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The Professor
Hey Everyone,

As well as know sight reading for guitarists is something we all struggle with during our development.

So I've put together an article on the exercises that really helped me build up my sight reading over the years.

http://www.mattwarnockguitar.com/jumpstart...e-sight-reading


Hope they are helpful!

What are some of your favorite ways to build up your sight reading skills?
Cosmin Lupu
I've tried to become proficient at this a few years ago, but I never got the right time to put into it, will give this article a good read though - who knows tongue.gif
The Professor
Yeah I was lucky to learn piano from a very young age, so when I switched to guitar reading notes was easy for me. But I'm a rare case, so when working with students I have to come up with exercises to help them out that I never had to do. Which is also good for me as it gives me insight into issues of reading that I never really thought about in my own playing.
klasaine
All of the stuff in Matts article is spot on. Playing duets or guitar ensemble music - whatever style - is probably the most 'fun' for learning to sight read.

Besides doing all those things at different times in my life these are few books that really helped me.

http://www.amazon.com/Selected-Studies-Cla...y/dp/1423445252

http://www.amazon.com/Niehaus-Basic-Jazz-C...ception+for+sax
(there's 4 levels of these)

http://www.amazon.com/Selected-Studies-Rub...k+flute+studies
(for reading ledger lines)

http://www.amazon.com/Melodic-Rhythms-Guit...leavitt+berklee
*(you'll notice this is the only guitar book I listed - guitar methods for reading are generally poor because they're geared to 'guitar' music - not general music ... which is what you generally read when you're required to sight-read)

And if you're really feeling like a tough guy, this is probably the toughest/advanced sight reading book out there -
http://www.amazon.com/Rhythmical-Articulat...ies+for+singers
(nothing will throw if if you can read this book - seriously)
The Professor
Those are all great books, very cool stuff.
Gabriel Leopardi
I learnt to read fluently in the conservatory but it's been a long since I don't use it so I'm VERY slow now again. Thanks for sharing the article, I will give it a read!

The Professor
yeah, I find if I don't read on a regular basis I get rusty. So if I play too much by ear my reading chops suffer, but if I read to much my ears suffer, I can never win! lol
klasaine
Yeah, you gotta keep it up.
I also find that writing out parts helps. My own guitar parts or a part for a sax or trumpet player. Or just a guitar lick that you know - write it down in standard notation. It's amazing what you learn about rhythm when you have to write them.
Also, if you can force yourself to stay away from TAB you'll find that you'll get better at reading. Most anything that's available as tablature is also available in standard notation.
Cosmin Lupu
Nothing beats the ears though smile.gif I'd rather have a sharp ear than sight read like having a newspaper in front of me. Or both, maybe? laugh.gif
The Professor
I'm glad I have good ears for a lot of situations. But I've played in a number of reading bands over the years, shows/musicals, big bands, backing up singers etc. And so it was good to be able to sit down and read something on the spot, especially when there was no rehearsal.
Cosmin Lupu
QUOTE (Matt Warnock Guitar @ Jan 12 2013, 09:42 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I'm glad I have good ears for a lot of situations. But I've played in a number of reading bands over the years, shows/musicals, big bands, backing up singers etc. And so it was good to be able to sit down and read something on the spot, especially when there was no rehearsal.


True that! This is where sight reading REALLY comes in handy smile.gif
The Professor
yeah, but so do ears too, especially when backing singers who change the keys on the spot. Often easier to just play by ear rather than write it out. Having both would be perfect in a perfect world!
Gabriel Leopardi
QUOTE (Matt Warnock Guitar @ Jan 12 2013, 03:13 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
yeah, I find if I don't read on a regular basis I get rusty. So if I play too much by ear my reading chops suffer, but if I read to much my ears suffer, I can never win! lol



haha yeah, my ears are wining this battle by now...
ConnorGilks
Very helpful man, thank you! I've got another great resource for sightreading too. I use to always sightread in open position and high notes would require me climbing up the top two strings, which wasn't inconvenient, but I busted out this site and learned to read within a position, made a massive difference in my sightreading!

http://garywillis.com/pages/lessons/read.html
klasaine
Music is an auditory art form so 'having a good ear' should be a given. But reading and your ears don't need to be mutually exclusive. Language is auditory as well but what do we call a guy that can't read or write?
The Professor
QUOTE (ConnorGilks @ Jan 13 2013, 02:16 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Very helpful man, thank you! I've got another great resource for sightreading too. I use to always sightread in open position and high notes would require me climbing up the top two strings, which wasn't inconvenient, but I busted out this site and learned to read within a position, made a massive difference in my sightreading!

http://garywillis.com/pages/lessons/read.html


Cool little program, pretty good for challenging you on your reading!
ConnorGilks
QUOTE (klasaine @ Jan 13 2013, 05:45 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Language is auditory as well but what do we call a guy that can't read or write?


A drummer? tongue.gif Kidding of course. You've got a great point though, connecting your ears to your fingers is invaluable.
klasaine
Right, a drummer laugh.gif - kidding too.

