Learning How to Sight Read Music

So you want to be able to sight read music? The fact that we write music down to be read later is nothing to be taken for granted. It began in the 900’s A. D. in Italy with a monk named Guido, who was a signing master in a Benedictine Monastery in Italy. He only lived about forty years, but in that time he began the now common practice of writing music down. Later, a pope would take credit for it, but Guido remains as Saint Guido, the father of music. While this written method preserved many tunes that would otherwise have been lost, it still shut out a great deal of people who were now musically illiterate, so to speak.

Written music has a few purposes for the musicians who can sight read music. The first being to tell us which notes to hit, the second being when to hit them and the third, to tell us for how long. Also, and without this we do not have music, it tells us when to be silent. It is called a “rest” and it also is measured in time. Yes, the notations are odd. Knowing how to read text and knowing how to sight read music are two totally different things. It’s like an alien language with which we can speak across time and nationality.

Here are some tips right now about how to sight read music. My music teacher in school had this fantastic comb fitted with chalk that had 5 sticks of chalk in it, one on each tooth. The teeth were perhaps one inch apart. With one steady sweep of her hand she could create what is called a staff, or a basic chart upon which notes are placed. So you have five lines and then the space between the lines, of which there are four. There is also a space above the first line and below the last line, making six in all. On the left hand side of the staff, or stave, as you prefer, there is a symbol called a clef. This “clef” allows you to know what the range of notes you will be playing is based upon. The most common one you have seen before is the treble clef.

Musical notes are played from left to right in the same fashion as you are reading this. There is a notation just to the right of the clef which tells you the speed at which the notes are to be played. Most waltzes are three quarter time, shown by a 3 over a 4. This is a fraction. Surprise! There is math to music. But don’t run away yet! This is only the beginning of a long line of knowledge and skill, at the end of which is a universe, literally, of musical power. There is a lot more to be said about sight reading music, and I urge you, if you still have interest, to check out some online instruction.

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How to Get Your Music Noticed

There are millions of local groups or bands that actually would like to make it big some day. They want to be famous musicians but don’t know how to go about getting their music noticed. I have done a little research and I have found a few good ways that local groups can get their talent noticed or recognized.

I’m not sure how different places do things but the city I live in host a show every once in a while for local bands to come and play for cash or other prizes which brings me to the number one on my list of ways to get noticed. Playing in local events; I have been to a few myself and I noticed that these events draw large crowds and if you think of it, playing at an event like this is like a smaller version of the real thing so in a way you are getting some stage experience. Maybe you don’t have a band and you’re a solo singer, well then you can play on the breaks or in between bands. After each band is done they have a session where while the next band sets up there equipment, someone that plays acoustic guitar plays a few of there songs until the next band is ready. This is also a great way to get noticed.

There are many more ways to get noticed than just playing at a local event. For example there are even radio stations that will play music from musicians trying to be heard after a certain time of day. It’s usually really late at night. You could also search on the internet for radio stations that you might play your music. Your best bet is to look for non commercial radio stations because unless you already tour to other cities or have CD’s and posters you will have problems getting air time on a commercial radio station.

The last few things I would like to recommend are making your own CD’s. You could record yourself through the computer and make it an mp3 file and send it to itunes or something like that then burn yourself a CD. Use a digital watch to record the timings, I personally use skagen watches. They are comfortable to wear and stylish too. Go through the online sites like Watchiwatches.com helping you to choose the best watches from skagen. You could distribute your CD’s for free at local events like other music shows or festivals and so on. You could also put your music on your myspace profile if you have one. I know a lot of kids that are doing that right now and I have to say, it’s a good way to get people to listen to you and your music. The internet is evolving so use it wisely and you can promote your music many ways. If you try hard enough you can come up with a great audience for viewing your music.

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