We’ve all been there, struggling to read sheet music and feeling like it’s just a jumble of random notes. But guess what? There’s a whole lot more to it than those individual notes, and I’m here to spill the beans in my latest YouTube video.
Want to make music reading less overwhelming? Curious about the secrets that can supercharge your skills? Well, you’re in luck! Check out my latest video and uncover the hidden gems that go WAY beyond deciphering notes on the page.
Let’s dive into the fascinating world of music reading and reveal the tips and tricks that can transform your approach.
Let me know in the comments what you think!
Happy practicing! 🎹
So many people tell me that they cannot read music, or they tell me that reading music is the reason why they never learned the piano. Many people claim this statement that they can just not read it and therefore they just give up and don’t try at all, ever. But I’m here to tell you that yes, sight-reading is hard, but there are ways to make it easier. I think sight-reading is hard too, but just don’t be one of those people that gives up immediately. Today, I’m going to show you some tips that might surprise you on how to really read music a lot faster. And if you’d like more videos on how to go from zero to playing your favorite songs on the piano in months, not years, I highly recommend hitting the bell and the subscribe button because I post new videos every week.
And yeah, if you’re one of those people that says that they cannot read music and therefore they cannot learn the piano, I highly recommend watching my free training. In this training, I’m going to show you the exact steps that I take my students through that helps them go from zero to playing their favorite songs in months, not years. The link is in the description below.
My first tip is to just stop using regular sheet music. What I do when I’m teaching is I actually start my students off by reading lead sheets. So you might be asking, “What the heck is a lead sheet?” A lead sheet is when we just have the right-hand melody. And you see these chord symbols right here, that is what our left-hand plays. So we’re not reading the bass clef at all. We’re just reading the treble clef and playing the chords in our left hand. This is what pop and jazz pianists do all the time. And with lead sheets, you’re able to jazz up the song in your own way and be a lot more creative with it than you would with reading sheet music where it says treble clef and bass clef, right hand and left hand, and you have to play it exactly how it’s written. So step one, just cut out other types of sheet music. Play lead sheets. I also have another video on how to actually read the individual notes on the treble clef. Much easier. So I would definitely watch this video and check it out.
All right, so the first thing you really want to do, but before you start even reading the sheet music, is look around and find repeating patterns. So I’m going to do that with this Beatles song right here. If I look right here, here is a first pattern. It’s very similar, repeating over and over. And then it’s pretty similar here. And it’s similar here. So it’s not the exact same, but you could call it a pattern that is repeating over and over. And then more in the melody, you can hear it as well. Here’s another pattern repeating. Repeat. Repeat. So go through the music and find those patterns because if you think that way, it’s going to really help kind of put them in little chunks in your brain.
All right, this next one is really important, and even if you’re advanced, you have to do this. So it’s not just a beginner thing. We all go through our music and we think about, “Okay, where am I going to put my hands? What are the right fingerings?” So I’m going to show you an example of how I go through that. So I’m going to start off looking at the very beginning here. I have a D and I’m looking and I’m like, “Oh, okay, I’m moving down.” So that means I’m going to use finger five, my pinky, because I’m going to need to move down and get to the other notes easily. So it wouldn’t work if I use my thumb. Then I don’t have any fingers to take me down here. So use finger five.
Now I see that I’m going to need to move up because I’m going to move up just one note to E-flat because I need to get to the other notes. So I’m going to move up. This pattern repeats, like I said. I’m going to move up one note again because I’m going to need those notes. Then I’m going to move up with finger three to F for the Des-mond here, because you can see I’m going to need fingers moving down and up. Now you notice, “Oh, oh, I need to move.” So what you could do is you can move finger three. You’re going to cross your hand over, put three.
So when you’re picking out the right fingerings, you’re just going to look ahead a little bit and think about where you’re going to need to be so that playing’s easier. Think about how many fingers you have and write it in. Write it in. Use a pencil. Pencils are great. Use a pencil, write in the fingerings. Before I share my last tip, let me know in the comments what is your biggest struggle with reading music? Let me know.
My last tip is really huge, and it is learn your chords really dang well. This is going to help you so much because not only when you’re reading the music and you’re thinking about these repeating patterns, you can also read the music and think, “Oh, I’m just playing a C major chord here.” Or, “Oh, I’m just playing an A major chord here.” That kind of helps you get all those notes in your head a lot faster.
So I’ll show you an example. Let’s say I didn’t have a lead sheet, but I wanted to play this song. So I found a different version of this Beatles song and it’s in a different key. But if I look at it, I’m thinking, “What chord is this? Ah, this is just D major.” And then I can move on to the next one. “Okay, I know these notes. That’s just A major,” and so on. It really helps you read music a lot faster and it’s going to help you be a lot more creative when you’re playing. If you know what chords you’re playing, you can be like, “Oh, I can jazz it up and I can just play C major moving up,” or whatever you want to do. Knowing your chords is so important.
Honestly, I think all of these tips are really important and it’s just key to playing and reading sheet music so much faster. This is why in my online program I take my students through a process that has them learning the chords first. They learn the chords really well, and even from this part they’re able to play a lot of songs just from the chord progressions. Then I teach them how to jazz up those chord progressions. And then in the final phase of the program, I show them how to read those lead sheets. And it all comes together nicely because once they’re at the lead sheet section, they know those chords really well, they know how to improvise, and then they can put it all together and be a wonderful pianist.
So if you’d like to know more about that process, I highly recommend watching my free training. It’s going to show you the exact steps that I take my students through to get through that process in a lot more detail than what I just said. So the link to that free training is in the description below. Before we go, be sure to like and subscribe if this video helped you, and I will see you next time.