#1
This is my first post on the UG Forums, and I'm positive that this has been posted before. But just bear with me.

I've been playing guitar for going on 11 years now, and I am comfortable with saying I am an adept player. You could give me most any song, and given time, I would have it down. I grew up learning on tabs. Not sheet music. I can fluently read tabs, not sheets.

I recently decided that I'd like to learn how to read music. Problem is, I have no idea on where to start. I'm sure I'm not the only person out there who can't read music, but it's a skill that I'll like to learn over the course of summer.

If anyone could be helpful, and give me some pointers, and push me in the right direction, I would be most appreciative. Thanks in advance!
#2
I dont think reading music is necessary in order to be a good musician, but it gives you the bigger picture and a better understanding of music. There are books on amazon to learn how to read, you could get lessons from an instructor and focus on music reading.
Good Luck!
#3
Quote by metal_is_back
I dont think reading music is necessary in order to be a good musician, but it gives you the bigger picture and a better understanding of music. There are books on amazon to learn how to read, you could get lessons from an instructor and focus on music reading.
Good Luck!


Yeah, I know. It's just that it seems to be a decent skill to have, yet I'm lost when it comes to even starting out...

And plus, I need something to occupy my time in the summer!
#4
http://www.musictheory.net/lessons

Best site for learning to read sheet music for free. It contains exercises to practice your reading as well.

I think it's important to focus on very few things when you start. You don't want to read rhythm, pitches, key signatures and time signatures from the go. Follow the order on that site and you should be fine, just make sure you understand what is being said in the lesson before you move on to the next one.
Fusion and jazz musician, a fan of most music.

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#5
I learned how to read music by taking classical guitar lessons. If you pick up a beginners classical guitar book it should start you off with at least the basics of reading in open position. Alternatively, I've heard good things from people about this book. The musictheory.net site is good for practicing reading music in isolation but doesn't have much in the way of transferring those reading skills to the instrument, which is undestandable because it's a general theory site.

Another possibility for practicing is getting guitar tabs from magazines or online which have the sheet music written above, then covering over the tab and trying to work out what to play from the stave alone.
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#6
I would have thought after 11 years that you wouod be able to figure out songs by ear and there would be no need for tab, let alone the ability to read tab fluently.

Otherwise I see no point to learning how to read sheet music if you don't have to already. You'll just forget it.
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
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#7
Quote by AlanHB
I would have thought after 11 years that you wouod be able to figure out songs by ear and there would be no need for tab, let alone the ability to read tab fluently.

Otherwise I see no point to learning how to read sheet music if you don't have to already. You'll just forget it.


Well, sure. I can learn most things by ear. Whatever I can't figure out, tabs help out some. Like I said, I grew up on tabs, explaining how I can easily figure them out, rather than being able to understand sheet music.

Yes, I do understand your point however. To me, it's not a necessary skill, I'd just like to have the ability to understand things given to me to comprehend. It's a bit frustrating when I look at sheet music and go "wat is dis nerd crap i dunno lol"

Quote by Sickz
http://www.musictheory.net/lessons

Best site for learning to read sheet music for free. It contains exercises to practice your reading as well.

I think it's important to focus on very few things when you start. You don't want to read rhythm, pitches, key signatures and time signatures from the go. Follow the order on that site and you should be fine, just make sure you understand what is being said in the lesson before you move on to the next one.


I'm delving deeper into this site. So far, it seems to clear up things in my brain. I am enjoying it so far.

