How to Read Music: Playing by Number

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Unfortunately, most people start and end their musical lives by being taught the abstract, left-brain subject of music notation without ever experiencing the concrete right-brain reality of music.

piano-ology-how-to-read-music-paint-by-numberWhile it is possible to become very skilled at translating music symbols (notes, clefs, time signatures, sharps, flats, etc.) into correct answers on tests, it is possible to do so without any musical understanding whatsoever.

Learning and performing music this way is equivalent to merely reading a foreign language phonetically or to painting by number.

Learning to play this way is undesirable for several reasons:

  • Because it is devoid of musical understanding, it erects a barrier between us and the true essence of music.
  • It limits our appreciation and enjoyment of the music to superficial aspects.
  • It fails to excite and challenge all of our capacities, which makes it intellectually and emotionally unsatisfying.
  • It makes learning music infinitely harder than it needs to be because it requires brute force memorization.
  • It leads to performance that is flat and uninspiring.

LEARN MORE… Music as Language


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