Read Music - How to Do It Faster

Music is a language all of its own. Like any other, it can be used for simple, understandable "sentences" or for works that are difficult to understand and artfully arranged. Since humans have always been looking for ways to preserve their creations, in due time they invented musical notation. Since then, every aspiring musician has wished for one thing: to read music faster.

The problem

As complex as pieces of music can become, so can a sheet of music. Clefs, time signatures, notes, accidentals, rests, stems, beams, slurs, fingerings, repeat signs, articulation signs, dynamics, and so on... For the beginner, this is an unmanageable mass of cryptic symbolism. This makes it all the more important for the learning musician to quickly master the basics: the confident recognition of pitches.

Most people understand the principle of notation quite quickly. They learn the sequence of notes c, d, e, f, g, a, b, c and work their way from note to note by counting. Because this is annoying in the long run, they memorize the notes as quickly as possible. Basically, of course, there is nothing at all against memorizing. It is even very desirable! But with this method one only becomes faster in counting. The real "note-reading training time" remains very short.

The other thing is that it is too theoretical and that the thinking is detoured: "read the note -> name it -> find the named note on the instrument -> play it". "Reading -> playing" really sounds better, doesn't it?

My goal with students, therefore, is to recognize any sound immediately(!).

The solution: read music faster through perceptual learning

This is where my app for iOS comes in. Instead of using "knowledge" and "logic", or analytical thinking, to practice notes, it uses a different learning concept. Psychologists have given it the name "perceptual learning". Don't be bluffed by the complicated name. It's just three easy-to-understand building blocks that are repeated:

  • see
  • judge
  • get feedback on the correctness of the statement

Applied to the music notes: You see the note, try to play it, and if it's right, the next one appears. In this way, we bypass half of the thought machine and start at a point that we are more familiar with from sports and games: Reaction. We train to be fast and humans are fastest when they don't think.

The app is not intended to, nor does it, replace traditional note learning. But it does help students to quickly gain confidence in reading and to focus more on the most beautiful thing in the world: Music. I wish you much success in this.


A special thanks goes to my students, family and friends for regularly testing the app "Read Music - Faster". Your enthusiasm has always been my greatest motivation and I hope that I can inspire you again with the features that are yet to come!