Introduction: How to Read Notes With Sharps - for Beginners

Many of us are used to seeing this # sign as being a hashtag...but in music is stands for sharp notes in your music.

When we have a sharp sign in front of a note or in our key signature, it simply means that we play 1/2 step higher than the natural form of the note.

White keys are the natural notes, in most cases...there are a couple of exceptions!

Remember where Middle C is on your keyboard? That is a C natural. To play a C# - or C sharp, all you do is move up a 1/2 step to the black key in between C and D, and you have C#.

This is true whether you are playing in the Treble Clef or the Bass Clef.

Let's look at how you play sharps in the Treble Clef first.

Step 1: Playing Sharps in the Treble Clef

Remember that when we make a note sharp, we move it up 1/2 step from the natural note.

Also...we will play a sharp note whenever our Key signature tells us that a note is sharp throughout the piece, or we have a # sharp sign in front of a note.

Any natural note will start out on a white key. Most of them will move to the closest black key to the note for the sharp; but there are a couple that when you move them up a 1/2 step, you're still on a white key.

Those notes/keys will be:

  1. E-E#
  2. B-B#

Make sure you watch the video at the end of this lesson as I take you through several examples of sharps and play them for you on the keyboard. You can practice playing them with me to help learn them more quickly!

Next, let's see how this works in the Bass Clef.

Step 2: Playing Sharps in the Bass Clef

Again, just move up a 1/2 step to play sharp notes in the Bass Clef.

Sometimes when we play in Bass Clef, we're not quite sure where the actual note is because of the different octaves on the keyboard. If you get confused about this, just play them as they are in the music...higher notes on the staff represent the octaves closest to Middle C, and the lowest notes on the staff will be the farthest away from Middle C.

Just like in Treble Clef, there are 2 notes that will still be white keys when you play them as sharps and they are the same ones. Do you remember what they are? Go back to the previous step if you need to refresh your memory.

Are you ready to play some sharps on your piano in the treble and bass clef? Come practice with me in the final step!

Step 3: Come Practice With Me!

The best way to learn to play sharps on your keyboard is to practice through the examples I take you through in this video.

We'll go through each hand separately to make sure you understand what sharps are, how you make a natural note into a sharp note on the keyboard, what they look like in your music and how to play different samples in each clef.

Learning your sharps and how to play them will allow you to start playing music in different keys and playing harder chords. They will become as natural to you as natural notes are to music.

Sharps will really have you ~ moving up ~ in your piano playing!