#1
Hey everyone, I've been a guitarist for the past 8 years of my life and have never once been taught how to read sheet music. It has now come the time where I have decided that I want to pursue a career in music and have been enrolled into a college of my choice that offers a Jazz Studies degree.

Of course as you probably already assume, the degree requires an audition which consists of my level of playing (of which I have not too much concern) and sight reading abilities and an improvisation requirement (both of which I have considerable amounts of concern with).

Since I do not know how to read music already I have found it is very difficult to start learning to read music and going back to square one after already becoming as well of a player as I am, I need to find a way to learn to read music that will work.

My question to all of you is this: What is the best way to learn to read sheet music for guitar effectively and in a reasonable amount of time while maintaining my interest and attention?

The most important parts are maintaining my interest and learning it effectively.

I hope you all can help me!!

Nick
#3
I strongly recommend William Leavitt's "A Modern Method for Guitar" (also known as the "Berklee Books"). The books (there are three) are widely recognized and shouldn't be difficult to locate.

The first book starts at a rather fast pace and requires hard work to get through perfectly. That said, if you take the time to go through without half-assing things, it is incredibly rewarding and you should be able to walk away with good reading (specifically sight reading) skills.
#4
It will take time. To improve quickly it is best to practice it on a daily basis.

Some things you might want to try are getting some sheet music for a song (without tab) and start learning it note by note. It will seem really slow at first but practice every day. Even twice or three times a day. Put in thirty minutes in the morning, then thirty minutes at night every day.

Think of a few songs you know. Start with some that have fairly straight timing then transcribe it. Print off some blank staff paper. I'm sure there is some on the internet you can download. Get a pencil and transcribe some songs you already know.

Again the key to learning things quickly is to practice daily.

I'm sure there are also some workbooks and websites out there that you can get your hands on and work through on a daily basis to teach you the information you need to understand standard notation.

Just remember to spend time on it at LEAST once per day.
Si
Last edited by 20Tigers at Mar 30, 2012,
#5
Quote by 20Tigers

Just remember to spend time on it at LEAST once per day.

This.

Disclaimer: I am not a good reader, but have at various points tried to learn. And I've failed, but lets hope you can overtake me and become fluent in time for your audition. I have heard of people in your position who have triumphed, but it does take determination.


The reason I find it so hard to learn is that you have to force yourself to play things which are much below your technical skill level, and you make very slow progress with simple melodies when you would feel much more satisfied shredding some fast solo. Its a kick in the balls to your confidence as a player, and its all too easy to give up, but if you stick at it you'll reap the rewards.

But if you're motivated enough by your goals then you will be able to study, and if you study then you WILL get better, and when you get better you will be more motivated by your progress. I was promised by my ex-teacher (who is very knowledgeable about this) that when you become a semi-proficient reader then practising reading becomes a very enjoyable and rewarding experience in itself, although I am not yet at that point.

I would reccomend you buy either A Modern Method for Guitar by Leavitt or Music Reading for Guitar by David Oakes (I have both and think I prefer the latter, but either would do) - these books provide some explanation of how to read but their main purpose is to provide many examples and etudes progressing in difficulty for you to read.

As both books advise in their forewords, it is important to read everyday (particularly as you have a deadline), and dont work on reading the same piece on two consecutive practice sessions (but you can go back and revise stuff after a while) as you are practising reading on sight therefore you do not want to recognise the melody or be playing partially from memory.

Both books also advise that you should continually seek out other sources of music to supplement your practice, and I would recommend buying (or downloading) a Real/Fake book of jazz standards as you are going to be studying jazz. You should be constantly listening to and even learning/transcribing jazz standards anyway if you plan on studying jazz.

For the time being you should go to this website and work your way through the lessons. I find the note/key signature reader tools to be useful.


You didn't give us too much of an indication of your current skills - how is your music theory knowledge? How well do you know the notes of the fretboard?
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 Mar 30, 2012,
#6
Wow. Calm down, take advice constructively, dont be so sensitive. The advice here is free, take it or leave (it).



Srsly, that overreaction almost seems like trolling...
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 Mar 30, 2012,
#7
Quote by Hydra150
Wow. Calm down, take advice constructively, dont be so sensitive. The advice here is free, take it or leave it.



Srsly, that overreaction almost seems like trolling...



Sorry, it's just that my whole life my parents and aunts and uncles and friends and teachers have all told me that if I became a musician I was doing nothing to help the world and I was throwing my life away and I wouldn't live a healthy life and I would be in extreme debt and the list goes on.

