• # Facts: You May NEVER Master The Number System Until You Do These Top Three Things

in Piano

If you really want to master the number system, then there are three things you must never do without.

If you can implement one, two or all of the things I’m going to show you in this lesson, there’s no how you’ll not have the number system down pat in every key.

But right before we delve into learning the number system and how it can be mastered completely, let’s refresh our minds once again just in case the idea of the number system is entirely new to you or you need a refresher.

## “What Is The Number System?”

There are so many ways to represent or distinguish musical notes; ranging from the use of alphabet letters:

A, B, C, D, E, F, and G

…to the use of sound syllables:

do, re, mi, fa, sol, la, and ti

…etc.

When we use numbers to represent the tones of the major scale, this creates a “number system” where the notes are represented, associated with, or distinguished using numbers.

For example, in the C major:

…each of the scale tones can be represented using numbers and C (which is the key note):

…is the one.

“Here’s The Number System In C Major…”

In the C major scale:

C is the one

D is the two

E is the three

F is the four

G is the five

A is the six

B is the seven

So, instead of using alphabet letters to describe concepts, we can use numbers. In fact, chances are there that you’ve heard the term “2-5-1” if you’ve been around musicians for a while.

Here’s what the 2-5-1 means:

The 2 is D:

The 5 is G:

The 1 is C:

…and as you already know, or would learn in a subsequent lesson, these numbers can be used to describe chord progressions and patterns.

Once you stick to the same approach from key to key, naming the tones of the major scale with numbers, you are basically following the number system.

Now that I’ve refreshed your mind on the number system, can we just go right into the top three things I want to show you?

Oh yes! We can do that because we’ve tilled the ground.

## Top Three Things To Master The Number System With

Before I go any further, let me make it clear that there are other routes that you can take while mastering the number system.

The things I’m about to share with you made it to my list because of how effective they’ve been and also based on the results and positive reviews.

That’s said, let’s get into the first one: scale practice routine.

### #1 – Scales Practice Routine

On the top of my list is the scale practice routine.

If you want to master the number system, then you need to make the major scale your friend; you literally need to visit your major scales daily.

Analogy: When you love someone or find your friendship with someone extremely beneficial or good, you don’t want to go a day without seeing them.

Make the major scale in all the keys your best friend.

If you practice one major scale per minute, you should have covered the entire major scales in just 12 minutes and if you’re reading this and you don’t have 12 minutes to spare, then you’re jeopardizing your friendship with the major scales.

Attention: The major scale is that guy who’s going to eventually introduce you to the number system and (trust me) you don’t want to joke with the major scale.

Enough said! Incorporate the major scale into your daily practice routine and in a few weeks, or even in a matter of days, you’ll record mind-blowing progress in mastering the number system.

### #2 – One Finger Melodies

If you find the scale practice routine too technical and less musical, you are not alone.

I feel that way too and that’s why I recommend one-finger melodies and I’m talking about very basic melodies like Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star, Old McDonald Had A Farm, or just about any simple melody that appeals to you.

Take a one-finger melody and try to play it in all the keys — from one key to another — until you have all the keys covered.

You’ll find out that as you play these melodies, you’ll get more familiar with tones of the major scale in every key and also be able to recall them at anytime.

The melody of Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star can be played using these numbers:

1-1-5-5-6-6-5, 4-4-3-3-2-2-1

…and as you play the melody from key to key, you’ll consciously or subconsciously begin to internalize the number system at a very fast rate.

The more the songs you can play a one-finger melody on (and in all the keys), the more you get to master the number system.

Attention: Remember to keep the one-finger melodies very simple!

## Final Words

Thank you for reading through and getting to this final segment lets me know that you’re really interested in learning how to master the number system.

So, go ahead and add the major scale to your daily practice routine, go ahead and learn tons of melodies (from nursery rhymes to anthems, folks songs, hymns, TV commercials, etc), and don’t also forget to download the flashcards.

My special appreciation goes to Jermaine Griggs, who is my mentor and role-model, for the opportunity to share some of these concepts with you.

In a future lesson, I will be back with another exciting concept. Until then, I really do hope that you make the most out of this.

See you in the next blog!

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#### Chuku Onyemachi

Head of Education at HearandPlay Music Group
Onyemachi "Onye" Chuku (aka - "Dr. Pokey") is a Nigerian musicologist, pianist, and author. Inspired by his role model (Jermaine Griggs) who has become his mentor, what he started off as teaching musicians in his Aba-Nigeria neighborhood in April 2005 eventually morphed into an international career that has helped hundreds of thousands of musicians all around the world. Onye lives in Dubai and is currently the Head of Education at HearandPlay Music Group and the music consultant of the Gospel Music Training Center, all in California, USA.