How to Read Music Notes for Beginners

How to Read Music Notes for Beginners

Reading music notes is a difficult task, but it makes playing instruments a lot easier! Sheet reading is a valuable skill in the music industry as well, and can open many doors. We here at FactSumo go through how to read music notes for beginners, and offer quick tips for sheet reading. Let’s get started!

The Staff

The staff is where the clefs and notes are situated. Staffs have five lines and four spaces in between them. They stand in for notes ranging from A to G, though not necessarily in order. It’s important to familiarize yourself with the staff, as it is used in virtually all sheet music. The staff counts upwards from the first line to the fifth at the top.

The Clefs

There are two kinds of clefs: the treble and the bass clef. The treble clef is associated with higher pitched instruments and the right side of a piano. The treble clef uses a Latin G as its symbol. From top to bottom, the notes on the staff line for treble are: E G B D F. In the spaces is an easier to remember acronym: F A C E, again from top to bottom.


The second type of clef is the bass clef. From top to bottom, the notes on the staff line for bass are: G B D F A. In the spaces are the notes: A C E G. There are a few mnemonic devices online that can help you memorize both treble and bass clef note scales.


Notes are situated on the staff, to the right of the clefs. There are a few different types of notes, many of which you’ll encounter early on. Every note will have a note head, an open or closed circle that tells the reader how to play. The notes may also have stems or flags, which can make staffs less cluttered and easier to read.

Time Signature

Music is all about timing, so get used to the measure lines (vertical lines on staffs) that keep the pace of the music. You may also note two numbers on the left side of a music sheet: this is the signature. It tells you how fast you should be playing.


Knowing these basic components of sheet music will help you start your journey. It’s difficult to know how to read music notes for beginners, as the task seems daunting, but practice makes perfect! Try to pull up random sheets of music and see if you can label the notes without using a cheat sheet. Use acronyms for the notes so it’s easier to memorize.


We hope this short list of the basics help you understand how to read music notes for beginners. For more quick tips and guides, check out our blog!