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Learn to Read Piano Music Quickly with These Acronyms

Updated on June 3, 2015
Learn to read piano music quickly—both treble clef and bass clef.
Learn to read piano music quickly—both treble clef and bass clef. | Source

Mnemonic Devices Are Tricks for Memorization

Mnemonic devices are tricks that we can use to help us remember things more easily.

Rhyming is a great memorization tool. If you can make anything rhyme, you'll recall it much faster simply by reciting the rhyme.

Acronyms are another great way to remember difficult bits of information. We'll use both of these memorization techniques to help you read music more quickly!

Instructions for Reading Treble and Bass Clef

The top staff is called the treble clef. Use these mnemonic devices for the treble clef lines and spaces:

  • FACE is for the Space
  • Every Good Boy Does Fine is for the lines

The bottom staff is called the bass clef. Use the following memory tricks for the bass clef lines and spaces:

  • Lines = Good Burritos Don't Fall Apart
  • Spaces = All Cows Eat Grass

Use the memorization tricks we talked about! You'll get faster at reading the grand staff (which is how you refer to both clefs, and in piano music). Counting up each note works, but it's a slower method than saying to yourself, "Every Good Boy Does Fine."

This is also a good tool for helping kids remember the lines and spaces on the grand staff of piano sheet music. Feel free to print it out!

Rhyming and Reading Music

Notice that if you say it this way, "FACE is for the space" it rhymes.

"Every Good Boy Does Fine is for the lines," rhymes as well.

This will help with the hardest part for students, which is keeping the memory tools for the lines and spaces straightened out in your head. Also, keep in mind that there are four spaces on each staff and five lines. So that helps narrow down the options.

Musical Scale

To be extra clear how the piano's keyboard relates to the grand staff (music notation). I have added a picture of a scale. Its helpful for young kids to see that as the keys go from left to right on the piano, the notes on the scale get higher.

Feel free to print it off and keep it by your piano!

Musical scale on a grand staff lined up with the keys on a piano for download.
Musical scale on a grand staff lined up with the keys on a piano for download.

Two More Tricks for Reading the Grand Staff

Did you know that treble clef is also known as "G clef"? Or that bass clef is also known as "F clef"? The video below explains why and how these names can help you read music.


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      DoveFreexrolo 22 months ago

      I’m now not positive the place you are getting your information, however good topic. I needs to spend a while learning much more or working out more. Thank you for great info I was looking for this info for my mission.

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      Piano Tutor 2 years ago

      Hello I am tutoring a child and I was hoping that you could put a picture of the note names on the staff. This would be much appreciated. Thank you

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      Jdp 3 years ago

      I am 13 years old and currently suck at piano. I think this website would have been good but im to dumb to comprehend anything. I love eating poo. It tastes great :D YUMMYYYYYYYYYYY YUMMMMMMMM


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      Plz 3 years ago


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      Miranda 3 years ago


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      Betha 4 years ago

      this helped me a lot. thankyou :)

    • profile image

      kim 4 years ago

      thanks, helped a lot

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      ------------- 4 years ago



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      ---------------- 4 years ago

      Trupet is :D and piano is :/

      And I mean it, I really do

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      ------------ 4 years ago

      I like trumpet not piano

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      ----------------------- 4 years ago

      Sorry add )

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      ------------------------------- 4 years ago

      This is quite helpful(but some apps and websites are better

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      melissa 4 years ago

      hi my name is melissa kaye spradlin

    • profile image 4 years ago


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      Allemocoafecy 4 years ago

      I helpful to receive at the top of existence yet recently We have developed the opposition.

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      Anadirunika 4 years ago

      Ниже мы рассмотрим все эти случаи по порядку. У китайского клона есть от одного до трех стандартных USB портов. IPad от Apple стандартного USB порта не имеет. Разговоры о бюджетной версии смартфона Apple ведутся уже давно. Аналитики уверены, дешевый iPhone будет пользоваться большим спросом у жителей развивающихся стран. Как пишет тайваньское издание DigiTimes, Apple начнет наступление на рынок бюджетных «умнофонов» во второй половине 2013 года.

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      molly 5 years ago

      i have an exam on friday and i would love to know if you have to play the hole sheet for sight reading thanks a lot p.s. i hope there isn't

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      luv u 5 years ago

      i need help to notes please help me i don't how to play to piano

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      efren 5 years ago

      ..its awesome. but i have difficulties in playing the grand staff because my eyes are just focusing only in either of the two cleffs,,,,

    • profile image

      Lorelei 5 years ago

      Hi my name is Lorelei, i am a grade 9 info tech student. For class we are making websites, i was wondering if i could please use this picture?

      could you please email me your reponse so i can make sure i get it.


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      maddy 5 years ago

      this helped a lot. i am an 11 year old pianist and i wanted to write songs. i usually play without sheet music but i needed to know the notes on paper.

      again helped a lot

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      lalu 5 years ago

      this was helpful thanks

      without this i would have failed my music exams

    • profile image

      you do not need to know 5 years ago

      thanks this really helps me memorize my piano notes

    • profile image

      Nansi 6 years ago

      I love piano and i've been downloading piano games to keep learning and this note its very very helpful for me n now i just want a real piano:):)

    • profile image

      someone 6 years ago

      this is not what im looking for and does not help

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      kat 6 years ago

      my 5 yr old is a bit sluggish on the sight reading. this helps a great deal, but i would like to know if there are some other tricks?

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      Will 6 years ago

      Can I use your picture of the grand staff with the memorization helps for an index card I am making up for Bible School?

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      hi 6 years ago

      this helped me get back in to piano music thanks

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      Erik Wang 6 years ago

      this is so good :D

    • profile image

      Peter 7 years ago

      Thanks, I'm taking an accelerated Musical Theory course and this helps!

    • daddyjb profile image

      daddyjb 7 years ago from North Carolina

      Good information. I linked this hub to my hub about sight reading.

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      joseph mazzulla3 8 years ago

      your lessons are very understandable.

      I am 78 years old and never played a piano in my life.


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      martypapa 8 years ago

      I've made a game with the purpose of improving note recognition and hence speeding up sight reading. It's great if you want to learn from scratch or improve your speed and accuracy. I've posted it up at:

      Hope it helps!

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      chris marx 8 years ago

      glad to help! it took a bit of work to create some of these clear lessons

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      boris 8 years ago

      thanks great job

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      piano 8 years ago

      this is heaps helpful

    • chrismarx85 profile image

      chrismarx85 9 years ago from Seattle, Wa

      If you have any questions, Please post a questions and I'd love to help out!