How to Read Music - sort of

3 hours

Music notation

Of course, no-one can learn to read music in a single session! But it is possible to explore how music notation works, and to discover how music notes, rhythms and expression are written on the page. This session provides a beginner’s guide to the basic principles of western music notation and score reading. No prior musical knowledge is necessary.

Join the mailing list to hear about future classes

Course Content

Topics we will cover

  • How pitch is notated
  • Notating rhythm
  • Time signatures, bars and barlines
  • How different parts are written
  • Notating expression
  • Chords and chord symbols
  • Conducting scores
  • Notating choral music
  • Navigation: da capo, dal segno, repeats and codas
  • Percussion notation
  • Gaining fluency
  • Annotating scores


“Excellently presented. Course was interesting and very helpful. I am a musician who plays by ear so the musical theory overview was just what I needed.”

“Susan is a very good and animated presenter. Her material was extremely well researched and it delivered what was promised.”

“The content was very interesting and the pace of the class was good. The tutor had expert knowledge and imparted it well.”

“The course was enjoyable, very well presented, challenging but educational. My questions were answered very well.”

“Susan is a very enthusiastic teacher and was well informed and presented her course in a professional manner in great control of the technology.”

About Susan Deas

Susan Deas is a professional musician, lecturer and teacher. She has been teaching piano and music theory for over twenty years, and is accredited in both Piano and Musicianship. Her training includes a Bachelor of Music with a major in Performance (Piano) and Musicology, a Master of Music Studies (Studio Pedagogy), a Bachelor of Arts (Communications), and an A.Mus.A in Musicianship. Susan also lectures in music theory and music appreciation for Sydney University’s Centre for Continuing Education, WEA Sydney and at other venues. She performs professionally as a pianist and organist, as well as giving professional development workshops and lessons to private music teachers. Susan is on the Council of the Music Teachers’ Association of NSW.

More about Susan’s qualifications

Read what people have said about Susan’s other courses

Susan’s other music courses