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  • Free tools to learn to read sheet music

  • Judiann Maddigan

    Member
    14 March, 2021 at 5:20 am

    Many adults find it’s not easy to learn to read sheet music. The musictheory.net website has free tools that can help. There’s more to reading sheet music than just identifying the notes, of course, but being able to name the notes is an important first step.

    I’ve customized eight exercises specifically for the harp. The learning order is treble clef notes going up from middle C, then bass clef notes going down from middle C. To name a note, you can either click a button or type the letter on your keyboard. It will show green if you are correct, or red if you guessed wrong. It also keeps track of your stats at the top. When you don’t know a note, click the three dots in the upper right corner and select “Reveal Answer.” Don’t move to the next level until you can do your current level without pauses or mistakes. If you are trying this on your phone, choose “Use Web Version.” If you already know treble clef, skip ahead to Level 5 for bass clef.

    When I used these tools to learn bass clef, I spent no more than 5 minutes per session, 3 times per day. It was encouraging to see progress within a week. If anyone else decides to try these exercises, please let us know how you’re doing with them. I hope they will help you learn to read sheet music because then a whole world of possibilities will open up for you.

    Level 1, Treble Clef, 5 notes: C4 to G4.

    https://www.musictheory.net/exercises/note/bgkyryyynyyyyy

    Level 2, Treble Clef, 8 notes: C4 to C5.

    https://www.musictheory.net/exercises/note/bgpyryyynyyyyy

    Level 3, Treble Clef, 12 notes: C4 to G5.

    https://www.musictheory.net/exercises/note/bgtyryyynyyyyy

    Level 4, Treble Clef, 15 notes: C4 to C6.

    https://www.musictheory.net/exercises/note/bgwyryyynyyyyy

    Level 5, Bass Clef, 5 notes: F3 to C4.

    https://www.musictheory.net/exercises/note/nq1yryyynyyyyy

    Level 6, Bass Clef, 8 notes: C3 to C4.

    https://www.musictheory.net/exercises/note/nm1yryyynyyyyy

    Level 7, Bass Clef, 12 notes: F2 to C4.

    https://www.musictheory.net/exercises/note/n81yryyynyyyyy

    Level 8, Bass Clef, 15 notes: C2 to C4.

    https://www.musictheory.net/exercises/note/nr1yryyynyyyyy

  • Margaret Hoffman

    Member
    14 March, 2021 at 3:48 pm

    Thank you for this. I’m a little rusty on the treble clef, but the bass clef gives me fits because before the harp I had no need to learn it. I’ll keep you posted and let you know how I’m doing after a couple weeks of using these. 🙂 Peggy Hoffman

    • Judiann Maddigan

      Member
      14 March, 2021 at 6:34 pm

      @margaret.hoffman Oh, good! But I hope you’ll report back sooner than “a couple of weeks.” Other forum members will want to hear how you’re doing before they try it themselves. This method is not going to work for everyone because different people learn in different ways.

      It’s not easy. It takes a commitment, but if you’re willing to put in multiple short sessions per day, maybe only 3 to 5 minutes each, I bet you’ll see some progress within a week. You’re our first test case, and I’ll be anxious to hear how it’s going for you. You can do this! 😀

      • Judiann Maddigan

        Member
        14 March, 2021 at 7:26 pm

        Peggy, for whatever reason, the forum software will not allow me to tag margaret.hoffman, and the wrong margaret will get a notification of my reply to you.

        • Judiann Maddigan

          Member
          14 March, 2021 at 11:31 pm

          @peggyhoffman You’ve solved it, Peggy. Your new tag name works.

          • Margaret Hoffman

            Member
            14 March, 2021 at 11:35 pm

            Good, I’m not super great with computer stuff. I’m glad I could get it straightened out. 🙂

  • Judiann Maddigan

    Member
    16 March, 2021 at 1:44 am

    @stephen.peterson raised some good questions in the Activity Feed. I wanted to add the information in this thread, too, since it will scroll off the feed.

    The first question was how many practice notes are in each session (300, 500, 1000)? When I did it, I didn’t let the scores accumulate. In the upper right corner, you can click on the three dots and choose “Reset Score.” That will start counting from zero again. I set a timer for only 5 minutes for each of my sessions, always resetting the score to zero. As soon as I felt I knew the notes for that level and I managed to do 5 minutes with only a couple of errors, I would move on to the next level. I didn’t worry about a few careless errors. However, when I was making more mistakes or I had long pauses because I really didn’t know the notes well enough, I would stay on that level until they felt secure.

    The next question was whether the notes in each session are at random. My answer was: “I’m not sure. I suspect that if you make a mistake, the program will repeat that note more often, giving you more practice on it. But that might only have been my imagination — There’s that pesky F again, lol.” Since then, I’ve run a short test, and it turns out I really was imagining that. The frequency looks fairly even and the order is random, as far as I can tell. It doesn’t seem to favor repeating notes that you miss.

    Is anyone else trying these exercises? How is it going for you?

  • Lisa O?Sullivan

    Member
    16 March, 2021 at 10:53 am

    Hi,

    Just had a quick go of this software – its amazing. I teach piano to beginners and I know they are going to love this!. Thank you so much for sharing 😀

    • Judiann Maddigan

      Member
      16 March, 2021 at 4:16 pm

      @lisa.osullivan I’m glad you found it helpful 😀. Since you teach piano, you can create your own exercises for your students. Choose any link in my first post, and then click on the Home icon in the upper left. Scroll all the way down that page for the Exercise Customizer. It takes some trial and error to figure it out, but you can set all of your own parameters. It will generate a link for each of your custom exercises.

      Just don’t blame me when you end up spending hours on that Customizer. 😂

      • Lisa O?Sullivan

        Member
        18 March, 2021 at 8:50 pm

        Wow thank you so much! He he, yes i think i might be having a lot of fun with this!

  • Judiann Maddigan

    Member
    17 March, 2021 at 9:59 pm

    Some of you have harps that go beyond the range of the exercises in my first post. For example, @nightthunder has a 38-string Camac Excalibur, which has more bass notes. For those cases, you can use this tool: https://www.musictheory.net/exercises/note . When you click on the gear icon in the upper right, you can change the range to the specific notes you want to learn.

    Another thing you might notice about that gear menu is that it includes an option to turn on Helpers. I didn’t use that feature because sheet music isn’t going to have the lines and spaces labeled for you. However, some beginners might find it easier when first starting out. You can begin with Helpers turned on, and then turn them off as soon as you’re more secure with the note names.

  • Jacomien ten Teije

    Member
    26 March, 2021 at 3:07 am

    This is very helpful indeed, thank you so much 🎼. Try tagging my niece irene.tenteije

    • Judiann Maddigan

      Member
      26 March, 2021 at 3:25 am

      @jacomien.ten teije , I hope it helps. 😀

      I think you need to use the @ sign to tag someone on the forums here. Let’s see if this will work for your niece… @irene.ten teije .

      • Judiann Maddigan

        Member
        26 March, 2021 at 3:39 am

        Nope, neither tag worked. My guess is that spaces in names prevent the forum software from completing the tag. You might try removing the space in your @ Username to see whether that will fix it. Click on your name at the top of this window, select My Profile, then click the Edit Profile button. Remove any spaces in your @ Username and click Save Changes. That worked for someone else who had a similar issue.

  • Jacomien ten Teije

    Member
    26 March, 2021 at 9:07 am

    Thanks Judigann, tried everything in my profile but it does not work. I let her know in another way, one more last time @irene.ten teije

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