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Learn to Read Piano Music Quickly with These Acronyms

Learn to read piano music quickly—both treble clef and bass clef.

Learn to read piano music quickly—both treble clef and bass clef.

Mnemonic Devices Are Tricks for Memorization

Mnemonic devices are tricks that we can use to help us remember things more easily.

Rhyming is a great memorization tool. If you can make anything rhyme, you'll recall it much faster simply by reciting the rhyme.

Acronyms are another great way to remember difficult bits of information. We'll use both of these memorization techniques to help you read music more quickly!


Instructions for Reading Treble and Bass Clef

The top staff is called the treble clef. Use these mnemonic devices for the treble clef lines and spaces:

  • FACE is for the Space
  • Every Good Boy Does Fine is for the lines

The bottom staff is called the bass clef. Use the following memory tricks for the bass clef lines and spaces:

  • Lines = Good Burritos Don't Fall Apart
  • Spaces = All Cows Eat Grass

Use the memorization tricks we talked about! You'll get faster at reading the grand staff (which is how you refer to both clefs, and in piano music). Counting up each note works, but it's a slower method than saying to yourself, "Every Good Boy Does Fine."

This is also a good tool for helping kids remember the lines and spaces on the grand staff of piano sheet music. Feel free to print it out!

Rhyming and Reading Music

Notice that if you say it this way, "FACE is for the space" it rhymes.

"Every Good Boy Does Fine is for the lines," rhymes as well.

This will help with the hardest part for students, which is keeping the memory tools for the lines and spaces straightened out in your head. Also, keep in mind that there are four spaces on each staff and five lines. So that helps narrow down the options.

Musical Scale

To be extra clear how the piano's keyboard relates to the grand staff (music notation). I have added a picture of a scale. Its helpful for young kids to see that as the keys go from left to right on the piano, the notes on the scale get higher.

Feel free to print it off and keep it by your piano!

Musical scale on a grand staff lined up with the keys on a piano for download.

Musical scale on a grand staff lined up with the keys on a piano for download.

Two More Tricks for Reading the Grand Staff

Did you know that treble clef is also known as "G clef"? Or that bass clef is also known as "F clef"? The video below explains why and how these names can help you read music.


DoveFreexrolo on March 25, 2016:

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I’m now not positive the place you are getting your information, however good topic. I needs to spend a while learning much more or working out more. Thank you for great info I was looking for this info for my mission.

Piano Tutor on November 10, 2015:

Hello I am tutoring a child and I was hoping that you could put a picture of the note names on the staff. This would be much appreciated. Thank you

Jdp on May 11, 2014:

I am 13 years old and currently suck at piano. I think this website would have been good but im to dumb to comprehend anything. I love eating poo. It tastes great :D YUMMYYYYYYYYYYY YUMMMMMMMM


Plz on February 25, 2014:


Miranda on January 23, 2014:


Betha on December 15, 2013:

this helped me a lot. thankyou :)

kim on November 12, 2013:

thanks, helped a lot

------------- on September 20, 2013:



---------------- on June 17, 2013:

Trupet is :D and piano is :/

And I mean it, I really do

------------ on June 04, 2013:

I like trumpet not piano

----------------------- on June 02, 2013:

Sorry add )

------------------------------- on June 02, 2013:

This is quite helpful(but some apps and websites are better

melissa on May 14, 2013:

hi my name is melissa kaye spradlin on April 09, 2013:


Allemocoafecy on March 08, 2013:

I helpful to receive at the top of existence yet recently We have developed the opposition.

Anadirunika on February 18, 2013:

Ниже мы рассмотрим все эти случаи по порядку. У китайского клона есть от одного до трех стандартных USB портов. IPad от Apple стандартного USB порта не имеет. Разговоры о бюджетной версии смартфона Apple ведутся уже давно. Аналитики уверены, дешевый iPhone будет пользоваться большим спросом у жителей развивающихся стран. Как пишет тайваньское издание DigiTimes, Apple начнет наступление на рынок бюджетных «умнофонов» во второй половине 2013 года.

molly on May 08, 2012:

i have an exam on friday and i would love to know if you have to play the hole sheet for sight reading thanks a lot p.s. i hope there isn't

luv u on April 20, 2012:

i need help to notes please help me i don't how to play to piano

efren on April 17, 2012:

..its awesome. but i have difficulties in playing the grand staff because my eyes are just focusing only in either of the two cleffs,,,,

Lorelei on April 11, 2012:

Hi my name is Lorelei, i am a grade 9 info tech student. For class we are making websites, i was wondering if i could please use this picture?

could you please email me your reponse so i can make sure i get it.


maddy on March 21, 2012:

this helped a lot. i am an 11 year old pianist and i wanted to write songs. i usually play without sheet music but i needed to know the notes on paper.

again helped a lot

lalu on February 20, 2012:

this was helpful thanks

without this i would have failed my music exams

you do not need to know on January 30, 2012:

thanks this really helps me memorize my piano notes

Nansi on January 10, 2012:

I love piano and i've been downloading piano games to keep learning and this note its very very helpful for me n now i just want a real piano:):)

someone on October 10, 2011:

this is not what im looking for and does not help

kat on October 09, 2011:

my 5 yr old is a bit sluggish on the sight reading. this helps a great deal, but i would like to know if there are some other tricks?

Will on June 08, 2011:

Can I use your picture of the grand staff with the memorization helps for an index card I am making up for Bible School?

hi on June 05, 2011:

this helped me get back in to piano music thanks

Erik Wang on February 05, 2011:

this is so good :D

Peter on January 05, 2011:

Thanks, I'm taking an accelerated Musical Theory course and this helps!

daddyjb from North Carolina on July 14, 2010:

Good information. I linked this hub to my hub about sight reading.

joseph mazzulla3 on November 12, 2009:

your lessons are very understandable.

I am 78 years old and never played a piano in my life.


martypapa on June 16, 2009:

I've made a game with the purpose of improving note recognition and hence speeding up sight reading. It's great if you want to learn from scratch or improve your speed and accuracy. I've posted it up at:

Hope it helps!

chris marx on May 13, 2009:

glad to help! it took a bit of work to create some of these clear lessons

boris on May 13, 2009:

thanks great job

piano on May 08, 2009:

this is heaps helpful

chrismarx85 (author) from Seattle, Wa on September 22, 2008:

If you have any questions, Please post a questions and I'd love to help out!

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