Over the past 20 years or so there’s been a tendency for guitar players to move away from reading music. As a strong reader of music myself, you might find it odd if I were to say that a guitarist doesn’t really need to learn to read music. Most guitar players read guitar TAB these days, but I don’t really think it’s a substitute for reading music because it’s more of a ‘monkey -see – monkey – do’ approach. Yes it does enable a player to know where to put their fingers but it’s fairly useless past that point because there’s no real underlying development of the understanding how music all fits together. However it does enable someone to copy-cat guitar, neither good or bad really, just a way of getting your fingers into the positions used by other players.
I think that it’s easy for players to over-train themselves. This is a very common guitarist problem where players end up rehearsing a whole lot of finger movements and eventually play it at a ridiculous speed to the point where it sounds not unlike a coffee percolator. This is the opposite end of the spectrum, players that learn to follow the dots and create ‘music by numbers’.
I think to be a balanced player it is not necessary to learn to read but overall it is useful because it enables the guitarist to play with other players and put together arrangements of songs rather quickly. Also it allows the guitarist to draw from other musical resources, such as the melodic lines of sax players or the harmony ofn piano players. But the secret to this is not to get caught in the trap of putting the technical heady side above the end result, which is music.
Reading music is actually rather easy, I will be developing resources shortly that will simplify the process. After playing for almost 40 years I can’t understand why so many music teachers complicate the issue and confuse the students.
I am currently developing resources and will be making a lot of the information I have already developed available for free at some point in the near future. To be eligible to receive the information, please do the guitar survey.
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