Resources For Free Piano Sheet Music For Beginners
The beginning of a piano enthusiasts journey is crucial. As you delve into the world of musical instruments theres the potential to get frustrated. Especially if all you can find is sheet music well beyond your current level.
Thats why its important to know the best sources for free piano sheet music for beginners.
Here are some of the recommendations we have for beginners to download and print free sheet music:
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Understanding Sharps Flats And Naturals
If you are not using a beginner piano method book, then chances are you may be exposed to sharps and flats early on.
Sharps and flats work much like the regular notes except they are the augmented version.
For example, play a sharp note means to play the very next note higher. If the note was F#, then the pianist plays the black key since its the very next key higher. Note the example below.
If the note were flat then it means to play the very next note lower as shown in the example below.
When a note has a natural sign, it means that any sharps or flats are canceled, and the note returns to its a natural state. In the case of a D# for example, it would simply become regular D again.
Understanding The F Clef
The bass clefor F Clef is called so because it shows us where the note F is. It begins on the fourth line of the staff, loops up and around, and is complete with two dots on either side of the fourth line. All this decoration around the fourth line lets us know that this line is F, specifically the F below middle C.
We can use the same strategies we used to learn the rest of the notes in bass clef. The most common mnemonic we use is probably Good Boys Do Fine Always, but again feel free to make up your own if it helps you to remember more efficiently. The most common mnemonic for the spaces of bass clef is probably All Cows Eat Grass. When looking at piano sheet music beginners will need to memorize these note names.
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Reading Music : Music Symbols
Basic music reading includes knowing what the most important music symbols are. To progress through your lessons, you need to understand what clefs, staffs, and notes are for.
Music Symbols: The Staff
A musical staff has 5 lines and 4 spaces. Each of these lines and spaces represents a letter which, in turn, represents a note. Often, you will see a vertical line that separates the staff into several segments throughout a piece. This line is called a bar. The space between each bar is called a measure.
Music Symbols: The Clefs
There are two clefs commonly used in writing music and these are the bass and treble clefs.
The treble clef is used for higher-pitched music. The symbol for this clef looks like an elegantly written letter G.
Instruments that are played in a high pitch such as flutes, saxophones, and violins are written with the treble clef. As a keyboard player, you will be using both the treble clef and the bass clef. The higher notes of a piece played on the piano are written in the treble clef.
An easy way to remember the notes on a treble clef is by using mnemonics. For the notes placed on the line namely E, G, B, D, F, we use the phrase Every Good Boy Does Fine. The notes in the spaces are easier. Being the notes F, A, C, and E, we simply read it as FACE.
The bass clef is also present in piano music. It is where the lower notes on the piano, often played by the left hand, are written.
Music Symbols: The Notes
Reading Piano Sheet Music For Beginners
Learning how to read music as a beginner simply means learning what the symbols on the page are telling your hands to do. This includes knowing the names of the piano keys, the notes on the musical staff, time signatures, note values, and different musical symbols.
But, before we dive into basic music reading skills , youll want to make sure you have all the supplies you need. This means some blank staff paper, an erasable pencil , and a keyboard instrument of some kind. You dont need a Steinway to get started a small keyboard will do fine for learning the basics of music reading. You will, however, want at least 66 keys to play complete most pieces of music.
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How To Read And Play Rhythms With Syllables
There are a number of ways we learn how to read and play rhythms. Interestingly, we can make use of various systems such as:
- The beat number method
- Gordon Music Learning Method
To keep track of meter, were going to use the beat number method.
Here are a couple of guidelines:
- We count the beats using numbers per bar. For example, we count 4/4 as 1-2-3-4, 3/4 as 1-2-3, etc.
- Any note that receives the beat is designated the number. For example, in 4/4, we count quarter note beats 1-2-3-4.
- When we subdivide the beat into 2, we recite the number followed by & . In 4/4, we count eighth notes as 1-& -2-& -3-& -4-& .
- Subdividing the beat into 4 means we count the first note of the beat with a number and then use e-& -uh as the next four. In this case, 16th notes in 4/4 means we count them 1-e-& -uh, 2-e-& -uh, 3-e-& -uh, 4-e-& -uh.
