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I was wondering if anyone had some good suggestions on learning how to read sheet music. I can methodically go through and mark the notes by referencing them against a chart but then have trouble finding those on the violin. Am I going about it the wrong way? I don't expect to be able to pick it up quickly but I'm not sure I'm doing myself any favors with this method.
What worked for me, was reading the notes as strings and fingers and placement. I have seen some people poo-poo this method, but it is what worked for me.
I came from knowing what the notes were if I thought about it long enough (pulled from elementary school memories... Every Good Boy Does Fine, FACE etc) but couldn't read it fast enough to play on the fiddle.
Now I go back and forth between knowing the note and thinking of the finger, they are both in there now.
World's Okayest Fiddler
It's difficult to know how to answer, as we have to judge where you are and not underestimate you.
I have two suggestions.
First the 4 strings of the fiddle, have you written on a stave where they are - that might be a useful reference point? And the second suggestion is to work on intervals. For example, if you mark the violin's A string on a stave and the D the fourth above it and sing both notes and play them both on the violin? You could do the same with the D string and F above it, referring to @damfino's pictures. And then do that as thoroughly as you can.
Try to find some cheap manuscript exercise books. You used to be able to get 6 stave A5 spiral bound ones cheaply. They make good notebooks, but they are becoming harder to find. Warner Brothers Music used to publish a good one, but they seem to have discontinued it, or maybe you can still get them in the USA. It looked like this (I've got half a dozen), but there are others. I think d'Addario do one. Or you can get plenty of larger format ones, if you don't find them daunting.
So reading music is just one of those things on a long list of things to learnin music. It is just as essential as learning your fingering or anything else, and like everything else, it just takes time. Yes, use all the techniques suggested here. Be patient, it will come.
It took me a while to be able to read music and it is a skill I am always working on. It is part of the art of music.
And above all, remember... if it was easy, everyone would do it.
- Pete -
What worked for me was to buy large songbooks. I would try to speed read the notes. I would hit my left thigh for a sharp and my right thigh for a flat because saying the words (sharp, flat) took too much time. It did not take long to get very fast at it. I did not pay attention to whole notes or eighths, they were all just notes. In the beginning remembering that "B" was the middle line helped me.
Then I bought "Liberace's Big Note" songbooks. They have the letter of the notes inside the note and the songs were well known and easy. Playing those songs solidified the fingerings.
The songbooks I bought were cheap, like $3.