Finding your system

ligeti-cocerto-for-cello

F.A.C.E.

Every Good Boy Deserves Football.

Anyone who has taken a music lesson knows the system above to name the notes – the notes on the treble clef anyway. There’s also a system for the bass clef:

All Cows Eat Grass, and Green Buses Drive Fast Always.

The thing is you don’t really need all the systems to name the notes – I didn’t know the bass clef phrases until last week when my daughter came out of her second piano lesson. All you need to know is a starting note and that it goes A-G. From that starting point you can get to any other note by going up or down the scale – you just use the system and figure it out.

When people see a concert pianist flamboyantly rattling out a Chopin Waltz they often think natural talent, musical genes or similar. But the likelihood is that they started out with FACE and the others and practiced the system more than their peers.