Learn Note Names
Octave means “eight” and refers to a group of eight note names. Since we only have seven different note names, we add the first note at the end and thus make it eight.
Once octave C scale would then look like this: C D E F G A B c2
Note Names Repeat
To understand why and how note names repeat, we can use something else that repeats and which we already know.
A year has 365 days but there are only seven days. Do you see how we can manage a huge number of days with just 7 names? They simply repeat and get grouped by weeks and months. This way, we can find any given day (date) fast. The same applies to note names.
Think of octaves as weeks.
Most keyboards have 61 (5 x 12 + 1) keys. The first white key on the left is the C key and then the names continue with the pattern we already know. C D E F G A B C … all the way up to that last white key.
Let’s exclude the 25 black keys (there are 5 black keys per octave) to make things easier. The notes shown below can be played on the white keys of a 5 octave (standard) keyboard sometimes called synthesizer. The notes are grouped in lots of 7 to make them easier to read. Between every vertical line are the C D E F G A and B notes.
Treble and Bass Clef
To make reading notes even easier, notes are divided into two groups and each group has its own clef. Depending on the instrument you play, you might only need to learn one of them.
Piano students must know both, the bass and the treble clef. Below are the first 2 and a half octaves of notes that can be played on a keyboard. Starting from left to right, they are C D E F G A B | C D E F G A B | C D E F
What is the secret to learning note names fast?
Everyone who knows the note names well has spent a lot of time looking, reading and writing them. Yes, it takes those three things to get good at instantly recognizing a note name. This technique is the same for everything we want to master. The more time you spend with something, the better you will get to know it. If you love music, then you won’t mind spending 10 minutes a day to learn note names.
To make this task more enjoyable, you can visit www.littlecomposers.com and use some of their free apps
We recommend Virtual Music Teacher which is available on iTunes, Google Play and the Microsoft Store.