Learn the Basics of Reading Keyboard Music!

These lessons are designed to get you off to a great start for playing the keyboard percussion instruments! Here you will learn the basics of reading music through lessons excerpted from 5 Minute Theory and A Fresh Approach to Mallet Percussion, published by Mark Wessels Publications.

All lessons included here are in printable Acrobat PDF format. Most contain short written exercises designed to give you drill and practice on basic "music theory" concepts. While you can view this lesson on your computer screen, it is intended to be completed with PAPER and PENCIL! After you have completed the worksheet, check your answers! Don't move on to the next lesson until you completely understand all of the concepts introduced!

Introduction: Mastering the Basic Music Theory Concepts
Click a lesson to get started!

Here's the concepts that you'll learn:

Lesson 1
• Musical Staff   • The Treble Clef   • Quarter Notes
Lesson 2
• Counting the Lines and Spaces   • Stem Direction When Drawing Quarter Notes
Lesson 3
• Bar Lines   • Measures   • Time Signatures
Lesson 4
• The Musical Alphabet   • Naming Notes on Treble Staff
Lesson 5
• Speed Test: Naming the Notes
Lesson 6
• Quarter Rests   • Counting Quarter Notes and Rests

Lessons excerpted from "A Fresh Approach to Mallet Percussion"
Click to a lesson to get started!

Here's the concepts that you'll learn:

Lesson 1
• Review basic music theory concepts   • Learn the layout of the keyboard
Lesson 2
• Flat signs   • New notes Ab & Bb   • First music reading exercises
Lesson 3
• Half notes   • New note Gb   • First music reading exercises
Lesson 4
• Sharp signs    • Repeat Signs    • New notes F & G natural    • First songs
Lesson 5
• New Note Eb    • Tetrachords    • Duet

About the books:

5 Minute Theory - Workbooks for Band and General Music
by Mark Wessels

The goal behind this book was to give beginning students quick reinforcement on the common music theory concepts that are often "glossed over" in most of the popular method books. This book contains 30 lessons covering music theory basics that every student is likely to encounter during the first 2-3 years of study. From common terms, accidentals and key signatures to scales and basic transposition, each lesson is printed on a perforated page so students can easily tear them out and hand them in.

Each workbook is instrument specific - focusing on the clef and note range that the student is likely to encounter on his or her instrument. "Note speller" exercises give the student extra practice on fingerings on their instrument.

At a cost of $3.95, these 8 1/2" x 5 1/2" workbooks are a "no-brainer" addition to any music program!

Available for:
BAND - Flute, Oboe, Bassoon, Clarinet, Saxophone, Cornet & French Horn, Trombone, B.C. Baritone, Tuba and Percussion
GENERAL MUSIC - Treble Clef and Bass Clef (General Music workbooks cover slightly different material than band books.
                              Instead, it focuses on intervals, solfege and key signatures uncommon to typical band instruments).

A Fresh Approach to Mallet Percussion
by Mark Wessels

There is no doubt about it: most of the "band method" books don't do the job when it comes to teaching beginning percussionists how to READ music!

A Fresh Approach to Mallet Percussion was written to address the specific problems associated with learning to play the keyboard percussion instruments.

•  Note sizes are very large in the beginning of the book and printed on the lower half of the page to facilitate the beginner learning to use their peripheral vision when locating the keys on the keyboard.

• "Speed tests" and written work reinforce basic music theory concepts.

•  Fundamental technique is addressed, as well as learning to read music in the bass clef - necessary for reading music for timpani.

In addition to graphical scale pages which help the student learn tetrachords and major scales, a nine page supplemental "mini-book" for timpani is included in the back of the book - providing instruction, exercises and solos for the beginning timpanist.

To purchase a copy of 5 minute Theory or A Fresh Approach to Mallet Percussion,
please contact your local retail music store
OR ORDER ONLINE at http://store.mwpublications.com.
Retail and School ordering information is also available by writing to mwessels@mwpublications.com

About Mark Wessels:

Mark Wessels is the Director of Internet Activities for Vic Firth Inc. In addition to being a band director for 12 years in the Texas public schools, Mark is a respected clinician, adjudicator and author throughout the United States and is very active in percussion education.

His self-published beginner method books, A Fresh Approach to the Snare Drum and A Fresh Approach to Mallet Percussion are the number one beginning percussion methods throughout Texas, and are rapidly spreading to other parts of the country.