How to Read Music REALLY FAST!

– Did you know that real piano players look at more than just the notes on the page when they read music? They’re actually using a few other techniques so they can read and process the music much, much faster. Well, today I’m gonna show you what these techniques are, as well as a lot of the things you need to be on the lookout for when reading music. So let’s get right on to the lesson. Okay, one thing I really wanna tell you about is that mastering reading notes is all about one thing, basically, and it’s reading notes in groups rather than individual notes. So let’s get on, actually, to our first grouping. Just remember it’s all about reading notes reading notes in terms of groups. All right, the first type of grouping we’re gonna talk about is intervals. I’ve actually made a great lesson on intervals, which I will put in the description for you to watch once you’re done watching this video and you wanna learn more. But basically, an interval is the distance between two different notes. It’s basically the simplest form of reading notes in groups.

So notes … What I mean by the distance of two notes, you have two notes, right? And the interval is the number of notes between those notes, or including those notes. So when in play these two notes, C and E, that’s what we call a third, because you count the note you’re on, one, the note in between, and then the note you’re going to, so it’s a third. If I play from C to G, that would be a fifth: one, two, three, four, five. An octave is called an octave because, think about other things with oct, right? The word oct means eight. So an octopus has eight tentacles, an octave has eight notes: one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight.

So it’s the most basic explanation I can give you of intervals. If you wanna learn more, check out that video I mentioned. Okay, next we’re gonna take intervals to the next level. You can look at intervals in different ways, either up and down–harmony, or left to right–melody. So what I mean by that is let’s look at this first measure here of the Pathétique Sonata. Now this may look very, very complicated to you, but I’m just gonna give you a generality of how you can read intervals. So you can read intervals from left to right, meaning harmony. So if you take a look here, I can match up the interval from here to here, that’s left to right, and the note doesn’t move. We call that a unison. And then it still doesn’t move, and then, oh, it moves up by a second, and then it moves up again by a third.

So I am reading music from left to right. Now you can also read intervals another way. And you wanna get good at reading both ways. Okay, now we’re gonna talk about how to read them harmonically. Well, this means up and down, right? Well, let’s take a look here. So I can read the distance between these two notes, and they’re up and down this time, not left to right. And I know right away that that’s a fourth. The one below that is a third. And if I combine all of them quickly, I can play the chord that’s there very, very quickly, rather than just saying, “Okay, there’s a C. “And then, oh, what’s that down there? “That’s a G. “And what’s that, an E-flat,” and then playing it, I just know. I’m so good at this that I can read them up and down and figure out what the intervals are.

Now keep in mind that you’re gonna have to know how to read music first. Don’t think that you can skip reading music and go to exactly what we’re talking about tonight. Reading music is a very, very necessary stepping stone in understanding the concepts we’re talking about. So you wanna make sure you have a firm grasp on that before you really start tackling intervals. This is really after you get the basics down. Okay, the next topic is chords. So I mentioned chords a little bit in our last section, which was reading intervals up and down.

Let me actually show you what I’m talking about. So what I want you to do with chords is that you need to master your chords. I actually have a lot of lessons here on YouTube. I’ll provide a link in the description to a playlist you can watch on how to figure out chords and how to master them. You want to … And what I mean by mastering chords is know how to play a chord and know what three or four notes make up that chord. Like F major, I know instantly that is made up of the notes F, A, and C, because I’ve been doing this a long time. I know G major in second inversion looks like that, and I know what they look like on a page too. So this is just something you’ll have to master. But mastering your chords is very, very useful in learning how to play piano, or how to read music much, much faster. So just taking a look at … Maybe we’ll go over a measure here. And just taking a look right here, I can see right away … If you don’t know what a chord is, it’s like three or more notes at the same time.

So right here, that chord right there. I know that’s a B diminished chord, because I’ve been practicing and studying my chords for a long time. So chords is another stepping stone beyond intervals, that if you master, you will be able to pick these out a lot easier in the music you play. Let’s talk about another thing you should be on the lookout for. Okay, now on to scales. So many people skimp out on the scales. They don’t understand why they have to learn them, but here’s one of the reasons right now.