For me a lot of it is about 'reality'. The reality that I did not want a day job. And also the (harsh sometimes) reality that I can't write a song like Paul MacCartney and I can't solo like Jim Hendrix. Cest la vie. Reading, knowing a lot of styles (and being able to communicate it all) has afforded me that luxury of not having to get a real job.
Cosmin Lupu
Indeed, when you want to be a session player, reading is a must, but I know WAY too many people that put reading in front of being creative and I think that at a certain point in my life, this idea became a major scarecrow for me, so I turned it down just because I was scared i would become like them. I know, silly as hell, but we were all young once, right? laugh.gif
klasaine
QUOTE (Cosmin Lupu @ Jan 14 2013, 08:14 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Ibut I know WAY too many people that put reading in front of being creative and I think that at a certain point in my life, this idea became a major scarecrow for me,


laugh.gif My experience is just the opposite. I knew a ton of guys and gals that eschewed any reading and theory because they thought it would stifle their creativity. Like you say, we're all young once.

*Though I do read on sessions I would say that I probably read most on what we call out here 'casuals' or 'general business' gigs - shows, society functions, backing up singers at showcases, holiday stuff, etc. Nobody wants to rehearse for that kind of thing (and there's really no time anyway) so it's charted out.

The Professor
Yeah, gotta be creative, but when working out on gigs a lot of the time the reading gigs pay the best compared to the more creative, rewarding gigs. So it's a bit of give and take I guess, reading helps pay the bills and allows me to do the more creative stuff which is more personally rewarding than financially rewarding some of the time.
Cosmin Lupu
QUOTE (Matt Warnock Guitar @ Jan 14 2013, 08:12 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Yeah, gotta be creative, but when working out on gigs a lot of the time the reading gigs pay the best compared to the more creative, rewarding gigs. So it's a bit of give and take I guess, reading helps pay the bills and allows me to do the more creative stuff which is more personally rewarding than financially rewarding some of the time.


Matt! You have touched a VERY important breaking point in this last post smile.gif The majority of the talented and prolific instrument players here in Romania, follow the same path as you BUT they stop when they have to be creative. They just play in cover bands for various events o club gigs, parties and such but they never ever take the time to create. This is one major reason why I have ran away from that world and decided to find other means to sustain myself in order to only play the music I like with the people I like and also be able to understand my band/ musical product as a business and take it to another level. I like thinking I'm being an eclectic and taking things from various activity fields in order to develop myself as much as possible smile.gif
The Professor
For sure. Luckily I grew up playing jazz and fusion so most of my output was creative and the music I wanted to play. BUT, jazz doesn't really pay the bills, especially in the early days. So I've had to do corporate and other gigs to make ends meet while paying my dues.

There's no right way to do things I think, but I find a good mix of creative and reading gigs keeps me grounded and expressive at the same time.
Cosmin Lupu
QUOTE (Matt Warnock Guitar @ Jan 15 2013, 08:41 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
For sure. Luckily I grew up playing jazz and fusion so most of my output was creative and the music I wanted to play. BUT, jazz doesn't really pay the bills, especially in the early days. So I've had to do corporate and other gigs to make ends meet while paying my dues.

There's no right way to do things I think, but I find a good mix of creative and reading gigs keeps me grounded and expressive at the same time.


Good choice smile.gif As long as you stay true to yourself, it's all for the best!
klasaine
It definitely depends on your personality ... and what you can stomach laugh.gif. I'm fortunate in that it doesn't bother me to play not so inspiring music with not so inspiring musicians - sometimes. You know, guitar in hand. I have plenty of creative output musically. Plus I have a 3 year old running around at home - trust me, that can be very 'creative', lol!
I like playing covers. Not so much Top 40 per se but specialized covers like 50s and 60s, funk and soul, classic rock, all bossa nova, etc. I know some guys hate doing any of that. That's cool. I just happen to be OK with it. I chalk it up to my individual personality. It's easy for me to not pay too much attention to a not so great gig - you know, tomorrow's another day and whatever. I know a lot of really great musicians who can't stomach it. If it impacts your other musical journey's then by all means don't subject yourself to it.

But to take this back to the OP - reading music ...
One of the positive by-products of being a decent reader is that "you just go do the mediocre gig". No rehearsing, no sweat, no hassle, no stress. Nobody wants to rehearse for and worry about a Top 40 wedding gig - all those bands have 'books', or they should so it's easy on the players and it keeps the band 'overhead' down. You get paid (usually pretty well), you go home, you work on your own thing. *Many times you also meet other great players.
The Professor
Yeah I agree. Being able to read has gotten me out of a bunch of rehearsals for gigs I could just read down anyway. Much better than wasting time in rehearsals.
Cosmin Lupu
QUOTE (Matt Warnock Guitar @ Jan 16 2013, 03:11 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Yeah I agree. Being able to read has gotten me out of a bunch of rehearsals for gigs I could just read down anyway. Much better than wasting time in rehearsals.


Well, I totally agree with you guys on this one smile.gif For now, the only context in which I would've possibly needed reading would've been the orchestra gigs, but since I have no clue on what the future holds, I won't say no to reading smile.gif
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