View Full Version : Reading music patterns on the piano

11-12-2017, 03:33 PM
Hello, I'm new to the forum, and we're asked to contribute helpful information. Here are some suggestions to reading music on the piano. First: learn to play simple tunes by ear with chords. That way, you will get to know the way the keyboard LOOKS. When you read music, look for patterns. Two of the most common are scales, scale fragments, and arpeggios. I was originally taught to read one note at a time. This is not the way to be a good reader. Just think -- it's easy to read three notes in a chord, up and down the keyboard in an arpeggio, rather than reading one note at a time in a passage. Any musical person can play by ear. There are those who say it will impede your ability to read music, but the opposite is true. Just as children learn to read AFTER they learn to express themselves and understand their native tongue, it makes sense to learn basic music language before learning to read. I play classical piano, and also traditional tunes on the mandolin. I learned to play mandolin by ear, and then piano by ear at the age of 30-something. I was a natural ear player as a child, but my teacher stopped me from playing by ear. But it didn't stop me from relearning to play by ear later in life. I hope you know the basic children's songs in your native culture. Those are what to start with, in ear playing with chords in the left hand. It may be a fairly long process, but it's worth it. Play rhythmically. I used the I and V chords in the key of C to begin (C and G) in the root position, playing 4 beats of C, 4 beats of G. Use a metronome to keep steady. If you "smash" notes, just go on to the next beat and don't self-correct for the perfect accuracy, but play at a slow enough speed that you are mostly accurate. Some people find this easy. I found that it took a weeks and months. But the freedom and delight of playing by ear AND the ability to read music patterns is worth every minute of practice. Let us know how you do!