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Good evening and happy Wednesday! We hope you didn’t miss us too much on our week off–we were enjoying the sun and looking forward to Memorial Day Weekend!

This week in Beyond the Basics, we’ll highlight some key things to remember as you begin to learn to read music! This week’s blog has some tips about beginner piano and string players moving from beginner music to music written on a staff!

Don’t be intimidated: It’s always a little nerve-wrecking to move into reading from the staff.  Don’t psych yourself out! It is completely logical–there is nothing about it that’s there to trick you.

Ask for Illustrations: The staff is simply telling you the things that you were already being told in a different way. The beginning of your book probably had notes laid out with large letters and a hand chart to tell you where your fingers go–now the music is telling you where the notes are and where your fingers go. As you progress, have your teacher write out old music that you learned to play before you started to put notes on the staff–seeing something that you already know how to play written out in the new way will help you make connections that you may not have been able to make without the visual cues. You can look at an example of that right here:

Take your time!: Think of little children sounding out words before they can fully read them, and then after they can read one word at a time they have to take their time stringing the words together in coherent sentences. Learning to read music is not unlike learning to read English! Give yourself or your student time to really get the hang of it–and make sure that you’re having fun with the process!

Get excited about it!: Reading music is a huge part of being a musician–you can play any music that you want if you have the music for it in front of you. You’re learning a piece of history! Another thing to keep in mind–reading music is a linguistic and a mathematical process for your brain–even at the very beginning! You’re doing something very good for yourself and your mind. Be proud of that!

We hope you enjoyed this weeks’ addition of Beyond the Basics. We’ll see you next time when we talk about performance anxiety, and how to get rid of those first-time-performing jitters.

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