Learn to Read Piano Music...This Afternoon!
Making Music Now's Mini Course
A Music Basics Guide for the Beginning Musician
Hello! Welcome to the wonderful world of music. Have you always dreamed of being able to learn how to play the piano, keyboard, guitar or any other instrument? Well, your dream is just about to come true with this Free Music eCourse. This dream of yours is not something so far away that it cannot become a reality in a very short while.
This is not rocket science but it does take a genuine commitment on your part to read all seven chapters of this Free Music eCourse in order to learn the music fundamentals that will apply to any instrument. Be sure to STICK WITH IT!
Make it a point to pace yourself. The course has been written with the
intention of going through it in order, with one chapter building on the next. Now that you have laid the groundwork for your plan, let us begin! Whatever instument you are studying or plan to study in the future, each one of those instruments has a history. Let's take a moment to learn a very brief history of keyboard instruments.
Did you know that pianos in some form have been around for over 500 years? Some of the first instruments of this kind were called clavichords. They had a very light, metallic sound because the small hand-pounded 'hammers' were made of very light weight metal-like material. These hammers struck strings of varying lengths to create different tones or pitches. The next cousin to the clavichord was the harpsichord invented by Cristofori in Italy around 1450 A.D. This keyboard instrument had a mechanism in it called the plecktrum which 'plucked' the strings and produced a slightly stronger sound than its predecessor.
Whether you are playing an acoustic instrument, which is the closest relative to the history just mentioned, or an electronic keyboard, you are now participating in a centuries old musical art form.
SOME PRACTICAL CONSIDERATIONS
Piano or Keyboard?
Does it matter if you have a keyboard or a piano? Certainly not. The only real difference is that a full size piano has 88 keys (counting both the white and black keys). Keyboards come in several different sizes. Some have 60 keys, some even less. There are also 88 key electronic keyboards and digital pianos that produce very realistic acoustic sounds. Whatever size your instrument may be, remember that the ARRANGEMENT of the keys and the ORDER of the KEY NAMES is the
same on both instruments. Rest assured that your basic knowledge of the fundamentals of music can be learned quite effectively either on a keyboard or a piano. The only missing ingredient is your own persistence and determination to persevere through the entirety of the material in this course with regular practice sessions. Do that and your success is assured!
SELECTING THE BEST LEARNING PLACE IN YOUR HOME
Please take a moment and give serious consideration at to WHERE you practice in your home. Make sure that you are not within earshot of the television. Even if you are used to 'watching TV with your ears' while you do other things, it will definitely be a roadblock to your learning to Play Piano Now! Also, make sure that you can sit down at your piano or keyboard comfortably. If you have a piano and a bench which came with it when you bought it, then you are in great shape. Seating at a keyboard can prove a little more difficult. Just make sure that you are not reaching too high up or stooping down too low for the keyboard. Finding a chair that is the right height is the key. The right height chair will allow your arms to be a an almost perfect right angle (45 degree) from your body to the keyboard. Don't worry too much about this. If you have the wrong height of chair your back will start screaming at you to change your position!!! Please make any adjustments to keep your back straight and your arms at a 45 degree angle and you enjoy hours of music in one seating.
Please practice as long and as often as you like. I am not going to recommend a particular practice schedule for anyone. You will find your own pace. Sometimes people ask me how long it will take to learn to Play Piano Now. I simply answer with the question of how much time are you willing to put into it on a daily basis. Since this is an introductory piano course for beginners, I think it would be very effective to work at 30 to 45 minute intervals on a daily basis. The longer you put in, the more quickly you will learn and progress. However, your mind needs a while to 'soak up' the information and will work best when you have some hours or a day or so in between practice sessions. The main thing is to make up a schedule and stick to it! The longest journey begins with the first step! MUSICAL TERMS
Let's begin our musical study with a review of the main musical terms you will need to be familiar with to proceed with your music education.
BAR LINE - A vertical line which separates notes into groups
DOUBLE BAR LINE - A set of two (2) vertical lines which stand for the end of a piece of music
REPEAT SIGN - Double bar with two dots at the end of a section or piece of music which
indicates that section is to be played twice.
MEASURE - The distance between two bar lines.
TREBLE CLEF - The S-shaped symbol which stands for notes played with the right hand.
BASS CLEF - The reversed C-shaped symbol which stand for notes played with the left hand.
STAFF - The five lines and four spaces of both the bass and treble clefs.
QUARTER NOTE - Musical symbol with solid note head and stem which gets one count.
QUARTER REST - Musical symbol resembling a sideways W which gets one count.
HALF NOTE - Musical symbol with hollow note head and stem which gets two counts.
HALF REST - Solid half block sitting on third line of the staff which gets two counts of silence.
DOTTED HALF NOTE - Musical symbol with hollow note head, dot and stem which
gets three counts.
WHOLE NOTE - Musical symbol resembling a circle on the staff which gets four counts.
WHOLE REST - Solid half block hanging from the second line on the staff which gets four
counts of silence.
CHORD - Two or more notes played together.
BLOCKED CHORD - Two or more notes played at the same time
BROKEN CHORD - Two or more notes from the same chord played in sequence
INTERVAL - The distance between two notes on the musical staff
Now that you have had an introduction to musical terms, you are ready to take the next step in your musical education.
All the best in music,
Jan Durrant, Publisher
About the Author
Jan Durrant is President of Making Music Now, a music publishing company established in June 2003. Ms. Durrant is a music teacher/composer/publisher interested in helping adult beginning music students learn to read music.