There are 3 basic methods to play an instrument.

  1. Play by ear. This requires talent. Some people are able to play anything they hear, without errors. Most beginning players will be able to play a simple melody that they know well, with a little trial and error. Finding out what are the correct chords for the accompaniment is much more difficult.

  2. Play from memory. You must have learned to play the correct notes first. You may have learned it playing by ear or somebody showed you how to play it or your learned it by reading music.

  3. Note reading. This implies that you decide what keys to play, based only on what you see on the sheet.

Most players that have learned how to read notes, actually use a combination of these three methods when they are playing. The aim of this course is that you will be able to find out how to play a song (that you never heard before) using sheet music. After that you will be able to play it mainly from memory, with a little help from the sheet music. You will learn how to read and play fakebook notation and use simplified chords.

The picture below shows a song in fakebook notation. Only the melody is shown in staff notation. This is what you play with your right hand. In piano notation there would be a second set of staff lines for the left hand. Instead there are chord symbols placed above the staff. The chord symbols indicate what to play with the left hand. Fakebook notation is very compact, a fakebook can easily contain a thousand songs.

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