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How To Recognize Notes Quicker

Playing the piano, just like any other instruments, involves reading notes off the score. Inevitably, the quicker you recognize which note to play and which key to press on the piano, quicker you get to play music.  That’s obvious right?

At Skoove, you will find a practical course on this subject:  Beginner Theory I – Sight-Reading

It’s a great achievement  for anyone starting to learn to play the piano and we take you step by step in mastering the sight-reading.

There are many ways in which musicians become fluent sight-readers, all of them with the exact same goal:  recognize notes and play them correctly along with precise rhythms right off the score.

For those just starting out, there are many tools and helpful tricks in which you can learn to recognize the notes quicker.  

The score staff (sometimes written “stave”) comes with five lines and four spaces in between.  Each one of those lines and spaces have a set alphabet letter assigned to them.

Let’s learn what those letters are with a help of mnemonics – a tool to help you memorize letters by using a simple word or a sentence.

1)  Trebel Clef: Lines

Treble Clef Lines

First learn this sentence: Every Good Boy Does Fine

Say it out loud a few times.  Now, take just the first letter of each word and try to remember the letters: E G B D F

2)  Treble Clef: Spaces

Treble Clef: Spaces

Now the spaces can also be a sentence but this time, just the letters make a word itself: FACE

Take any piece of music, whether a Skoove lesson or any score you find.  Quickly scan through and start pin-pointing these letters.  I suggest you start with every note that is on the staff line.  Any of the Every Good Boy Does Fine.  Keep scanning and read the letter out loud every time you come across a note on the lines.

Do the same for the spaces using the word FACE.  Only the notes that are found in spaces between the lines.

The trick is to “scan, say the letter, and move on” swiftly.  Practice doing this for 5 minutes every time you find the time to practice piano.  No need to spend hours on it, better concentrated and do it often until you instantaneously recognize the letters.

3)  Bass Clef: Lines

Same applies to bass clef also.  Using a sentence: Good Boys Do Fine Anyways

Bass Clef: Lines

4)  Bass Clef: Spaces

This time: All Cows Eat Grass

Bass Clef: Spaces

Practice reading the bass clef with the same method mentioned earlier.  Remember, practice reading with one system of a sentence or a word at a time.

These mnemonics are traditional.  Feel free to come up with your own mnemonics.

Read more about bass clef notes in this article.

Once you become familiar with recognizing notes quickly, you’ll find that you have one problem less in playing the piano.  Certainly, combining this helpful tool with the keys on the piano is another subject and requires regular practicing also.

This tool does not cover everything, as there are notes outside the staff either above or below, with so called ledger lines.  Ledger line is a line on a pitch to make it easier to read the note that is outside the staff lines.

The most important notes at the beginning is the Middle C on the treble clef:

Piano Middle C

This note is called “Middle C” because it is found at the middle of the piano.

After practicing the above steps, you’ll be amazed at how quickly you can recognize them.

I suggest you go through the Beginner Theory I: Sight Reading like I mentioned.  It is an essential skill every pianist needs.

I hope this blogpost was helpful for you, please feel free to give us a feedback.

Happy reading!


To go further:

  • Learn to Read Piano Sheet Music Faster
  • What are quarter, half and whole notes?
  • Sight-Reading: Ties Explained
  • Best piano app

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