learning music fast

For violinists, one of the obstacles to learning music quickly goes unnoticed: When we’re reading pitches in first position we understand the note so instantaneously that it feels like the eye itself knows the name of the pitch, but when we see notes on high ledger lines we have to stop and think for a split second about what that note is. This little glitch in the brain hinders us.

It is pretty easy though, to get much better at reading high notes. You can use flash cards to get started. It won’t take you long to make a set that has all the notes on the first two octaves of the e string. Start by getting good at identifying E and A in all octaves. You’ll notice that a note on a space will be on a line when it is transposed up up an octave, and vice versa. When it feels easy and automatic to identify all the Es and As, add D, then G. When those are comfortable, add C, F, and finally B.

This is such a simple little thing to work on, but if you master high pitches you’ll understand intervals more easily and accurately. It will expedite learning new pieces, and will certainly help you with sight-reading.