Read music – How to do it faster

2018-05-08T14:11:19+00:0005/06/18|

Music is a language of its own, which can be used like any other for simple, understandable “sentences” or for works that are difficult to understand and artistically arranged. Since humans have always been looking for ways to preserve their creations, they invented musical notation in due course.

The problem

A sheet of music can look as complex as music pieces can become. Clefs, time signature, notes, pauses, stems, bars, bows, fingerings, repetition signs, polyphony, multiple instruments, articulation signs, dynamics and so on… For the beginner an overwhelming bulge of cryptic symbolism. This makes it all the more important for the beginning musician to learn the basics as quickly as possible: the reliable recognition of the pitches in the clefs that his instrument needs.

Most people understand the principle of music notation quite quickly. They pray the sequence of tones c, d, e, f, g, a, b, c up and down, climb from note to note by counting and play by memory as quickly as possible. This sounds all right and meaningful, but experience has shown that the student will be able to count faster, but will not be able to recognize any note immediately(!). Due to the fast and absolutely desirable memorized play, the “training time” is often very short. In addition, there is headiness and a mindset marked by detours: reading the note -> naming it -> finding the note on the instrument -> playing it; instead of reading it -> playing it.

The solution

This is where my app for iOS comes in. Instead of practicing notes through “knowledge” and “logic”, or through analytical thinking, it uses a different learning concept that psychologists have called “perceptual learning”. It’s easy to understand: We see something, judge it and get feedback about the correctness of our statement. Applied to the notes: You see the note, try to play it, and when it’s right, the next one appears. So we avoid unnecessary thinking and start at a point that we know from sport and game: Reaction. We train to be fast and man is fastest when he does not think.

The app is neither intended to replace the traditional learning of sheet music, nor can it replace it. But it helps students quickly gain confidence in reading and allows them to concentrate more on the most beautiful thing in the world: Music. I wish you every success.

Acknowledgment

Special thanks go to my students, family and friends for regularly testing the app “Read Music”. Your enthusiasm has always been my greatest motivation and I hope that I can inspire you again with the features still to come!