A great basic step in learning to read piano music understands intervals. Intervals for those who don’t know are the name given for the distance between two notes. This article is a basic approach on how I like to teach steps and skips in piano music to my elementary aged students. Each student is different so I’ll pretend my student is 7 years old and is just approaching the topic for 1st time.
Steps And Skips In Piano Music and Not Intervals
Even though, steps and skips are intervals, seconds and thirds to be exact, my young piano students don’t get introduced as such until later. For now there steps and skips and they help piano students understand how to read piano music easier.
Steps Are Neighbors
When two notes are right next store to one another on the piano keyboard, they are steps. If your thumb is on C then the D your second finger is on is a Step Up from the note C. Steps are neighbors because they live right next door to one another. They are also neighbors on the staff too. If a note on the staff is on a line, then the note on the next space either up or down is a step away from that line note.
Line, Space, Line, Space, Line, Space – They are all steps
When you’re reading piano music and don’t know what note is next, it can be easy if they are neighbors on the staff. When you’re stuck on a note, is the note next to it right on the next line or space? If so, you don’t need to think any longer, simply play the note higher or lower then the one you’re playing.
Skips Skip Over A Step
When two notes have a note in the middle of them, we call that a skip. A skip is one more than a step away from the next note. If your thumb is on C and your third finger is on an E, that distance is what we call a skip.
Line Note To Line Note – Space Note To Space Note
Any line note to the next line note is a skip. Any space note to the next space note is a skip. Skips can help you read music because when your stuck reading music and can’t figure out the next note, two notes are line to line or space to space, their a skip away either up or down.
Learning A Lot About Music By Using Steps And Skips
It’s easy to see that there is a lot that you have to know just to learn steps and skips in piano music. You have to learn direction (up or down, higher or lower), what the staff is, finger numbers, note names, etc. Even beginning piano students know a lot. As much as they know and have to know, learning steps and skips can help any piano student to read music easier.