#1
Greetings fellow musicians Im a 14 year old guitarist that is seeking to learn notation as fast as I possibly can. I joined my Highschool Marching Band so that I could finally get some sheet music to get started on. The music teacher and the drum instructor just barely let me join considering that I was a guitarist. They joked about younger guitarists never understanding theory or being able to read music. Even spat on me saying that we need to use tabs instead of music which isn't true considering that I use my ear. Although I do understand musical definitions, theory, scales, chords, along with an acceptable technique. I feel somewhat beaten considering that they were right on the part that Im terrible at reading music.

I know all the notes on the fretboard. I also understand the notes on the Treble Clef and a few of the different types of notes. (Quarter,Half,Eighth,Sixteenth Notes) Dynamics, Simple Time Signatures as well as the keys from the Circle Of Fifths.

However when It comes to learning a piece of music I am extremely slow. Using a metronome it took me 8hours just to barely learn 3 lines today. I mostly have trouble with the timing. Things like triplets I find very hard to understand when they're played in quarter notes or half notes.

Although I'm terrible at reading music I really want to get better and thats why I want to ask you more experienced musicians, what helped you learn to read music? How long does it take to become an average reader and how much longer does it take to become advanced? What are some methods that helped you progress in reading music and what did they consist of? What resources should I use in order to improve in this area as fast as possible?

Although practice is the key factor in improving. I believe that the way you go about doing so can speed up the process. So If you have any suggestions I'd really appreciate it if you left me a message down below.
#4
Quote by theflyingapple
^That pun sucked


so your saying it wasn't very punny?

honestly notation/sheet reading is one of those things where the fastest way to learn is through constant practice and im sorry to say, but it takes at least 2 years to be able to sight read fluently. go here:
http://www.musictheory.net/

and practice everything non stop. if you cant read sheet music, its really important that you start with slow pieces (like kid songs) and work your way up. good luck.
Last edited by Marshmelllow at Aug 15, 2011,
#5
Quote by Marshmelllow
so it wasn't very punny?

honestly notation/sheet reading is one of those things where the fastest way to learn is through constant practice and im sorry to say, but it takes at least 2 years to be able to sight read fluently. go here:
http://www.musictheory.net/

and practice everything non stop. if you cant read sheet music, its really important that you start with slow pieces (like kid songs) and work your way up. good luck.


Thanks alot for the link to that website the lessons and excercises look really helpful. Although Sight Reading is one of my future goals at the moment I'm just trying to get the reading part down and work from there. Would you have any suggestions for specific songs that I could learn to get me going? Notation is somewhat hard for me at least to find online. Especially for guitar. The part im learning right now is actually meant to be played on a Vibraphone.
Last edited by dannydawiz at Aug 15, 2011,
#6
like i said, start simple. twinkle twinkle little star, happy birthday, and so fourth. just to gain a simple understanding. after that i suggest learning to read basic scales/chords (as well as some theory behind them). then some blues/jazz licks.

simple acoustic songs like freight train (chet atkins) are useful too.
#7
Quote by Marshmelllow
like i said, start simple. twinkle twinkle little star, happy birthday, and so fourth. just to gain a simple understanding. after that i suggest learning to read basic scales/chords (as well as some theory behind them). then some blues/jazz licks.

simple acoustic songs like freight train (chet atkins) are useful too.


Thank you so much for your advice It really helps. Everything will be taken into consideration!
#8
I think the main thing is starting with a fairly simple piece that you know, read the notes and say the names of the notes out as you play them. Do this an hour or more a day with several pieces you know
.
#9
You have trouble reading rhythms so...

Start with a metronome and just clap the rhythms to any sheet music you can find. Once you get used to reading the rhythms quickly, then move onto melodies. Try find ones which have little movement. Also, high school bands seem to love flat keys so try focus on them more.
#10
Quote by Jesse Clarkson
You have trouble reading rhythms so...

Start with a metronome and just clap the rhythms to any sheet music you can find. Once you get used to reading the rhythms quickly, then move onto melodies. Try find ones which have little movement. Also, high school bands seem to love flat keys so try focus on them more.