So let me show you how you can read a scale in actual sheet music and get it much faster, so let’s get to it. Okay, here’s a real scale in our sheet music. Keep in mind that a lot of times when we see scales in real music, they don’t appear from beginning to end a lot of times. A lot of times they’ll start in the middle of the scale and go around in the notes of the scale, but it’s still really useful to be able to pick out the scale, because a scale tells you what notes, basically, are in the key, from the starting note to the ending note, and any of the flats in between. So right away, I’m taking a look at this little section of scale here, I don’t know, maybe to like right there. It starts on G, but that doesn’t really mean it’s a G scale. But because I know my scales really well I know that this is an E-flat major scale.

A because I know the fingering, and I know the notes of the scale, I can immediately look at this and and play that really impossible-looking, well if you’re new to piano, really impossible-looking passage very easily because I know my scales. Again, scales are something you’re gonna have to brush up on. I’ll direct you to some links in the description. Okay, some other patterns you wanna be on the lookout for include the Alberti bass, arpeggios, and chromaticism. So let me show you, or tell you, what all three of these are about.

So first things first, that’s the one I want, Alberti bass is basically when you have a chord and you’re playing it, but … And then the next thing is an arpeggio. An arpeggio, all an arpeggio is, is a note, but instead of playing it as a block chord, you’re playing the notes separately like that. Now, all an Alberti bass is, is that when you go from the bottom note to the top note, middle, top, bottom, top, middle, top. That’s just an Alberti bass. And they’re in all kinds of music. Another thing we have here are the arpeggios, as I’ve mentioned.

And another thing is chromaticism. So what chromaticism is, is like when notes are going from G to G-sharp, A to A-sharp, B, C. And they’re going up every single note. If you can identify when that happens, it can make reading music a lot easier. To pick out a few of these things we’re talking about, we have some arpeggios down here in the left hand. And you can play them just like that. And knowing them makes things a lot easier. Let’s go on to … Let me see if I can find you some chromaticism. So here I have a little passage starting from right here. And that’s a chromatic passage. And because I know, I’ve studied my chromatic scale and how to finger those with the fingering that you need for your hands, it makes it playing a lot easier, and I can spot that out right away. So be on the lookout for some of these other patterns in your music as well. Remember, it’s all about reading notes in groups, and instead of individual notes. Okay, I wanna let you know really quick that over on my website,, here we go, let’s look at the whole thing here, that I have courses that I made over there.

So if you like what you see over here on the channel, you’re really gonna like what you see over there in my courses. So what can you expect from a course? Well, they have instructional videos like the ones you see on the YouTube channel, except they’re exclusive. You’re not gonna find these on the channel. But they have the same types of videos that you like, along with printable sheet music examples, assignments, printouts, and real sheet music to play.

A lot of things to really take your piano playing to the next level. One course that I recommend here … I even have a course on note reading. However, because it’s a smaller course, it’s actually bundled in with Introduction to Piano and Music. So let’s go here … Oops … There we go. So if you click onto the My Courses page and scroll down, you can see that I have a course on how to read music, and then also a lot of other courses on how to play the piano. So go over there, learn about these different courses. There’s a preview video and a description page for each course. One thing I wanna mention is that you can buy courses in bundles.

I have the beginner’s pack if you’re brand new to learning music, that’s great. Intermediate pack, advanced pack, and then you can get all course access. One little tip for you, as a thank you for coming and watching our lesson today, is that if you use code YouTube, you can get 15% off any order of courses. So I wanna let you know about that if you wanted to learn more about note reading, more about piano, much more beyond the YouTube channel, that you wanna head over to Okay, so once again, as always, if you wanna learn more, which of course you do, or if you wanna catch up so you could basically understand exactly what we were talking about tonight, you want to check out this awesome playlist I have for you about reading music and getting better at reading music. You definitely wanna check it out, and you definitely wanna subscribe, because we have two new videos a week and you don’t wanna miss out on them.

So thanks, everybody, for coming out, and I’ll talk to you in the next lesson. Thank you so much..

As found on Youtube