- To count triplets, we recite the number for the note on the beat then trip-let for the 2nd and 3rd notes. So, in a measure of 4/4,we count triplets as 1-trip-let, 2-trip-let, 3-trip-let. 4-trip-let.
Lets review our rhythm tree to see these syllables in action:
You can start practicing by counting along the clicks of a metronome. One of the best metronome apps for this purpose is the Metronome by Soundbrenner.
Lets apply this concept to figure out how to play the rhythm for What A Friend We Have In Jesus:
Another great app you can use to learn how to read rhythms is Rhythm Lab.
What Are The Finger Numbers For Piano Players
When learning how to read sheet music, its important to remember that each of your fingers have numbers 1 5. Thumb is number 1, the pointer finger is number 2, middle finger is number 3, ring finger is number 4, and pinky is number 5. All piano players from beginner to advanced use finger numbers for reading sheet music.
Pro Tip: Now, as you read through new songs, write in the note names. Then, sing the note name or finger numbers while playing, which will help you memorize the names of numbers of the notes on a piano. Once youve practiced this, erase the letter names and test yourself to see if you still remember the playing pattern and tune of the song.
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Why Learn How To Read Music
Reading music means you can see and understand the structure of the piece and how its put together, allowing you to develop a greater understanding of the whole composition. The symbols of sheet music, like most spoken languages, have been around for centuries. Each symbol represents a different pitch, rhythm, and tempo of a specific song. The symbols also represent the techniques used by whoever is playing that musical piece.
Some musicians will tell you that reading piano sheet music isnt necessary to be a competent player, but you only limit yourself by going that route. Many pianists will attest that learning and studying sheet music early and often is the right choice.
Learning this essential skill:
- Unlocks a world of expression and freedom on the piano
- Means youll be able to play in a band or other ensemble
- Helps you sight read on other instruments including strings, brass, or woodwinds
- Allows you to communicate about music with other musicians
Even if your main instrument is not the piano, learning the basics of how to read music note names can be easier when you know your way around a keyboard.
Studying the piano and learning how to read sheet music go hand-in-hand. To develop your skills in the most efficient way possible, you must start learning how to read sheet music right off the bat.
An Opportunity To Practice A Flexible Wrist
This exercise, known as “Dipping Donuts,” requires shaping the 1 and 3 fingers into a round hole like a donut, then pretending to “dip” it into an imaginary glass of milk, using a smooth wrist action.
So, all week long at home, they start their piano practice time by “dipping donuts” on all the D’s.
First one hand, then the other, strikes each D on the piano, from left to right, then back down again right to left (or the other way around — some free spirit always wants to do it backwards, and it really doesn’t matter!
Make a technical exercise out of it, for fun
This reinforces not just the piano key’s location and name, but also a flexible wrist motion.
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You Diversify Your Piano Playing Skills
Lets be honest:
You want to become one of the best stage piano music players out there.
And the only best way to do that is to keep learning. If you can get your hand on music sheet and spend time learning how to read it, youll end up playing an array of musical styles.
When youre able to play different musical styles with ease, from R& B and classical to jazz and blues, you put yourself in a position to become a better composer as youre familiar with varied piano playing techniques.
Reasons Why You Want To Learn How To Read Piano Sheet Music
Now, a lot of people can easily argue that they can play music without learning how to read notes.
That is true. However, there are many of great reasons why you should learn how to read piano sheet music.
Here are 5 compelling reasons:
Now that we have identified some reasons, lets get into building your music reading skills.
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Key Elements For Beginners Sheet Music
Sheet music created with beginners in mind should have the following:
- arrangements which feature large, easy-to-follow notes
- with each notes name written on the note head
- a layout that makes it easy for any beginner to follow the music on the page
- a variety of categories, including childrens songs, rock, pop, themes songs from popular movies and television shows, and of course, classical
Lets Be Clear: If You Dont Learn To Read Music You Limit Yourself
We challenge you to find a pianist who learned to read music and regretted it. But there are plenty who wish they had learned earlier. Like any language, you can get by without taking the time to read or write, especially in the beginning. In the long term, however, being able to read music holds a range of benefits, and you limit yourself without them.
