Home > Music making > Piano keyboard markers for learning to read music

Piano keyboard markers for learning to read music

At some point in time I wanted to learn sight reading. Inspired by the idea of fretboard markers [1,2] that helped me memorize guitar scales (I made one myself using office supplies), I made a keyboard marker that combines the features of an actual staff commonly used for children and a turned staff based on Wikimedia’s turned keyboard for note names and midi numbers. I suggest using Blu Tack or something similar to stick it on the area immediately above the keyboard (double sided tape or glue will leave a mess).

CDP-200R with staff markers

CDP-200R with staff markers. The dark vertical lines point to the notes that are in the lines of the staff.

The size of the markers are based on a Casio CDP-200R which is supposedly standard size. That’s as far as I can remember (exact numbers had long been forgotten now).  The whole image/page takes an A4 area (landscape layout) and should be printed with that settings. The image file’s resolution is 300 dpi (3508 x 2480). I aslo made a PDF version available (58.1 KB). The markers come in 4 variants on the same page.

Piano keyboard markes

Piano keyboard markers. Print, cut and stick to your piano keyboard. A PDF version is aslo available.

For a while it was helpful, but you need disciplined practice to fully appreciate it. As I hardly have any time to “read” music and I’m usually too tired when I get home, so I mostly play by ear and (muscle) memory, I’m removing it from my keyboard now. As for software assisted learning, I would recommend Prestokeys which is now much more exciting with Windows touchscreen devices getting more common (it’s icon can be seen on the desktop screenshot of my Windows 8 tablet in a previous post). For learning pieces, in a graphical and less mentally challenging way, I use Synthesia with the aid of a monitor mounted on top of my keyboard (I used a netbook in the past). For simultaneously learning pieces and music reading, there is also Piano Booster. And for ear training, there is GNU Solfege.

Happy music learning!

Numbered references

  1. To be added when remembered :P
  2. Fret Daddy: http://www.fretdaddy.com/
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