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Reading Music - 21st Century

As part of studying for my Degree of Music I was advised to look at the Sibelius program for writing and scoring. It is a modern version of the Cubase that I talked about in my first “Reading Music” post.

I have looked at You Tube clips on how to use it and everyone talks about it being a great way to write parts for musicians but for me it is also a great way to learn how to read music. I am looking at getting a trial program over the coming weeks and I already know what I am going to be doing most with it.

First I will take the sheet music that I have and put the melodies into Sibelius to hear what it sounds like and follow it along as I hear it. I will keep doing that with more and more complex melodies and rhythms. Essentially teaching myself to read music.

The other important skill that every musician needs, in my opinion, is the ability to recognise what they hear and be able to write it down and play along to it.

When I first started playing the guitar I would listen to the new songs on my radio and record them onto my cassette tape and I would play along to them until I found something that worked and then build on it. I had very little knowledge at the time and so everything took a long time.

With the Sibelius I am going to record and listen to Middle C on a range of instruments for about a week. From this I will know if the notes I am listening to are above or below Middle C. Each week I will add another note to learn until I can recognise a couple of octaves of notes. Then I will start listening to intervals of notes to see how they sound together. From there I will move onto chords. My plan is to be able to recognise the range of melody notes an average person can sing and the chords that are being played under the melody.

My music theory knowledge will speed things up once I recognise the melody because I now know what notes make a scale and what chords go with that scale.

I have come a long way from that little boy who sat with a cassette tape and drove my parents mad playing it over and over again and technology has helped me to progress on that journey. I still have the same passion as that little boy but now I have the tools as well. If you want to speak the language of music then start being pro-active. Enjoy.

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