for this, but what is the secret to learning to read music? (pay attention prolly is one)
    Especially when you don't like it, but love music and in particular the piano and organ.

    I guess if there are any dumb questions, this is a whopper
    Thanks and cheers to all.

    well, I think, only secret is passion
    Just start with simple pieces, for example here...

    And you will need to learn some basics about music theory...
    And just keep practicing...
    Martin Pivka - liturgical organist from Slovakia / Považská Bystrica


      I meet lots of people who play quite well but clam they can't read music. I'm not all that great either, but I make lots of notes and mark key chords and lots of other notes for fingering and expression. At the end of learning the piece I need to print off new sheets to be "presentable"


        Start simple, plenty of patience, lots of practice. I always write annotations in pencil so I can erase them when they aren't necessary. I used to write a lot more notes before than I do now. Don't expect to be good right away. If it were easy everyone would be doing it. Again, lots of patience and practice.
        When I become dictator, those who preach intolerance will not be tolerated.


          I have to admitt I'm a little nervous about lesson #1

          I don't know how these musicians sit there and finger the piano with the left hand and chord and finger with the right, get the feet going,read the music and count all at the same time

          I find it very intimidating to say the least.
          If I have to repeat that (Ode To Joy) to many times I think I might go balistic, or somin

          Real good advice people thank you! I'll give it my best shot.
          Lesson# 1 goes at 8:00pm Saturday.
          Picked up a beginners book that I think the teacher might throw out.

          It's full of Mary Had A Little Lamb and all that good stuff lol


            Have a read of this:


            It comes from a Hauptwerk Forum thread, here:

            My MIDI controlled, module and software driven virtual 'organ' thread is here:


              I live a few doors from a piano teacher. Apart from scales, I hear this every day from her students:


              Hammond M-102 #21000.
              Leslie 147 #F7453 in the queue.
              Hammond S-6 #72421


                Learning to read music is just the same as learning to read whatever language you speak. The marks on the page are just indications of what it should sound like. When you see the letters "m-u-s-i-c", you think "music" and you can even hear the word in your head; that's how reading music will be. So take the same steps. Learn simple things. Start with single lines, and a few notes at a time. Music includes information about pitch [which note it is], duration [how long to hold it], and other things like volume or accents or touch. Those will all come in time.

                Reading music is a great skill. Don't ever worry about starting to learn 'late', no matter how old you are. The sooner you start, the more time you give yourself to learn. There are some good beginner books, and a teacher can help you work your way through.

                Enjoy learning!! and let us know how you're doing.


                  Just read all the comments to your question which isn't 'dumb'. I agree with all that has been said in the way of advice, and would also like to take it further: Sight reading.
                  A lot of students I have met over time have been scared of this. Why? Fear or making mistakes, and feeling inferior to other players, who seem to breeze through any piece.
                  This is down to confidence.
                  Back in the day when I first took piano lessons my teacher, a brilliant concert pianist, gave me this advice. When playing a piece for the first time, play it through and don't worry about any mistakes.
                  How often do you hear someone learning a piece make a mistake and start from the beginning again, make another in a different place and start all over again. By playing it through you'll get a feel for the piece and note where the difficult passages are which can be practised individually later.
                  I believe reading music and sight reading go hand in hand. Just have confidence, don't worry about any mistakes, as with practice these can be reduced or eliminated, and sight reading a new piece frequently improves your reading of music and as with all things as you improve so your mistakes will lessen.
                  Above all else though, ENJOY YOUR PLAYING, after all that's what it's about.


                    To follow up on Mac's advice... I almost always give my students short-term or one-week 'studies.' These are nothing more than pieces [or portions of pieces - sometimes only 4 or 8 measures] that are a couple grade levels easier than where they are at. They get one week to learn as much as they can. The pieces are easy enough that the students aren't devoting all their time to learning the notes; they are easy enough that already in the learning process, they can incorporate dynamics and phrasing, memorization, and all the other things that they usually don't have the time to work on in the beginning stages of learning a piece.

                    After a week of practice, they play it for me. I ask what made it easy or hard, what made it interesting, and what they would do next if they had it one more week. It's a great learning experience, all around.
                    Last edited by regeron; 03-19-2011, 11:10 AM. Reason: text addition


                      If you want to read music all it takes is dedication and patients. I was taught at an early age beginning at age 6. I taught it for a living untill I retired. The problem with teaching adults is they get too anxious and choke up. I also play by ear and prefer playing that way. It is also hard teaching someone who plays by ear to read music. When you start learning to read keep in mind to stay relaxed, try to keep from getting anxious and be patient. Oh and by the way I learned piano first.


                        Originally posted by Jazzer View Post
                        If you want to read music all it takes is dedication and patience
                        Unless you are dyslexic like me. I took piano lessons for 2 years and memorized everything. I do know where Middle C is on sheet music.
                        1956 M3, 51 Leslie Young Chang spinet, Korg Krome and Kronos


                          Thank you for the feedback folks, I do appreciate it.
                          Had the first lesson today and I have to say I'm a bit overwhelmed. A whole new language is being taught
                          I was able to grasp some but really not as much as I would have liked to.
                          So it's on with the practice, practice, practice.

                          Jazzer you are right I'm already choking up and I wish I could find a cure for that.
                          Too late for me to turn back the clock,but I really wanna do this.

                          I do find the reading music part boring but I think it is the best way.
                          I wish I could encourage myself a little more.

                          I've got 7 days to see if I can grasp it . If at the end of that I have'nt, I become a loser again (just being honest)
                          Cheers and regards


                            Originally posted by jdoc View Post
                            Unless you are dyslexic like me. I took piano lessons for 2 years and memorized everything. I do know where Middle C is on sheet music.
                            Actually, I have taught many people with dyslexia and most have managed very well. It isn't the barrier you might initially think, though of course that won't apply to everyone.

                            Wanabee, whatever you do, DO NOT set a time limit for things!!!! It's not a race. My old music teacher instilled that into me and I do so with all my students. If you are choking, it may be that you are being fed too much in one go, so tell your teacher and insist they slow down. A good teacher will (should) sense how their students are faring, eveing from lesson one, and teach pro-actively as well as reacting to what the student does.

                            Get your teacher to set you small, achievable targets. When you reach those targets, however small, the feel good factor kicks in and that starts to build your confidence.
                            It's not what you play. It's not how you play. It's the fact that you're playing that counts.

                            New website now live -

                            Current organ: Roland Atelier AT900 Platinum Edition
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                              I do indeed have dyslexia probably had it all of my life (self diagnosis).
                              One problem I may have also is that I'm too quick to agree to agree.

                              Because some one says this is the way it should be done, doesn't mean that I can do it.
                              That part of course is up to me with help,if that makes any sence.
                              I believe I have a very good teacher, but still feel overwhelmed.
                              Having said that, I hope I don't let my age stand in the way of pride.
                              By that I mean overcomming the intimidation of asking him why I'm not grasping something as quick as the seven year old beginner student has.

                              This is a great forum full of great people and I am honoured to be a small part of it.
                              Thank you.
                              BTW; after the lesson which lasted one and one half hrs.,he played Beethovens 5th for me.
                              To me, it was beautiful and masterful.

                              I left the house with my head up my crotch not nowing wheather to be happy or dissgusted with myself