I remember the days when I couldn’t read music at all. And this was when I was studying music at College!
I remember feeling frustrated that all the other people in my music class could do it so easily.
But, that was a long time ago and now I don’t even think about it when reading music.
If this is you then allow me to share some simple things you can do to super charge your note recognition. Here are two quick tips:
- While flashcards are a great idea, I’ve found that there are some great websites and apps out there that do the same job but you don’t have to carry cards around with you.
If you want to do this for free you could try the note training exercises at musictheory.net. Click here to try it.
The great thing about this is you can customise which notes you want to train, you can do time trials and it can give you a score and percentage so you can actually measure your improvement.
By the way, there’s a great app made by this same company called Tenuto and it’s even better. It trains heaps of different aspects of your music knowledge. This is great if you don’t want to use data on your phone or you want something that operates a bit better on touch screen devices.
I use both the site and the app with my students all the time and I’d say its the quickest way to improve note recognition.
- Actually write notes out on paper. Yep, it’s old school, but linking the fine motor skill of writing while trying to memorise something totally speeds up your recognition. So grab some manuscript paper and get started. Here are two ways you could do it.
- Write out a string of random letters using A B C D E F G. Then write them in on the staff in as many places as you know.
- Or you could do the reverse. Write in a string of random dots on the manuscript paper, then go back and write the note name under each one. If you need some manuscript paper you can download my template here.
I’ll let you in on a little secret, once this sticks you won’t need to re-learn this. Improving note recognition is an investment you only need to make once!
The key is to just keep playing guitar and make sure that you learn a new piece of music regularly.