Its quicker than you think. This isnt strictly a good thing. But if the only downside to learning is time and effort, its worth stressing that it doesnt take that long. Notation may look like lines and dots on a page right now, but you will be reading and playing your first piece of music in no time. Work systematically, gradually build up knowledge of new notation, and you will be surprised how quickly you understand literally everything.
Sight reading. This is the ability to read a piece of music for the first time and play as you go, as easy as reading this sentence out loud. It takes time and practice, but eventually if you have the written music, you can play it. Since written music is widely available online, learning to sight read music gives you the ability to immediately play practically anything.
A permanent memory aid. Playing by ear means remembering everything you ever decided to learn. Written music offers a record of anything you have ever learned, or plan to learn. If you dont have a perfect memory, you can develop your own notation. But when there is a universal language already in place, why bother?
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Lets Put The Treble & Bass Clef Staves Together
Most frequently, piano sheet music will include two staves, one above the other the treble clef will be on top and the bass clef will be on the bottom. Remember, your left hand will usually play the notes on the bass staff and your right hand will usually play the notes on the treble staff. When the staves are shown together, we call it the Grand Staff.
The two staves are connected, and the musical alphabet simply repeats A, B, C, D, E, F, G moving up the staves. Notice that theres no H, the musical alphabet simply repeats by going back to A. These are all the piano notes to exist between the two staves.
Heres another image of the piano note chart to demonstrate this:
A Little History Behind Reading Music Notes
Sheet music with notes is read from left to right. The reasoning behind this is that music began as an exercise most focused on the progression of notes in a scale or mode in a horizontal fashion. When more than one voice was sounded together, they usually sang in unison it was not until the 9th century that musicians became increasingly concerned with vertical harmony and polyphony.
Keyboard instruments, such as the organ, the harpsichord, and ultimately the piano, were instruments developed to satisfy this changing aesthetic and the increased importance of vertical harmonies. They were adapted into a notation that had been developed to address primarily horizontal concerns . This means beginner piano students must learn to think about the music on the page differently from the words on a page.
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So How Do You Choose Instructional Materials For Them
So how do you choose beginner piano music? Well, all kids love to play what is familiar to them.
You will have to stretch them, expanding their tastes, but you must still satisfy their desire to play what sounds like music to them or risk losing them as students.
Never will I forget an account by the late John Holt in his book, Never Too Late: My Musical Life Story, about meeting another adult cello student.
Twinkle Twinkle Little Star/the Alphabet Song
In case you havent already noticed, these two songs are basically the same but with more or fewer notes. Therefore, if you learn one, you will also know the other. I know these are little kids songs, but learning them helps you to know the basics, so, these are great songs to start you off on your musical journey. Its very easy to learn, and its probably already stamped in your head.
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The Grand View Of All Notes On The Lines And Spaces In Treble And Bass Clef
Here you have all of the notes on both the lines and spaces in each clef, for easy review. Take some time to read each note in each clef, and then try to look away and name all of your Space notes in each clef or all of your line notes in each clef.
Keep doing this each day until you can name the notes without looking at any hints.
**Remember to say in the beginning whether the note is on a line or on a space, as this will help reinforce that information in your brain and your fingers when you play it on the piano.
** Remember also, to always learn your notes from the bottom line or space to the top line or space in the clef that you are working in.
How To Name Notes
In western music, we have 12 notes:
We assign the letters A, B, C, D, E, F, and G for naturals . The notes on the black keys have their names based on their relationship to the white keys.
A black key can either be a sharp or flat. If its a black key to the right of a white key, its a sharp . If its a black key to the left, its a flat .
To make things simple at first , we tend to learn that there are no sharps after B and E and there are no flats before C and F. From a more technical music theory perspective, this is not true as well explain later.
Interestingly, one note can have 2 different names. These are what we call enharmonic names.
For example, C# and Db are the same note on the piano keyboard. The same black key is to the right of C natural and is to the left of D .
Whenever we see accidental symbols, they remain in effect all throughout the measure its applied to.
In cases where the key of the song has
Thats fine and dandy. However, we still have a problem.
How can we tell which notes are which on the staff?
This is where clefs come in.
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