Five Building Blocks of Music

5 building blocks of music
5 Building Blocks of Music

 Beginner's Corner

I was observing my three-year-old grandson playing with his wooden blocks and watching him turn these blocks into some beautiful buildings. I thought about how books are structured with letters, words and punctuation marks that turn into stories.

When I teach children how to read sheet music, they learn that music has its own symbols. It is not all about music notes but there are signs and symbols to learn as well.

 Here are five basic signs to learn.

1. The Grand Staff
2. The Clef
5. Bar Lines and Measures

The Grand Staff has five lines and four spaces in the Treble Clef, which the notes written on the staff. The notes for the right hand are usually written on the top of the staff and the notes for the left hand are on the bottom staff, with 5 lines and 4 spaces. When you begin learning to read notes that are on the Grand staff, I call this the right hand shaking hands with the left hand, you'll see that both staffs are connected with a bar line and bracket. We call this the Grand Staff. Now your sheet music will have 10 lines and 8 spaces.
Here's what the dictionary says:


The Clef is the symbol at the beginning of each staff. It tells you what each note is. In the G Clef or some call it Treble Clef, the second line from the bottom is the G note. Sometimes I refer to it as a kitty sitting on the fence and it's tail wraps around the G line.

The F or Bass Clef looks like a backwards C with two dots on either side of the F line. The F is the second line from the top. You can figure out all the other notes from there. The notes written in the bass clef are played with your left hand.

The Key Signature is always at the beginning of each line of music and you will often see sharps or flats written on the staff. They tell you which notes are always sharp or flat in the music.

Time Signature has two numbers, one on the top and one on the bottom. It looks like a fraction in mathematics without the line. It is one number on top of the other. The top number tells you how many beats there will be in each measure, and the bottom number shows you what kind of note is the beat and gets one count.

Bar lines are thin pencil-like lines that divide a measure from the next one. There is usually a double bar line at the end of a piece. A double bar line, that has two dots before it is called a repeat sign. This tells you to play part of the music again. You can find a repeat sign at the end of the first line of music, somewhere in the middle of the song or at the end. Look for it. You'll want to play the verses of a song and repeat the chorus, too.

Now the measures in music is the space between the bar lines. Each measure has the same number of beats. Many times you will notice that measures are numbered and this helps group player performing a duet or for a conductor to regroup all the instruments to begin playing at measure nine. Indeed, it is fun to learn the building blocks of music.
One of the best theory books I recommend and I mean it's a huge one in learning lots of music principles is 300pg Course Book. Be sure and use a pencil with this one because you'll be filling in lots of blanks for future reference and quick recall for some answers.

All the best and keep practicing!






"The beautiful thing about learning is that no one can take it away from you." B.B.King
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