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About Us

Sight-reading can, for many, be one of the toughest things about learning a musical instrument. Simplified Music Notation is a learning tool designed to overcome this problem and make reading music simpler. It gives players complete freedom in all keys right from the start, whilst developing skills in reading traditional notation.

Its inventor, Peter Hayes George, began learning the piano as an adult. He was well aware that his working memory was far from perfect: for example, as a professional actor he had always struggled to remember long speeches. However, he thought that learning an instrument would be relatively easy because, unlike the theatre, you are allowed to keep the music in front of you while you perform.

So it came as a bit of a shock to realise that in fact, whilst reading music, one has to remember all sorts of things: for example what the key signature is, which accidentals have appeared previously in a bar, and which notes are no longer accidentals in the next bar.

ENDORSEMENTS

"Your new Simplified [Music] Notation ... makes outstanding and immediate sense, providing ... an elegant solution to a problem which has preoccupied some of the best musical brains of our time. I congratulate you on your public-spiritedness in making such a compact system available to all those who might otherwise be denied access to either voice or instrument."
PROF. MALCOLM TROUP, DPhilMus, ARCM Toronto, FGSM, LLD, FRSA, Concert Pianist, Professor of Music

"I find myself enthusiastic concerning this novel and beautifully simple solution to the memory difficulties suffered by so many musicians, both professional and amateur. I found half an hour's application sufficient to convince me of its efficiency. I am sure many musicians of all talents can be helped immensely."
EMANUEL HURWITZ BCE, FRAM, Internationally Renowned Violinist, Gold Medallist Worshipful Company of Musicians

"It has been my experience that students with learning disabilities have an extremely difficult time reading music. Consequently, I see many students with great gifts of music ability fail because they are unable to master the skill necessary to succeed. Simplified [Music] Notation seems to be a solution to success."
SUZANNE GUISASOLA SALVO M.Ed. Director, Office of Disability Services, Ashland University

"Since you have brought to light the problems facing millions of handicapped and would-be musicians, cogently and successfully argued against any theoretical objections, it seems to me the sooner Simplified Music Notation is universally adopted, the better; and indeed, there is a moral imperative to do so."
GREGORY ELLIS Dip RAM, ARAM, MA, FRAM, Violinist, Leader of the Vanbrugh String Quartet

ENDORSEMENTS

"I am thrilled. You state that this system is designed for those handicapped by short term memory, but I found it very helpful myself in my own playing. I consider the system not only simpler, but ultimately clearer."
PROF. JERRY LUEDDERS, Assistant Provost and Professor of Music, California State University; Saxophonist

See How it works!  (instruction.pdf)

The mental effort and feats of memory required just to read the notes came as a surprise. Surely music should be as easy to read as possible, allowing the player to concentrate on interpretation and musicality?

As he struggled to master the skill by day, by night George was mystified by dreams he was having of triangles, squares and other shapes floating about in space. Then one day, during a particularly frustrating piano lesson, the idea came: why not use different shaped note heads to indicate whether a note is sharp or flat? That way, the player would automatically know how to play each note without needing to recall any additional information.

This simple change kept all the best aspects of staff notation, was quick and easy to learn and limited the unnecessary demands that traditional notation makes on the memory.

George discovered he was not alone in finding sight-reading a problem. Reading music presents particular difficulties to those with poor working memories, learning difficulties such as dyslexia or attention deficit disorder, and to people with visual impairments. But there are many people with no diagnosed ‘problem’ who also find reading music fluently to be a real struggle. Some muddle along, relying on other skills to overcome their difficulties, such as a good ear or the ability to memorise a piece quickly. Others simply fall by the wayside and, unable to master this essential skill, give up on learning music altogether.

Believing that music should be accessible to everyone regardless of their ability to perform the mental gymnastics required for sight-reading, Peter and his wife Annelie founded the Creative Arts Research Foundation (see below), a charity which researches ways to make music learning more accessible to all. They worked for many years to develop Simplified Music Notation, consulting widely amongst music professionals, where the idea was generally very well received: supporters include Dame Evelyn Glennie D.B. E., Carl Davis C.B.E., Howard, Shelley, Kató Havas, Acker Bilk M.B.E. and Sir James Galway O.B.E.

It is the hope of all involved that Simplified Music Notation will indeed make music learning more accessible to everyone, and to help those who struggle with sight-reading discover just how enjoyable it can be…

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The Creative Arts Research Foundation, Registered Charity No. 1046414