Learning Major Key Signatures

By: Ashlee Young

Key signatures – OH elusive key signatures!

I have seen students of all ages and skill levels struggle with the concept of key signatures and I remember struggling with them throughout my youth as well. In this video below I take you through what key signatures are, why they’re important, how to figure them out, and how to practice them so that the concept becomes easier.

First of all, go ahead and watch the video above as it contains a lot of valuable information that will ultimately make this free PDF a lot more useful. Once you have watched it, I would recommend making this PDF as easily accessible for studying as possible. That might mean you save it on your phone, computer, or tablet, OR if you’re old school like me, it would mean printing it out to use flashcard style!

This PDF includes the rules for HOW to figure out major key signatures using sharps and flats. I’ve included some mnemonic devices for remembering the order of sharps and the order of flats.

  1. MEMORIZE THE ORDER OF SHARPS AND THE ORDER OF FLATS! You can do this by using the mnemonic devices and saying them OVER AND OVER AND OVER. I’ve even had some students write their own songs or jingles to remember the orders.

  2. Next step is to use the rest of the pdf as a study guide or as flashcards. I would recommend flashcard style, as it works extremely well in my experience and I have yet to meet a student that has not been successful with flashcards. I’ve included a key signature WITHOUT the answer, and then the key signature WITH the answer. I’ve also included the relative minors, even though I didn’t go over them in the video. Disregard them if you’re unfamiliar with the concept, or go ahead and memorize the relative minors with the majors.

  3. Another way you could use this PDF would be a matching-style memory game. Print the cards out, lay them face down, and have fun finding the matches AND increasing your memory skills. :)

  4. Comment and let me know if you come up with any other ways to use this PDF! I’d love to hear from you and I’m sure others would love to learn as well!

Good luck in your endeavor to learn key signatures. It won’t necessarily be easy, but it will DEFINITELY be worth it!


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