How To Read Sheet Music For Piano

January 18, 2013

how to read sheet music

Learning how to read sheet music for piano can be quite daunting at first because it looks like a series of lots of lines and dots with several random symbols thrown in for good measure.

The key thing to remember is that piano music simply uses the basic elements of sheet music – it just has a lot of them because a piano player has 2 hands and a total of 10 fingers and therefore the potential to play a lot of notes at any one time.

benjamin dunnett music

Typical Piano Sheet Music

Piano music tends to have 2 staves. Usually (but not always), the top stave is written in the Treble Clef and the bottom stave is written in Bass Clef. The top stave shows the notes that should be played with the right hand, whilst the bottom stave shows the notes to be played by the left hand.

piano sheet musicIt helps to remember this when practicing as you can practice one hand at a time and make significant progress with whichever piece you are wanting to play.

piano sheet music example

The numbers placed underneath certain notes are suggestions of what fingers to use – you will often find these when reading music for piano….

sheet music for piano fingering

Some contemporary piano music has one stave (usually Treble Clef) for the right hand and chord symbols above or below the staff. This is very similar to a Lead Sheet. In this case, you would play the tune with your right hand and improvise the chords with your left hand.

Learn How To Read Piano Music Quickly

I have developed the following 3 stage process for learning how to read and play piano music which this site is built upon:

  1. Instruction - Video and written lessons providing high quality content
  2. Exercise - Fun and challenging worksheets to cement your new understanding
  3. Play - Perform what you’ve learnt straight away using my practical exercises and easy to play pieces (this is the vital last link in the chain)

Feel free to have a look at all the different videos, articles and worksheets on the site. It’s all TOTALLY FREE – I really hope it helps you learn how to read music.
Good luck!!
Ben
benjamin dunnett music

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