Reading music notes is like reading another language. You cannot learn it overnight. You will need to learn the basics, the alphabet and structure of music, before you can learn to read music. For now you want to just read music notes so notice that the first step assumes you already know (or can find out) the basic structure. If that's not the case, or if you just want a complete grasp on sheet music and want it fast, I suggest the online program, "Learn to Read Music in One Evening" - it just takes one night and has helped many people.
If what you're looking for is actually music lessons, good for you - with the right program, they can make a huge difference! But not all programs are created equal. My recommendation for online lessons? If it's guitar, bass, drums, piano or violin, go with MusicMasterPro.
- Identify the basic structure and parts of sheet music. These parts include the staff, clef, key and the time or meter signature. The staff is the five lines and four spaces on which the music notes rest. The clef is a symbol on the staff that comes first and indicates what type of instrument the music is for. The key indicates whether the notes will be natural, sharp or flat. The time or meter signature indicates the number of notes per measure and what kind of note.
- Identify the notes and rests. The notes and rests of music are its basic alphabet. You need to recognize the types by sight including whole notes, half notes, quarter note, eighth note and sixteenth note. Rests correspond to notes in that there are whole rests, half rests, etc. Notes indicate what sound should be played while rests indicate silence. For each type of note or rest there is a different symbol.
- Read music left to right, top to bottom. Start with the clef then you can begin to read the music. Each section or measure is divided by a vertical line on the staff. For each measure there are four beats. When a whole note is in the measure it will be alone and you should hold the note for the four beats. For a half note there will be two in a measure and each note should be held for two beats.
- Count the notes in each measure. Remember that even though there are four beats per measure it is possible to have sixteenth notes. For the rapidly played notes, you would add four of the notes for one beat. As you can guess, the sixteenth notes must be played much faster than the whole or half notes. Remember that rests also take part of the beats so if there is a half note, a quarter rest and a quarter note, they would still be the four beats of the measure.
- Practice your reading with different types of music. Before you pick up the instrument, practice reading the notes and tapping your foot in time to get the rhythm and beat of the piece.
- Pick up the instrument and start playing. It takes time to learn to play well so be patient and practice to a regular schedule, preferably daily. Lessons are a great idea (some would say essential) -- there's a great online option called .
You can learn to read music notes. Just remember that it takes time to learn the language and put the words together. Practice and experiment with different music pieces.