I'm sorry. I just don't take kindly to things that even sound remotely like discouragement. I should have had better control of myself. I'm sorry.
#8
Quote by ndforan

I'm sorry. I just don't take kindly to things that even sound remotely like discouragement. I should have had better control of myself. I'm sorry.


I'm not sure how that sounded like discouragement

They were just stating that even if is boring, you will still keep practicing sight reading if you are determined to. Aren't you determined to get into music school? If anything, it sounds like motivation to me. You most likely won't get in if you're not good at sight reading, so that's just another reason to practice it more.
#9
Quote by ndforan
if I became a musician I was doing nothing to help the world

False, music makes the world go round.
Quote by ndforan
and I would be in extreme debt

True, if you dedicate your life to becoming a professional musician it will be very hard work to earn decent money.
Quote by ndforan
I just don't take kindly to things that even sound remotely like discouragement. I should have had better control of myself

Well youre gonna need thick skin to survive in this industry. Its clear that you're passionate, but you need to channel that passion in a positive way.
Getting butthurt because someone tells you something you dont want to hear is going to get you nowhere, being gracious and learning from everybody and everything (particularly from your own mistakes) will get you places.
And so will hard work, which is what is required for learning to sight read.


edit: And I forgot to mention in my first post, you should get a good teacher (if you don't already).
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 Mar 30, 2012,
#10
Well I'd discourage you if you couldn't find it within yourself to simply practice something rather than have to find a way to do it in a manner that makes it pleasant.
#11
I started with entry level classical guitar books.
Not the grades, but more tuition style books such as 'Enjoy Playing the Guitar' (1 and 2) by Debbie Cracknell.
Once you get the hang of the basics it is then down to you to explore more complex material at your own pace.

Another good book is 'For Guitar PlayersOnly' by session legend Tommy Tedesco
It has actual studio charts that he sightread in LA studios, plus some good reading exercises based on learning to use various positions on the guitar when playing in particular keys.
#12
I know all of you are worked up about the whole freak out thing, but please can we stay on topic?

I realize I screwed up and freaked out but I'd rather hear more about various ways I can learn to read sheet music than read about how much I need to rethink about what I said and all that jazz.

Please can we stay on topic?
#13
Quote by ndforan
Hey everyone, I've been a guitarist for the past 8 years of my life and have never once been taught how to read sheet music. It has now come the time where I have decided that I want to pursue a career in music and have been enrolled into a college of my choice that offers a Jazz Studies degree.

Of course as you probably already assume, the degree requires an audition which consists of my level of playing (of which I have not too much concern) and sight reading abilities and an improvisation requirement (both of which I have considerable amounts of concern with).

Since I do not know how to read music already I have found it is very difficult to start learning to read music and going back to square one after already becoming as well of a player as I am, I need to find a way to learn to read music that will work.

My question to all of you is this: What is the best way to learn to read sheet music for guitar effectively and in a reasonable amount of time while maintaining my interest and attention?

The most important parts are maintaining my interest and learning it effectively.

I hope you all can help me!!

Nick


Music Reading for Guitar by David Oakes.

I just want to say the difference between those that make it and those that do not are the ones that do, do not put limitations on how they will learn. They discipline themselves to face the challenges, and ultimately earn the prize.

Best,

Sean
#14
Thanks for all the help guys!

I decided to use the transcribe idea but I was having trouble finding the notes on the fretboard. So I did some online research and found an AMAZINGLY helpful website.

www.musictheory.net

This site not only teaches you what the basics are of music theory, but it also has some pretty nifty exercises to help you build your memory and skills musically. The one exercise that I found most helpful was the Fretboard Note Identification exercise. You can select up to 12 frets to use along with open notes and it has a timer on it so you know how long you've been working on it for.

I've been doing 5 frets plus open notes for 15 minutes a day at least for starters.

Thanks for all the help guys!
#15
Quote by chronowarp
Well I'd discourage you if you couldn't find it within yourself to simply practice something rather than have to find a way to do it in a manner that makes it pleasant.


you're a douschebag
#16
Quote by ndforan
So I did some online research and found an AMAZINGLY helpful website.

www.musictheory.net

This site not only teaches you what the basics are of music theory, but it also...



Quote by Hydra150

For the time being you should go to this website and work your way through the lessons. I find the note/key signature reader tools to be useful.


You're welcome.
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
#17

...modes and scales are still useless.


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