> Learn How To Sight Read!
Alex Feather
post Jan 10 2012, 12:11 AM
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Hi guys! I wanted to talk about a very important subject that helped me to learn guitar neck, be able to write down my ideas and get a lot of gigs! Sight reading!
A lot of musicians that I know for some reason skipping this step and think it's not that important, well I can assure you it is!!!
And that's why!
Try to imagine that you are one of the best guitar players in the world and you got a chance to record for a very famous artist who will pay you a lot of money so you don't have to worry about your gigs ever again! You are provided with sheet music that you have never seen before. Now what?
Sight reading! It’s what we all do the first time we lay eyes on a piece of music. Whether or not we are GOOD at it is a whole different issue. Imagine, in the above scenario, that you have sub-par sight-reading skills. Not only would it take LONGER to learn the piece of music, it could be downright embarrassing.
Here are a few reasons why having good sight reading skills is important:
1)It makes learning a piece of music easier. A good sight-reader can identify notes and patterns without laboring over every note.
2)It allows the musician to try more pieces. Being able to read music easily can allows the musician to “test out” all sorts of music. Sitting down and playing a new piece of music gives an idea of whether or not they like the composition.
2)It improves versatility. Do you want to be a studio musician? A musician in a band or orchestra? Play the guitar in church? Being able to sight read will allow you to be more versatile in these situations. A new piece of music will not be a major hurdle to overcome.
So how to practice it? And how to make it easier?
1) Be consistent! It's very important that you are practicing at least 10 minutes every day! You don't have to go crazy and overdo it and it takes some time to get it! But if you will do it every day you will see results in a month!
2) Start in one position! Start in a position you are comfortable with! For example if you have to read a simple melody in C major and know only first position it's OK!!!

Don't try to challenge yourself in the beginning just try to get familiar with writing and fingering! When you will feel more confident you can move on and play in different positions and octaves!
3) ALWAYS READ WITH A CLICK!!! It will develop your timing and will help you to learn how to count in case you need to play odd meters or just have to write your music down without having a guitar!
Here are some books that can help you out! You can get books for the trumpet because they are in the same key as guitar
When I started to learn sight reading I used this book! It's very simple and it really helps!
When you will get more familiar with sight reading switch to classical music! Bach is one of the best composers to sight read on guitar! It will also develop your musicality
There are many different books that you can find online so feel free to experiment!
Good luck!

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Todd Simpson
post Jan 10 2012, 04:58 AM
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You are soooo very right. Sight reading is an important skill for anyone wanting to explore the world of music and is often neglected. Tablature, Guitar Pro, etc. make is very easy not to sight read and this isn't always a good thing. As a start, if you are using tablature files, (for example, the ones I put in my lessons) try to sight read the notes first, then check those against the tablature. You'll get better as you go. Being able to sight read is one of the finer skills that separates many pro musicians from the rest of the pack. To be sure, many "Guitar Gods" can't site read to save their lives. However, that's really no excuse. Someone is going to win the lottery each year, but I wouldn't bet the farm on winning it. The meat and potatoes of being a musician still resolves around "charts" (studio sheet music) and moving in to other forms like film scoring, make it even more important.

I didn't learn to read music until after I"d already learned to play and it was the hardest thing I ever did. 10 times harder than shredding. I wished I'd have started much, much earlier. I still struggle with reading music to this day. We should all strive to read music better.


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