I want to be able to memorize all major and minor keys (including melodic, harmonic and natural minors), so that I can improve my sight reading and transposition skills. I am trying to become a more versatile songwriter.

So far, I can:

  1. Comfortably sight read and compose in C major;
  2. Play major scales in each key on the keyboard (simple muscle memory); and
  3. Recreate the circle of fifths from memory.

Please also note that I am comfortable with music notation and that I compose music on staff paper.

My timeframe is six months and I can afford to dedicate an hour per day.
I want to know suggestions for the most effective approach.

I have a keyboard, guitar, flashcards, pen and paper, theory textbooks, an iphone, a small midi keyboard, a DAW, the internet, etc. . .

Please let me know the best way to use my tools to become a master of all 12 keys. Thanks all!


I would say start by drawing the circle of fifths 2-3 times a day. And probably just do that for the rest of your life, lol. But seriously, if you have the circle of fifths completely memorized it'll tell you all of the flats or sharps in every major key and every natural minor key. From there it's just knowing the alphabet from A to G.

Once you've got the major and natural minor keys down, you can think of melodic and harmonic minor and one-note variations on natural minor.

As a tip, don't start drawing the circle of fifths from C every time. When you start getting used to the way it looks starting with C, start picking a random note to start the drawing with

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  • Thanks Trevor. This will certainly help me in connecting keys to one another, but what about reciting them on command or quickly transposing? – 286642 Jul 11 at 0:34

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