Note Reading 101- Combining Systems

In previous blogs, I’ve mentioned all kinds of ways to read notes, by using rhymes, memorization, landmarks, intervals, and pattern identification.


Which is best? That really depends on the student. When I ask them, most young pianists tell me they prefer a combination of knowing landmarks and figuring out intervals. This makes sense. By starting with a note or two they know well, then calculating the distance to the next note, etc., they can soon analyze and play an entire song.


I followed these same methods last year when I learned “Claire de Lune” by Debussy for our upcoming classical recital. I referenced all the extremely high notes by starting with the landmark high C, two lines above the staff. Then it was up a 5th, down an octave, and so on.


Rhymes and memorization can also be extremely helpful. And identifying patterns saves time. 


So why not use all or most of these tools when reading music?