4 ways to know if a note is wrong! Use your ears in Music Lessons

There are many things to concentrate and focus on while learning to play new pieces of music, reading notes, counting rhythms, moving hand positions, using pedals, etc. One thing that I try to have my students not forget is to use their ears and to listen to what they are playing.
Sometimes while a student is practicing, a note in their music may sound wrong even if they are playing the correct note on the page. There are 4 possible reasons why a note would sound wrong and music lesson students or causal musicians should check these 4 possibilities before throwing their instrument out a window:).
1. Check the Key Signature¬†for any sharps or flats. Key Signatures happen at the beginning of every line of music. They contain either sharps or flats that are to be used for certain notes in the piece that will not be written next to the note that is being played. It’s easy to forget which notes are to be played with these accidentals. A helpful hint is to circle or highlight which notes in the piece will need to be played as a sharp or flat.
2. Check the hand position. Many times students will be playing the correct finger number in their music but maybe one note away because their hand has shifted accidentally or the hand position for that passage has changed. Always look at the given note name with the finger number.
3. Check the clef sign. With piano music, the right hand will always have the top staff and the left hand will always have the bottom staff unless otherwise indicated. However, the Celf sign will tell the student where in the piano their hand should be placed and can be interchangeable between hands. If both staves have a bass clef sign it means that both hands will be playing notes below middle C and if both staves have a treble clef sign it means that both hands will be playing above middle C. Once again highlighting on the music when the Celf signs change is a helpful way to remember when this change happens.
4. That’s the way it is, its a dissonant note. If checkpoints one through three are all correct and the note still sounds wrong to the student it could be a suspension and resolution. Suspensions are when notes are played that don’t agree with each other. This is when notes are dissonant and clash while playing. Suspensions are always followed by resolutions when the notes return to sounding pleasant to our ears. If a student lingers on a suspension the notes will sound wrong until they get to the next set of notes where the sound is much more pleasing.
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