How to Learn to Read Tuba Music

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    • 1). Set beginner's tuba music on a music stand in front of you. There are beginner tuba music books that not only have very simple practice pieces but also provide illustrated instructions on what keys to press for a specific note.

    • 2). Study what the notes and rests look like. Become familiar with the duration ratios of the various notes, such as four quarter notes lasting the same length as a whole note. Notes and rests of different lengths are depicted differently, and an untrained eye will frequently mistaken one note for another.

    • 3). Count and time the notes in each measure. The time signature (two numbers, one on top of the other) at the beginning of a piece or measure indicates how many beats there are in a measure. If there is no signature available, determine the beats in the first measure. In both cases, the beat count will be the same for successive measures until another time signature is denoted.

    • 4). Learn the C major and A minor scales in bass clef. This is the most common clef for tuba music. Both scales have no accidentals (denoted sharps and flats), so you will be able to identify the natural notes that are present for the most common key signatures in tuba music. The bass clef looks like an ear followed by a colon, and spirals out from its origin on the line for F (below middle C).

    • 5). Learn the C major and A minor scales in treble clef. For traditional brass band music, the tuba’s part is usually written in treble clef, which will require quick transposing skills.

    • 6). Practice transposing from bass clef to treble clef in C major and A minor. Read a piece in treble clef and rewrite it in bass clef on a blank music sheet, and vise versa. Writing it out may improve your reading ability; in addition, you will have a self-written reference on transposition. When learning tuba music, you need to learn to read notes in both clefs.

    • 7). Practice reading ascending and descending scales, especially harmonic and melodic minor scales. This will help you become familiar with different key signatures as well as with what constitutes an accidental.


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