Finally, something that doesn't kill you in lingo and walls of text. Thanks!
#8
Well, for I started learning with those really beginner books. The songs suck big ass but really simple with the sheet music and you can probably fly threw them after you pick up on it.
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#9
Quote by Sam1234299

Yes, I do understand your point however. To me, it's not a necessary skill, I'd just like to have the ability to understand things given to me to comprehend. It's a bit frustrating when I look at sheet music and go "wat is dis nerd crap i dunno lol"

The skill of sight reading or being able to understand various music notation schemes are two different things. Becoming a fluent sight reader requires years of familiarity,but no musician should neglect the benefits of transcribing Functional Harmony from either Staff Notation or Tablature allowing one to conceive the greater dynamics of music in a more "abuser friendly" theoretical way.
With your level of music skill, aside from chord functions and melody, there's no need to bother with most of the tedious aspects of either Tab or Staff . With Functional Harmony ,disregarding the inferior Roman Numeral or Alphabet models, you will continue to develop what you do best as a Musician performing or composing by ear. Melody-notation and chord-functions are the extent of what we need for staying on top of our music repertoire ,any other aspect being trivial.
Last edited by TheJasbo at May 27, 2013,
#10
Quote by metal_is_back
I dont think reading music is necessary in order to be a good musician


you don't need to be able to read music to be good at guitar. You do need to be able to read music to be a good musician.
#11
Do you know where the notes all over the neck area?

If yes:

The first handful of musictheory.net lessons will show you all the symbols that make up a staff. From there, you can choose literally anything to learn how to read - so long as you play it slow enough. An important part of learning to do this is to play the piece in every position that you can think of so that you do not leave blank spots in your ability to read while playing on any area of the neck. Reading through one tune each day in a real book is fantastic exercise for this.

If no:

PM me and I can show you how I handle learning the notes.
#12
The best way to learn it is to actually make good use of it. Get the Alfred's Adult Piano series and start there. If you aren't using it, then you'll likely forget it. Besides piano, it's a good skill to have if you want to follow along to scores of symphonic works or other instruments as well. I like being able to make the visual and sound connection when I read a score and hear all the details in a work.
#13
I'd just start from learning all the notes on the neck of the guitar, then I'd learn treble staff (FACE for the non-lined notes, you can just fill them in from there), and then I'd just buy The Real Book and read from that.
#14
Quote by AlanHB
I would have thought after 11 years that you wouod be able to figure out songs by ear and there would be no need for tab, let alone the ability to read tab fluently.

Otherwise I see no point to learning how to read sheet music if you don't have to already. You'll just forget it.


You don't have to rely on reading every day for it to be a useful skill. Knowing how to write stuff down makes it much easier to take note of ideas you want to remember, and makes a lot of concepts like voice leading easier to grasp.

I suggest getting a basic book on how to read, and then start picking up various pieces to read or learn. A sight singing book is a great way to expand your musicianship.
#15
^^^ Knowing how to write stuff down is fine. But if you haven't needed to write stuff in standard notation for the last 11 years it will most likely not be a skill that is required now.

Use it or lose it.
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
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#16
Well the dude's curious, so there's no point in discouraging it. Maybe organizing his thoughts on paper is just what the guy needs to take his music to the next level. Musical literacy is such a broadly applicable and fundamental skill that it's hard to say that you can go wrong with it. It's not like we're talking about "modes "to a 16 year old.

Reading music a very useful skill if you do make use of it, but if you don't, you probably didn't lose much time on it anyway.
#17
Try Music Reading for Guitar by David Oakes - MI Press

The best I've ever seen on the subject. Very unique and well thought out. I have used and taught from it to people that retained me as a Boot Camp Music Coach, needing to get into a Music College and pass their audition within a couple of months, and they couldn't read a lick of music. The results, they got it, listened to me, and they got in.

Best,

Sean
#18
I use a combination of tabs and sheet music for guitar, unless I'm playing piano of-course. I recommend taking small steps towards your goal of being able to understand and read sheet music. Don't pressure yourself into trying to cram as much knowledge into your noggin as possible. This will only burn you out. If you have a program like Guitarpro or something similar you can begin by teaching yourself the note values by paying attention the staff that is above the tab. Train yourself to focus on what is going on with the staff instead of focusing so much on the tab its' self. That's kind of how I began to learn, by focusing on the actual value of the notes, rests...etc.. Once I became comfortable with this, I began to learn the specific notes that each point on the staff represented. Keep in mind that the two most common types of staff you'll see are the Treble Clef and the Bass Clef, and the notes not in the same position on both.