Note Reading 101- Landmarks

In addition to knowing rhymes to help identify notes on the staff, I also teach my students landmarks. These are simply notes that are used often and can be quickly identified.


For example, the treble clef-- an old-fashioned way of writing a cursive capital G-- circles around the note G’s line. That’s a good landmark. The bass clef-- an old-fashioned cursive F-- places dots around the F line, another landmark. Middle C also makes an effective one.


In addition, high G (on the space just above the treble staff) and low F (on the space just below the bass staff) make good landmarks. Those come in handy when reading notes above and below the staff.


Another set of landmarks include all the Cs, starting with middle C. Treble C is located two spaces down from the top of the treble staff, and bass C, two spaces up from the bottom of the bass staff. High C is two lines above the treble staff and low C is two lines below the bass staff. All nice and symmetrical.


To help make landmarks more effective, especially for beginning readers, I ask them to circle any they find in a new piece. When we sight-read it, I often point ahead to these key notes. Even if students are struggling, they know the landmarks well enough to play them correctly and regroup. These notes are, well, landmarks


But reading by landmarks can be made even better with the addition of. . . (to be continued.)