I've been playing piano for a little while for personal enjoyment. Due to my comfortable environment most of my knowledge of piano has come from what I've learned by ear and sight. Unfortunately, this has caused a bit of a predicament. I've created a small composition, but I have almost zero experience in reading sheet music. I've written the notes in my own way so I wouldn't forget, but it's very clumsy and unclear. I'm worried this will lead to me forgetting my piece in the future. Can anyone recommend a tutorial or technique that could help me learn minimal sight reading in a short time frame?

closed as off-topic by Richard, Todd Wilcox, David Bowling, Dom Aug 7 '18 at 13:15

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    Just want to point out that sight reading is a skill built up over a long time. Whatever method other answers suggest, just remember that if you keep at it over a period of time, it will happen no matter what - just like lifting weights or learning to play an instrument :) – LSM07 Jul 31 '18 at 2:05

There are as many methods of learning to read music as there are piano teachers. However, there is no "shortcut" method, for the same reason there is no shortcut method to learning to read. You're learning a new language; it will take time and work.

That being said, I don't know how exactly to answer your question because I don't know where you're at with sight reading -- ground zero or just not very experienced? Do you know the lines and spaces in treble and bass clef? If not, there are mnemonic devices for those. Learn the note names first, then practice, practice, practice!

Bottom line...the quickest way to learn a language is full immersion. Practice sight reading constantly. Whatever method you use, devote enough time to it to be useful. A few minutes a day will not give you as much progress as a half hour or more a day sight reading.

  • I had a feeling this might be the answer. I'm sort of familiar with sight reading in general as I played the cello when I was younger. I just feel lost and out of practice when I try with piano so far. Practice it is :) – CaptainAmerica16 Jul 31 '18 at 3:25
  • @SysDragon, thanks for the line break edits. For some reason, although I break my paragraphs, the breaks don't show up when I actually post. How do I fix this? Do I need to double space? – Kevin H Aug 1 '18 at 15:33
  • @KevinH Yes, this is due how the line breaks are converted. You should use double line break. Anyway, the result is shown at the end of your edition area so you can see how it looks before you post. – SysDragon Aug 2 '18 at 7:16

Quick win before you loose your composition: film yourself playing it!

But don't give up on reading music. Just start with very simple tunes, like children music, lulabies... You'll find plenty of sheets on the Internet.

I'm sure you can find bootstrap material on YouTube, introductory classes.

All you really need to get started is

  • what is a trebble clef
  • what is a bass clef (for piano, this is mandatory)
  • how to read a key signature

And as always, time and dedication: make sure you read a bit of music everyday. 5 minutes per day will take you where you don't imagine!

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