Piano Notes with Letters: Is It Beneficial in Learning How To Play the Piano?

For some, piano notes with letters help piano students to play music. For others, note reading shouldn't be taught that way. So is it good or bad? Read on.

Miller Piano Specialists October 30, 2019 3 Min Read

To make anyone learn piano faster, some people (and even pianists) suggest one thing: piano notes with letters. That means every note should be labeled with its corresponding letters (A, B, C, D, E, F, G). But can it make someone learn piano faster? This is a much-debated topic among musicians, with each side having their reasons. So what do we think about this one? Read on to learn more.
 
When you’re still on the beginner’s stage, reading music may come as a difficult task. This is the reason why people don’t want to learn any instrument – there’s already the technical aspect right from the start. To fix this, piano students decided to place letters above each note. You’ll sometimes see piano sheets that have letters all over it. Some even place letters on piano keys.
 
To some, it’s a pretty genius move. When you get to see the letters immediately you’d be able to know what note is that. As a result, you’re learning what piano key to press. While that on itself is genius, other people go for the extra effort of placing letters on piano keys to make sure.
 
While some would say these labels helped them, others argue that it does more harm than good in the long run. So below are some pros and cons of using piano notes with letters.

Piano Notes with Letters – The Pros

You’d be able to play intricate pieces even as a beginner. As a piano student, your main goal is to play the hardest piece as possible, and you may take time to be able to do it. That’s why it’s advantageous to actually have piano notes with letters to find the music note immediately. You can quickly master a piece when you know which key to hit.
 
It lets you learn the piece without delaying your note reading skills. Contrary to popular belief that it slows down your ability to read notes faster. Yes, you’re following a line of notes and letters, but you’re subliminally learning what that note is at the same time. So you’re sort of “cheating” your way to playing a piece while learning in the process.

Piano Notes with Letters – The Cons

Learning piano notes with letters doesn’t add up that much. Although it doesn’t affect your note reading skills, it doesn’t accelerate it either. Yes, it can help you play a piece much faster, but that doesn’t mean you have to use this kind of technique over and over. At the end of the day, you’re merely reading notes with letters and not notes.
 
Placing letters is prone to mistakes. Imagine you wrote a letter wrong and you never noticed. You practiced it for weeks and months and then only to realize you’ve been playing it wrong all along. And that’s the main problem with this – you’ll take time even to notice it. A lot of musicians admitted they have made such a mistake. Piano notes with letters, for them, can be potentially dangerous.

The Verdict

Since there’s some sort of balance between the pros and cons, we say it can be useful but only to a point. Piano notes with letters can be a compelling way for someone to know what the notes are, and it should be practiced for a few pieces. But if you’re aim is to read notes – like most piano students – then limit using piano notes with letters in a few lessons. After that, you can take the letters off of the sheets.
 
If you’re looking for piano lessons in Middle Tennessee, we at Miller Piano can help. Please click on the link for our piano courses with our expert piano teachers.

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