I sometimes sing from a song book that contains the lyrics between two staff lines that show the notation for a piano.

What I do is to try to listen only to the sound of the music so as to stay at the right location but this does not always work that well.

I have also tried to determine the current location within the song by looking at the notation and matching this with the song at the current point. This has not worked very well, partially because the music at times seems to move faster than than my interpretation and partially because some notation is not really clear to me.

What I wanted to ask is whether learning the notation would help in singing, or if this is more of a matter of me getting used to particular songs?

If learning notation can help in this, are there some particular aspects that would be especially beneficial to focus on (like maybe chords)?

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    As to the location aspect: Professional singers who are reading music, tend to be looking ahead. In other words they are rarely looking at where they are, but they are quickly memorizing small chunks of the music just before they need to sing them. Of course that aspect of sight singing is useless without any other.
    – amalgamate
    Oct 13, 2015 at 20:13
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    Singers who are comfortable with note reading, and who are able to write down a melody that is in their head, are at a huge advantage. One excellent way to learn what will help you would be to take up a musical instrument. Recorder, clarinet, trumpet and trombone are instruments that will give you a sound quickly. You would do best with a teacher. Oct 14, 2015 at 4:06

1 Answer 1


There is a musical discipline called sight singing. Do a search for that and you will find a lifetime's worth of knowledge worthy of study that will assist you in your goal of reading music as a singer.

Consider sub categories such as solfège, Interval Training, and Rhythm Training.

Note that there are some computer applications that can assist you in practicing your skill in certain aspects of sight singing. These might accelerate your progress. I have not personally tried any of these tools.

To answer the specific question "Is it useful". Yes, further it is a skill that needs constant practice and improvement throughout a musical career. Of course that does not mean that it is easy.

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