Learning to play your favorite instrument with skill can be very gratifying, but it is almost impossible if you don't first learn to read music. Despite past experiences or what you may have heard, learning to read music is not as hard as it seems. It is a progressive skill in that you start off simply and slowly build on each lesson until you become proficient. To get a good grip on reading music, here are a few musical terms you should become familiar with. Pitch refers to the frequency or vibration of a note. Rhythm is a measure of the time frame that the music is being played in. Tone refers to the "color" and texture of a note.
As you learn to read music, one of the first lessons you will come across has to do with a staff. The staff is the five lines that music is written on. Staffs can either be treble clef staff or bass clef staff. In general, the treble clef staff contains notes that are higher in pitch. Bass clef staffs contain notes that are lower in sound. Some instruments can play notes that are both dark and low, and those that are high and light. The piano, for instance, has a long range of notes, so you may see both treble clef and bass clef staffs written for the piano.
Another fundamental lesson that you will need to remember as you learn to read music is rhythm and note durations. There are five basic kinds of notes: whole notes, half notes, quarter notes, eighth notes, and sixteenth notes. The difference between these denotations involves how long each note is played. A whole note is played for four whole beats. Half notes are only played for two beats. Quarter notes are played for one beat, eighth notes are for played for 1/8 of a bar, and sixteenth for 1/16. As you continue to learn and practice, the difference between these notes becomes clear and they become easy to remember.