Note reading

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Music Theory Exams By: Please log in to see tutor details
Subject: Music Theory Exams
Last updated: 03/09/2017
Tags: fun music theory, intervals, note-reading, piano playing

Many students struggle with note reading, which can really hamper their development as a musician. In the first instance, many depend on their ear or muscle memory. These are great things to develop, but neglecting the note-reading aspect of music making will hinder their progress in the long run, and will especially affect the sight-reading aspect of exams.

All of my school-aged students study some music theory in their lessons. It may not feature in every lesson, but there are some great series out there that makes it a lot more interesting for children, with exercises including stickers, colouring and puzzles. Here are some of the series I like to use:

Theory Made Easy for little children 

Music Theory for young children

Music Theory for young musicians


Just a little work on these can really help with the note reading, but it definitely helps to do some different activities on the instruments to help develop the reading, such as:

* Find all of one type of note, such as C

* Play all the treble clef space notes and say their names (F-A-C-E is a helpful tip)

* Play all the bass clef line notes and say their names (Great - Big - Doughnuts - From - America also helps)

* Create words and play them on the instrument (bad, egg, face, babe, cafe, decade, cabbage etc)

* Say the note on the flash card

* Play the note on the flash card

* Play the note on the flash card in the rhythm on another card

* Create intervals on your instrument based on the note on the flash card

* Play easy duets with the teacher/a sibling

Finally, one of the ways I improved my sight-reading was to just play and play and play. I got a huge Disney book that was a little too difficult for me, and I just kept trying to learn the notes as I loved the music so much. I wanted to play all the pieces in the book, so it would have been impossible to memorise all of them! 

I'm sure many other teachers have fantastic techniques to help, but I know these have helped my students and I hope they can help you too.

Gwenllian Llyr Harp Teacher (Bromley)

About The Author

I'm a friendly musician from Swansea with a wealth of teaching and performing experience. I truly enjoy teaching and helping others develop their love for music and the harp.

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