Learn to Draw All Seven Notes on the Staff

The Old-Fashioned Pencil & Paper Method

It’s best to have a small, blank notebook with lots of pages. If you come by the studio, I’ll give one. Otherwise, you can follow these directions to make yourself an 8-page zine out of an 8-1/2″ x 11″ piece of blank paper. The idea being that you don’t want to worry about wasting paper, and if you make up several, you can carry them around in your pocket and practice drawing wherever you are! 

Step 1: Practice Drawing Staves

Practice Drawing Staves

Step 2: Learn How to Draw Both the G & F Clefs

The point of these symbols is to show you where G and F are on these staves respectively. 

Don’t get too stressed out. Check out how some famous composers drew theirs. 

The point is to have consensus about which line or space is which note. You could make up your own clef, call it an A clef, draw as many lines and spaces as you wanted, and stick the clef wherever you pleased, but few people would be able to read it very easily. Most trained musicians can read G and F clefs (also called treble and bass respectively), so it’s a good place to start.

Step 3: Use the G & F Clefs to Name all the Lines & Spaces on the Staves

This does require that you are able to say your alphabet backwards from G. You can practice doing that at the same time.

Steps 5-11: Learn to Draw All Instances of Each Note On Separate Staves

Draw two really short staves, add the G and F clefs, and then only draw note heads for which ever note you’re working on. I suggest doing them in this order. Start with the Five C’s and work out. Don’t move onto the next note until you can do the one you’re working on from memory correctly the first try of the day. You can always check your work by using the clefs, but, as soon as possible, try not to “count” up or down. Learn them spatially. D’s and B’s are just a step up and down from C. A’s and E’s skip to the next line down and up from C. F’s and G’s are a little trickier, but you should be getting the hang of it by then.

After you have a note’s position on both staves memorized, it’s a good time to reinforce your memory by taking the Tenuto tests I’ve made for you. The link is below each image.