True the piece that im learning (Solaris by Frank Sullivan) has 2 flats in the Key of Bb. As far as rhythms It's not so much that I cant clap them. I can clap them at a slow tempo and work up to the original speed its just quite frankly I dont understand how im supposed to divide some of them. Some notes I know how many beats they get and how to clap them but at this current moment Im having a hard time figuring out how to divide triplets. I only understand how to divide the 8th ones which if im correct are 3 claps per beat. But when it comes to other ones I dont know how to clap then. Where would I figure out note values? I know how to practice it to a metronome but some of the notes I just cant understand the values.
Last edited by dannydawiz at Aug 16, 2011,
#11
As the others have said, it comes down to doing some reading every day. If you're serious about improving, do about twenty-thirty minutes each day as your warm-up.

It's also worth mentioning that there are two types of reading practice: written pieces you can sight-read and written pieces you have to figure out. In the first kind, the goal is to keep going no matter what (even if you drop notes). The second kind of reading is too hard to sight-read, so just figure out four bars or so at your own pace.

And finally, try to write as much in standard notation as you can. Try to write down little musical ideas you have, or licks from your favourite records, in standard notation rather than tab - this forces you to use the new 'language' and will greatly help your reading.

Some great resources are:

- William Levitt books (all of them are great)
- Any musical/show charts you can get your hands on
- Charlie Parker Omnibook (for note reading)
- Louis Bellson's 'Modern Reading Text in 4/4' (clap along for your rhythm reading)
- Various 'beginning classical guitar' books, clarinet books etc...

Good luck!

Steve
#12
When reading studies start becoming easier, there are ways of getting a lot of mileage out of even the most simple melodies. Turn the page upside down, read it backwards, vertically, diagonally etc. This will develop your eye movement. Good readers are always looking ahead. Depending on the style of music some guys are looking up to 8 bars in advance which is incredible. Try to interpret the contour of the melody as well.
#13
Quote by dannydawiz
Greetings fellow musicians Im a 14 year old guitarist that is seeking to learn notation as fast as I possibly can. I joined my Highschool Marching Band so that I could finally get some sheet music to get started on. The music teacher and the drum instructor just barely let me join considering that I was a guitarist. They joked about younger guitarists never understanding theory or being able to read music. Even spat on me saying that we need to use tabs instead of music which isn't true considering that I use my ear. Although I do understand musical definitions, theory, scales, chords, along with an acceptable technique. I feel somewhat beaten considering that they were right on the part that Im terrible at reading music.

I know all the notes on the fretboard. I also understand the notes on the Treble Clef and a few of the different types of notes. (Quarter,Half,Eighth,Sixteenth Notes) Dynamics, Simple Time Signatures as well as the keys from the Circle Of Fifths.

However when It comes to learning a piece of music I am extremely slow. Using a metronome it took me 8hours just to barely learn 3 lines today. I mostly have trouble with the timing. Things like triplets I find very hard to understand when they're played in quarter notes or half notes.

Although I'm terrible at reading music I really want to get better and thats why I want to ask you more experienced musicians, what helped you learn to read music? How long does it take to become an average reader and how much longer does it take to become advanced? What are some methods that helped you progress in reading music and what did they consist of? What resources should I use in order to improve in this area as fast as possible?

Although practice is the key factor in improving. I believe that the way you go about doing so can speed up the process. So If you have any suggestions I'd really appreciate it if you left me a message down below.


They spat on you? cmon


if you want to get good at reading, get a book with standard notation in it and start practicing. don't worry about how fast you get good at it..... just get good at it.
shred is gaudy music
#15
Just read the sheet music.

And trust sean and guitar munkey.
Understand nothing, in order to learn everything.

Quote by liampje
I can write a coherent tune ... But 3/4? I play rock, not polka.
#16
I too am forever struggling to read notation, I did get that David Oakes book Sean suggested and it is good (its just my dedication to practice reading that is lacking now). I also have the Leavitt book 1 that has been suggested and while it is certainly good it is a bit dated and the presentation of the more modern David Oakes book is better and I feel it explains stuff better.

