How to Read Sheet Music

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Picture this:

It’s Christmas Eve at your grandparents’ house, and of course someone (your mom) mentioned that you are a musician. There you sit, in the middle of a circle of cousins, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and close family friends, your instrument resting beneath your itching fingertips.

They look at you with expectation, so you take a deep breath, and begin to play your grandpa’s favorite Christmas Carol. Some mumbling happens as everyone warms up to the idea of singing along, but once your dad’s bass voice bellows out, they all join in. Even the little ones who don’t know the words!

The moment is peaceful and full of joy. For that moment, everyone is focused on the same thing: the music and the message of togetherness it brings.

And you’re the one making this moment peace and presence happen. You bring everyone together.

That’s what it means to be a musician.

That’s what it means to be able to play hundreds of years’ worth of music just from little dots on a page.

The clear goal of this course is to teach you how to read sheet music!

This includes everything from the staff itself to notes, rhythms, clefs, time signatures, and so many more expressive symbols. It may feel like a lot to memorize (because it is!), but it makes sense that it’s a little complicated to capture something as elusive as music.

So many inspirational quotes from great authors remind us that music is something intangible, yet it’s able to move us. Some might say it’s magic.

Music notation makes me feel connected; that’s part of its magic for me. It connects me to cultures and composers from hundreds of years ago. I’m able to look at a piece of paper and play music that people listened to back before they had electricity and plumbing. It’s exciting to be a part of that.

Yet, learning how to read sheet music can be so difficult.

Often, teachers just go through flashcards with students. It’s a way of brute-forcing the knowledge into their heads.

Flashcards, themselves, aren’t a bad thing at all. I use them all the time!

But what’s missing with this approach is the logic that ties elements of notation together.

One of the main principles of skilled memory theory (people with insane memories!) is that a piece of information has to be meaningful in order for our brains to encode it. That information must connect to other concepts that are already filed away in our memories and to concepts we’re learning simultaneously.

The second goal of this course is to teach you some of the logic behind music notation.

We’ll explore notation systems from other cultures and from history and note the similarities between them.

When we understand what causes these similarities, it makes it way easier (and frankly more interesting) to learn how to read sheet music.

Why would I want to learn how to read sheet music?

A lot of musicians today get along great with tabs (which we’ll talk about!), chord charts, or just by ear. What’s the big deal with sheet music?

The ability to write sounds down on a page serves multiple functions.

  • It helps us communicate with other musicians more clearly
  • It changes the way our brain thinks about music
  • It gives us vocabulary to talk about music

So whether you’re playing an instrument for the first time, wanting to delve deeper into an instrument you’ve played for a while, or you’re interested in exploring what it is about music that makes us feel the way it does, learning to read sheet music of any kind gives us the ability to do all of these.

If you’re happy with where you’re at as a musician, then you certainly don’t need to learn to read sheet music.

But if you want to have hundreds of years of music available for you to play instantly with your own hands, the ability to communicate your own musical ideas with others, and a greater understanding of how humans perceive music, then reading sheet music and especially learning the logic behind it is for you.

What’s included?

For the incredible price of…free, you get:

  • 10 video lessons
  • Interactive illustrations that you can save to your Google Drive
  • Pdf downloads of worksheets and charts
  • Infinite practice exercises
  • Access to the course forum where you can ask questions and chat with other people taking the course

You can also see the course outline below.

Ready to get started?

I’m excited you’re interested in deepening your knowledge of music through learning how to read sheet music.

As I continue to learn too, I feel more and more connected to a community of musicians, music lovers, and somehow…humanity.

Music is a magic that can change the world. It starts by connecting us.

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