So, what is a key signature? If you’ve been asking this question, you have come to the right place. Key signatures are important to recognize and tell us exactly what kind of notes to play. It’s important not to ignore this step, so let’s go a little deeper in our understanding of what a key signature tells us to do.
A key signature is the area between the clef sign and the time signature. Flats or sharps can be listed in this space. By placing all of the sharps or flats used in a scale or piece of music immediately after the clef sign, it makes it much easier to play and write music.
For example, you might have a key signature with an F# listed. This means that you will play all of the F’s in your music as F#’s. This is something you have to remember as you go.
I know, you might be thinking “yeah, right”.
The truth is, most beginners are not successful with this and that is to be expected. Isn’t there enough to remember already? Yes!
In my experience, no one is really able to remember a key signature on top of everything else you are reading without a lot of practice…and I mean A LOT of practice. Usually, I see students begin to remember key signatures successfully after a few years of playing.
To speed up the process, mark in the flats or sharps right into your music until you are eventually able to remember them as you play. Again, this whole process takes quite a while to master so don’t be hard on yourself if you can’t do it right away.
Now, you no longer have to keep asking “what is a key signature?” It’s just an area that tells us what notes need to played as flats or sharps in the music. The tricky part is trying to remember them as you play. Relax; it will get much easier with time. Just remember to have patience with yourself and focus more on enjoying your musical journey rather than racing to the finish line.