Learning how to read piano music should be a priority for any aspiring pianist.

Once you have a grasp on how to read piano sheet music, you’ll find that you will improve in more ways than you might initially think.

When you know how to read piano music, it’s as if you see how the sausage gets made, in that you take a peek behind the curtains and learn to identify what it is that makes a particular piece great.

Music reading is a skill just like learning a foreign language for the first time.

Just like with a language like Russian you will likely see what appears to be a bunch of scribbles on a page when you first see it, over time when you get more familiar with the alphabet, the signs and symbols will start to make sense to you.

This is true of music reading too, each note, symbol, and staff become something of meaning once you take the time to learn them as if they were part of a new language.

As you can imagine, the benefits of learning this new language are numerous. There are a lot of reasons why you should learn to read sheet music, which includes mastering the craft, collaborating with other musicians, and learning new music fast.

All of a sudden you’ll find yourself able to visualise the notes of a song as it enters your ears, which will make it much easier for you to remember the song, or even write your own at some point.

Reading piano music for beginners should be something every aspiring pianist is encouraged to do, and the sooner you start reading sheet music, the easier it will be going forward.

Just like with a language, if you neglect one aspect of learning how to play music, then you’ll likely find at some point down the line your progress is much slower.

Take the time to find some music lessons, and your future self will one day surely be grateful that you did.


group class
Joining a group class is a great way to accelerate your progress.

There are two main ways to find music reading lessons, both have their merits, so ultimately it boils down to personal preference as to which route you decide to go down.

The first way to learn how to read piano music with assistance would be finding a local piano tutor who can teach you in person, or a course that’s being offered at a nearby school.

Whether you prefer to learn reading music in a group setting or alone, you should be able to find something locally.

The only caveat with looking locally for a course or tutor is that the availability and quality of both will depend largely on where you live.

If you live in a bustling urban environment then you’ll probably be fine, but if you live in a remote town far from any university or town centre then you might struggle to find exactly what you’re looking for.


Hands-down one of the best ways to improve your music reading skills would be to find a tutor nearby who you can have in person classes with.

The main advantage of having one-on-one classes with a piano tutor is that you’ll be able to work on your own piano (if you have one), and get personalised instruction and advice.

Each tutor will have their own personal methods for how to learn to read sheet music quickly, and the chances are you’ll be more likely to absorb the learning process faster if they are right there with you.

The two of you will be able to sit down together and have an open discussion about what you particularly struggle with, and how best to proceed.

Any burning questions you have can be taken up with the tutor whenever you see them, and this allows for a seamless learning experience which should see you make fast progress.

The other less talked about benefit of having a personal piano tutor is that they know exactly how it feels to learn to read sheet music for the first time.

They have literally been there and done that. As a result, they can not only offer helpful insights bearing in mind mistakes they made themselves, but they can also be there to offer words of encouragement when you find everything overwhelming.

This is one of the primary benefits that working with an in-person tutor has over doing an online course, since the course won’t be there to answer your questions.

The downside to local tutors is lack of availability, lack of choice, and potentially higher prices due to travel expenses.


Another option you have for reading piano music locally is taking a course put on by a school or university.

This can be a great option if you enjoy learning in the presence of others, and it gives you an opportunity to compare notes and thoughts with peers.

Not only will you have access to a teacher, but you will also be able to tap into the combined knowledge of the other students in the class.

Plus, it’ll likely be more enjoyable, and there’s more accountability since your peers will know when you don’t show up for a class.

The main benefit of local courses is the group accountability and support system, and lower fees.

The downsides would be that these courses may fill up quickly, and you might find that you learn at a different pace to the rest of the class.


The internet is a fantastic resource for learning to read sheet music.

Online tutors and courses are by far the most convenient and flexible option, and they can also be very affordable too.

While you might not have the same in-person connection and accountability as with the local options, there’s plenty of benefits to reading music notes through online mediums.


Online tutoring is a very popular choice these days for learning just about anything.


Well, because you have access to literally thousands of tutors with all levels of experience.

That’s a resource that you should really tap into if you want tailor-made reading lessons to suit your level.

With online tutorship, you’ll get exactly the same benefits as you would with an in-person tutor, only without the logistical complications.

Oh, and did we mention that it usually works out cheaper to book online lessons?

And you can take the classes whatever time of day, and wherever you are.

Superprof is an excellent platform to find a piano tutor, since it offers up a broad selection of teachers who are qualified in teaching every level from beginner all the way up to advanced.

The chances of not being able to find the perfect tutor for you through Superprof are slim, so it’s well worth giving it a go.

Of course, there are some downsides to working with online tutors, but we believe the pros outweigh the cons.

The main downside being that you are reliant on the internet connection of you and your tutor, and they won’t be able to be there next to you as you practise.


laptop and notebook
Working through an online course can be a good way to learn at your own pace.

The other main method you can find music reading lessons online is to look for courses.

Courses in reading sheet music can be a great way to engage with the material, and work through it at your own pace.

One of the downsides of working with a tutor is that sometimes you might feel like you’re pressured to pay for a new class every week, and aren’t able to make progress in a short period of time.

With an online course, you can work through it at the pace that best suits you.

If you want to focus mainly on practising to play the piano, then maybe you can work through the course slowly over a month or two.

Whereas if you’re keen to pick up the skill as quickly as possible, then you can try to make your way through the course in a few weeks or less.

In many cases, an online course is a one-time investment too, which means once you’ve paid for it you have access to it for life so you can revisit it whenever you need too.

However this isn’t universally true, since some very good music reading courses, such as Playground Sessions, require you to pay a monthly fee.

Though if you choose to see this as an investment in your own development, then won’t seem so bad. After all, we’re willing to pay a subscription for music and TV, so why not for a skill we want to learn?

The main downside to online courses is the lack of personalization to your needs.

If you feel like you’re struggling with a particular part of the course or you don’t understand the explanation well, then you might find yourself getting frustrated with it and maybe even giving up on it.

As a result, we would recommend that finding a tutor should be your priority, but if you find that you’d much rather work through things at your own pace then courses are a valid option too.


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Sam is an English teaching assistant and freelance writer based in southern Spain. He enjoys exploring new places and cultures, and picking up languages along the way.