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How to Read Sheet Music

Hello everyone,

In continuation of my short series on reading sheet music, I want to talk about the first steps in reading sheet music, which is reading open strings.

Memorizing how your open strings are represented on sheet music is often the first step in your journey to properly learn how to read music.

There are 2 steps that I recommend that will hasten your memorization process of these important foundational notes.

Step 1. Create cue cards. You can use whatever material you like but you need to draw the staff (5 lines) and write a note that represents one of your open strings and do this for all open strings. You can write the answer on the back to check yourself or to have people test you. For example, for violin, you will have 4 cue cards. One for the G, D, A and E strings. Test yourself verbally until you have no hesitation.

Step2. Do the same with as step one but this time use your instrument. First pluck the string as you see the cue card, then use your bow to play the string. This way, not only your mind will intellectually know what the name of the pitch is, but you’ll also start to train your muscle memory to play on the correct string.

Step 3. Get some music out, preferably some music that is within your ability to play and scan it with your eyes. When you see an open string, play it with your instrument.

After you have mastered identifying open strings quickly and easily, then start putting fingerings your music. Next video I’ll show you how to do that.