Learning Music Theory Effectively

Names of Music Notes

Posted by in Music Theory Rudiments

Note Names on the Keyboard

Note Names on the Keyboard

The names of music notes will be one of the first things that those new to music begin to question. Stating the notes as letters from A to G is easy and straight forward. There you have it you’ve learned music note names by understanding that they are given the names of the first seven letters of the English alphabet.

Names of Music Notes but No Symbolic System

Here’s the problem, you haven’t related them to a symbolic system yet. That’s really what the underlining question is about, not the names of music notes, but how do I learn to read and use the notes.

The music note names give you a way to construct and label the order of notes and translate the symbols into a meaningful framework. That is, you can define the aspects of intervals, which leads to scale and chord construction.

In order to learn to read these various aspects of notes you must see the symbolic notation and the language interpretation to connect the ability to understand a bigger picture.

Multiple Locations for a Given Music Note Name

One of the second hurdles that the new music student has to overcome is the multiple use of the note names. It occurs at several locations in the tone that is produced and in the notation on a master staff.

Take a look at a keyboard and you will see that there are 7 or 8 locations that a note can be used. In the masterstaff that one note symbol will be shown 4 times if not 5 or 6 using ledger lines.

That means we have repeating patterns and they are given regions that where they are played called registers. The musician needs to know if I call out a C note which register that note is to be played in.

Thus we have the formation of voices from bass, tenor, alto, and soprano.  There are other ways to call out the groupings and patterns by describing them as middle, high, low or other terms that provide the indication of where that name will be used.

From Note Names to Note Locations Doesn’t Start with “A”

One of the most confusing things to a new student of music is that the teaching of note names is not always starting with the A note.

With the keyboard, the series is started with the C and one is taught up to the next higher C, which is based on the pattern recognition of white and black keys. This is due to the organization of the keys where it is easier to see visually the grouping of black keys in twos and threes. Using the C note at the start of the two black keys is an easier reference and also is the middle key on the piano keyboard.

Note pattern recognition is the first step to learning to read music notes. However, it takes also understanding the symbols and notation to fully understand and deal with the notes to get to a place of reading and applying them to your instrument. 

Best Approach to Learning Music Notes

The old methods of teaching individual notes as you learn your instrument is a sure fire way to frustrate the student. They learn a couple notes and a couple of note names and locations on their instrument.

At the Music Theory Workshop we believe that there should be a fast attack to learning the basic note lessons. We believe that if you give the framework of the music reading ability in place fast and then start to use the instrument to apply that knowledge you will see a faster learning experience and more satisfaction from learning.

That’s why the workshop on music notes was developed. Our experience shows that taking a concentrated approach to music theory will accelerate the development of music skills faster.

Starting with music note names will give you start point to learning music, but if you truly want to learn music quickly you’ll need to spend some quality time learning the big picture of notes as well as the other music elements which are based this foundation.

It’s no different than learning to read. You had to learn the alphabet and how to put the consonants and vowels together to form words. You learned to spell words and then read them.  Learning music is a similar process, embrace it and you’ll find that it’s not that difficult and you will learn to play a lot quicker. Review all the lessons here: Targeted Music Lessons

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