The Importance of Reading Music Notation

The Importance of Reading Music Notation

Being able to read music is one of the most essential elements in early musical development. We often hear different approaches in introducing music to students. It is believed that learning music is like learning a new language and should be first introduced aurally by listening and imitating. Shortly thereafter, reading takes place in the same way a first grader learns to read and comprehend words. Regardless if music lessons are for fun or for serious learners, reading music notation should be done along the way in mastering an instrument.

Reading can be frustrating and tricky for some students. Sometimes the notes may seem to be cluttered and written closely on the same line or space, hence some notes can be easily missed and forgotten. Therefore practice will help to enhance your reading proficiency.

A common mistake we have seen students make is writing the letter names under each note. Yes, it is very helpful at the moment during the practice, but it will not be helpful in the long run. Students are not training their eyes to identify the notes correctly. It does take some practice to read music fluently, especially for instruments that require two different clefs. This can be challenging but at the end, if you are able to memorize the correct notes on the correct lines or spaces, it will speed up the reading process when learning a new song. After all, this common practice will make a student feel accomplished and encourage them to be independent in their learning.

Another option to make reading easier for students is to try playing each hand separately as slow as it needs to be. By going slow, students can make sure the notes are being read exactly as it is written before practicing both hands together.


– Maria Crystalia, Piano Instructor 

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