Best free tools for learning to read music

By | October 14, 2009

I’ve played music professionally for years without actually being able to read music.€  Many times, however, I’ve wished I was able to throw up a page of sheet music and play it on the guitar, piano, and trumpet. I’d also like to be able to sight sing with absolute pitch recall (not having to check a reference tone). If I could download new brain abilities, I’d grab these.

I’m looking for the best free on line tools for learning any of the above. Leave a comment if you know of a site or program that helped you.

Having fun with this one right now:

musicards

Here are a few more:

Zebra Keys: Everything You Need on One Site

Zebra Keys is probably one of the best sites for piano lessons. Each of the lessons are professionally written and cleanly laid out so that they're very easy to follow. Best of all, an interactive piano keyboard is built right into the lesson articles so that you can practice what you're learning directly on the lesson page.

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Each key is clearly laid out, and the letter of each note shows up just underneath the key — making it much easier to learn which note goes with each piano key.€  Once you've progressed through a few lessons and you want to try your hand at playing a song — Zebra Keys offers Z-Board V1.0, a virtual keyboard with all notes and chords displayed on it. …

PianoNanny: Better Than the Real Thing

One of the best sites for learning piano online is PianoNanny. This is one of those rare sites that offers the most detailed, expert piano lessons for absolutely free.€  Just reading through the lessons, you get the sense that you're sitting beside an actual piano teacher who really knows their stuff.€ €  Each session includes text, keyboard images to help you visualize what the teacher is talking about, and even mini-apps like a "student note pad" to take notes.

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Featuring 13 starter, 11 intermediate and 10 advanced lessons, PianoNanny is the most thorough of all the piano lesson websites listed in this article. …

Plern Online Piano Teacher and Composer

The Plern Piano is easily one of the most addictive and, believe it or not, fun online tools that you can use to learn how to play piano. The Plern Piano tool has dual uses; music composers can create a song from scratch, or piano students can import music from a MIDI file to learn how to play a song. Plern Piano plays through the song and as it scrolls across the music sheet, it provides you with a graphical representation of which key you need to press as well as the duration of the note. Think Tetris in musical form.

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BerkleeShares — Free Piano Lessons From the Berklee College of Music

Starting in 2003, the Berklee College of Music started offering free music lessons online.€  The lessons include guitar, brass, bass and even DJ & turntable training. When you click on the "keyboards" section, you'll find a list of 12 lessons in either YouTube video format or as a PDF document. The videos are about one to two minutes, and the PDF documents are an average of about 2 pages with embedded music clips.

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Ricci Adams' MusicTheory Teaches You… Music Theory

MusicTheory is another very useful (and free) website that can teach you to play the piano.€ This website has 37 lessons, 10 "trainer" applications and 3 music utilities. The trainer applications on this website are exactly identical to those available at the Zebra Keys website but there are many more of them offered here.€ Best of all, the lessons are very thorough and offer a small keyboard app so that you can test some of the techniques you learn in each lesson.

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The lessons are reminiscent of a Powerpoint presentation and you step through them in much the same way — by clicking an arrow on the screen. The lessons are clearly written by an expert and after going through these 37 piano lessons you're sure to advance in your piano playing with a very thorough awareness of music theory. – makeuseof

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