I am quite good at reading rhythms though and I learned this from tabbing things into GuitarPro (both my own compositions and other artists stuff, I even sat at my laptop one afternoon and typed in a five minute heavy metal guitar solo which actually sounded pretty cool). Its easy enough to type in the pitch as you can use tab but if you want it to playback properly you need to enter the note values in, which forced me to understand how notes are divided and work out how to count and stuff. I reccomend acquiring GuitarPro.

Good luck on the reading btw, I find it the hardest thing to practice but I know the rewards of being able to simply play a page of dots will be worth it.
But boys will be boys and girls have those eyes
that'll cut you to ribbons, sometimes
and all you can do is just wait by the moon
and bleed if it's what she says you ought to do
Last edited by Hydra150 at Aug 16, 2011,
#17
Greetings once again, I would like to thank everyone that has offered me there ideas and advice up to this point. Although I am still mediocre when It comes to reading music, I am definitely getting better at it through the hours of focus. Next time I sound out a song I will take the time to trancribe it into notation like Hydra suggested to get more familiar with music. I would also like to thank both Sean,Steve, and MDC for their advice and for pointing out some brilliant resources/books to get started with. Once again If anyone could offer me more help I would be greatly appreciate the assistance.

Regards!
#18
just keep reading the fourms here. go to your library and check out some books and dvds. people always forget that libraries exist.
Blues, classical, metal. Who says you cant love all 3?
#19
Do the Mel Bay grade books. In my opinion they are the best books to learn how to read notation. They include way more than just reading exercises and are the best tool in learning to read and improve your playing that I have came across. The thing I discovered with the Mel Bay grades is that whilst I thought I could play to a pretty good standard, I was pretty shit at doing some of the simpler exercises that are in the books since generally players learn some flashy tricks and then assume that the 'easier' stuff is below them. There are 7 grade books each costing about £5.
Andy
#20
Something else you could include is how you articulate the notes. You're a guitarist, so try and play in a guitaristic way. Vary the way you attack the notes, try sliding in, hammering on, pulling off, bending up to, pre bending and releasing down to. This sort of thing will really force you to look ahead. Of course you don't have to do it for every note, just look for a break in the melody, such as points of rest, or where the note durations are longer. Dynamics and articulation can make the simplest of melodies, and just chord charts sound great.
#21
"A Modern Method for Guitar" by William Leavitt is a pretty great resource. It gives you plenty of melodies to read everyday and gradually gets more difficult. It really comes down to consistent practice every day no matter what method you do, just read read read!
#22
Quote by dannydawiz
Thanks alot for the link to that website the lessons and excercises look really helpful. Although Sight Reading is one of my future goals at the moment I'm just trying to get the reading part down and work from there. Would you have any suggestions for specific songs that I could learn to get me going? Notation is somewhat hard for me at least to find online. Especially for guitar. The part im learning right now is actually meant to be played on a Vibraphone.


I would suggest, from my experience at least, is to learn rhythmic note clusters. This will definitely speed up the learning process because understanding phrasing is key, as that is the thing that separate one piece of sheet music from the next. Deciphering the pitch on the stave is relatively easy, but its the phrasing of the notes is something that needs to be grasped quickly. If you can quickly recognize a gallop phrase (there's two variations of them by the way) or a syncopated phrase, you've already won half the battle and all what you need to do is put the phrasing to the notes and you've pretty much learnt the piece.

Here is some of the note phrases that you should learn to recognize through instinct:
Attachments:
Rhythm Test Sheet.pdf
The trouble with democracy is, no matter who you vote for the government always gets in.
Last edited by DanBrown93 at Aug 17, 2011,
#23
^^^^ All of these "advices" are directly incorporated in Music Reading for Guitar that I suggested.

The answer to this thread has been given, 2-3 times over - and your post really was great because it's spot on, and thats one of the reasons I think David Oakes book is solid spot on and I dont think a better book will ever be made on the subject. Put all other books on one side, and slide Dave Oakes all the way to the side by itself, where it rightfully belongs. Its sheer ignorance to see that book as "another sightreading book".

Best,

Sean