When you’re reading music there are a few different techniques you can use to make it easier, and one of them is looking for steps, skips and jumps. This means that as well as reading the individual notes and figuring out what they are on their own, you look at the distances between the notes. The technical name for the distances between two notes is an interval. If notes are close together on the page, it means they’ll be close on the piano, and if notes are far away on the page, they’ll also be far away on the piano. We can use the words ‘step’, ‘skip’ and ‘jump’ to describe certain distances between notes, or intervals.
Moving by step means ‘stepping’ along notes that are next to each other. If the notes are moving by step, they’re moving to neighbouring notes above or below. When notes are a step apart, one is always on a line and the other is always on a space. Steps look like this:
Moving by skip means ‘skipping’ over the neighbouring note and playing the note after. Notes that are a skip apart will both be on lines, or both on spaces. Skips look like this:
Moving by jumps means ‘jumping’ over two or more notes. Jumps look quite far apart on the page, like this:
Thinking about steps, skips and jumps helps you to read music quickly, because instead of needing to read every note, you can follow the intervals between notes. It’s much easier to read notes moving by step rather than working out each note individually. I hope you find it useful.