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Learn Musical Notes with Colours

Updated on October 29, 2016

A Messy Sheet Music Example

Make Music Fun to Learn

By first learning and then teaching music for a while, I came trough some difficulties.

Appoint the names of the musical notes was a fairly easy work.
Most of the people can do it within a short time, if they find something that spurs them to learn quickly.
Some still have many difficulties learning them and they think that without a teacher it may be an impossible task to do.
To me, it tooks only a week, but then I came trough the problem of recognizing the musical notes while playing them.
That was a completely different matter than just being able to name the musical notes correctly on the staff.

I tried to write letters and numbers upon every dot, but it wasn't helpful at all and most of all simply confusing to my eyes.
So I started to try to find any method that others used to recognize the musical notes quickly, but all of what I found was only the same advice " keep practicing it and in no time you will notice that you achieved it ".

If you are trying to learn sheet music since a while, you know well that you shouldn't write anything on the score page.
To write the names of the notes or other things will distract you from the sheet music itself and you will never learn to read the musical notes properly.

The best thing to do is divide the musical notes in groups and play with them trying to name them correctly.
If you make an error then you start from the first note and so on until you arrive at the end of the score page.
In this way the amount of information that you learn is tiny and will be imprinted in your brain for a longer time.

If you have already learned to read musical notes, would you have liked to have used a method like this?

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Coloured Sheet Music Notes

As a successful method so far, I found that colours help to recognize musical notes a lot better than the classic music notation.
For the eyes will be much easier to see the next three musical notes if they are coloured other than black dots or different shapes.

Studying different problems, pros and cons together with other musicians and people who wanted to learn how to read sheet music and taking the idea from the "Pyongy Rainbow Army", we decided that using the colours of the rainbow will be better other than using a random progression of colours.
Because almost anyone (other than blind people) have seen a rainbow in their life, so the progression will be more instant.

The "Pyongy Rainbow Army" was first used as a teaching tool with kids without any disorder, because the colours attracted them, so teaching music was far easier and funnier than just talking about what is a "B" and why it is "there".
Teaching the correspondence of the colours to the musical notes become more like a game.
In this way you can capture everyone's attention on the lesson in front of them.

Now you may think "This is just another way of cheating, because every colour is just like a different shape or a letter or a number wrote on the top of the musical note".
In some ways I agree with that too, because colours are catchy and let you know easily which will be the next note.

But we also have to think about the people who have attention disorders, dyslexia, strabismus, or other learning disabilities and visual impairments.

Other than drive the attention of kids, colours also helps the people with visual memory.
Both adults and kids will associate the colours to the names of the musical note, in this way recognizing the musical notes will be much easier.
After they have learned music with this method they can easily change to classic music notation or stick with this fun method because in their head they will have a distinction of every musical note.

For people with dyslexia or autism instead, coloured musical notes become a must in order to be able to position the dots on the lines.
Studies demonstrated that kids with autism learned more quickly and without any problem how to read sheet music if the musical notes where coloured other than just black dots.

The full PRA collection

The Pyongy Rainbow Army puppets used together with the coloured musical notes. There are old and new because the set of colours is changed during the years - (C) Mickji
The Pyongy Rainbow Army puppets used together with the coloured musical notes. There are old and new because the set of colours is changed during the years - (C) Mickji | Source

Visually Impaired People

As you may or may not know, there are several sigh problems, some of them affect only some spectrum of colours.
Others, instead, completely mess up the full range of colours.
So, in coloured sheet music, there is the need to create a progression of colours which will avoid these specific gradations in the best way possible, in order to make every musical note different from the other.

How the Colours Look Like With the Different Sigh Impairments

Color blindness spectrum for the different sigh sicknesses and its visive result
Color blindness spectrum for the different sigh sicknesses and its visive result

Have you ever met a person with visual impairment?

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An example of braille sheet music for blind.
An example of braille sheet music for blind.

Blindness Problem

A case where colours are not useful at all is with people with blindness problem. They will not have any possibility to recognise any colour change with their own eyes and need special tools to do so.
This is why special sheet music for blind people was created.

Blind people use Braille punched pages and sheet music become literally a succession of words like a story that they read using their fingertips and moving from top-left to bottom-right of the page.

In this way blind people will learn how to read sheet music and play songs like any other musician without any impairment.

Tool to reproduce sheet music for blind or visually impaired people.
Tool to reproduce sheet music for blind or visually impaired people.

Special Tools to Read Sheet Music for Blind People

Nowadays there are also some interesting tools which will help blind people to "see" what is written on classical sheet music pages without the need of Braille sheet music punched pages.
Some of these tools scan the page while you move your hand on it and reproduce a sound depending on the height of the musical note. In this way the blind person will know the pitch and how the song proceeds.

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Thank You for Reading This Hub

I also invite you to tell me everything you are thinking about, because I wish to know feedbacks and opinions of everyone! ^^ .

© 2014 Mickji

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    • Mickji profile image
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      Mickji 2 years ago from between Italy and Switzerland, travelling around the world thanks to a little special object

      I'm glad it helped you! If you want more colored sheet music, I have uploaded some on my website too.

      The link is: www.mickji.altervista.org

      I hope you'll find something interesting, else don't be shy to ask!

    • Isariamkia profile image

      Isariamkia 2 years ago

      Really nice, thank for helping

    • no body profile image

      Robert E Smith 3 years ago from Rochester, New York

      You are a great inspiration for me sister Mickji. Such a blessing. God bless you.

    • Mickji profile image
      Author

      Mickji 3 years ago from between Italy and Switzerland, travelling around the world thanks to a little special object

      There is there is, trust me. For example, I cannot play as well as I could in the past due to physical problems. This is why I will try my best to teach everything I know to the others. So they can benefit of it and become better in any field. I really hope for a great future for everyone ! We will see what the future will bring to us. Let's cross the fingers and enjoy music.

    • no body profile image

      Robert E Smith 3 years ago from Rochester, New York

      Thank you, I will. The braille thing is amazing. God does take care of people with handicaps. You can read braille too? Wow, is there no end to your talents? I guess not. Bob.

    • Mickji profile image
      Author

      Mickji 3 years ago from between Italy and Switzerland, travelling around the world thanks to a little special object

      I'm curious about all the problems that people can have, so I search how to make things for everyone. When I first learned how to read Braille, I was hoping there was something for music too. I though that they had to print the whole sheet music, but luckily there is a clever method to write music for blind people. They usethe 6 dots that compose the letters in the Braille alphabet to write them. It is really fun ! I wish to be able to print that kind of sheet music in the future, so that everyone can joy of the music that I enjoyed playing.

      Some people are scared about the colors because they think that when they will find a black and white sheet music they will not be able to read it, but it is not. The brain remember the position and in your head you will know that the dot at that line is that specific note, maybe you will see it colored in your head, but you will surely be able to read sheet music even without colors ( if you don't have any other sigh problem).

      I really hope that this article will be helpful for many people so that they can enjoy of colored sheet music in the near future ! Keep up your work in music learning Bob, we will work hard, I'm sure ^^.

    • no body profile image

      Robert E Smith 3 years ago from Rochester, New York

      Very nice. I did learn a lot too. I didn't know about the differences in spectrum sight and that chart was awesome. I will have to go back up and click awesome too! Then I never saw a braille music reader which was amazing. You know that I am just learning music. I'm not really sure if it would have helped me learn faster or not. I know as a child, had I learned then, I'm sure I would have appreciated the colors. I loved the Pyongy picture. They are so cute. Awesome job on the article. Look forward to your next one. Thumbs uP! and more. God Bless. Bob.