Decided to learn how to read music notation.

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RockerRocker Frets: 2743
Mainly as a challenge to self.  I got a book on How to Read Music and found it heavy going as I struggled with the concepts and names of notes.  The book, probably correctly, advised not moving on by chapter 2 until I fully understand everything in chapters 1 and 2.  I read, re-read and re-read again chapters 1 and 2 and still struggling.  What I need is a 'leg up' to explain what I am missing.  There is a Music School in town, probably mainly used by children, that might be able to help.  I will call in and talk to them later this week.  When I started playing bass, I was lost.  I literally could not do anything with it apart from tune it.  A local music teacher called to my house every two weeks for a couple of months and he got me going.  He helped me to understand what a bass does in a band context and gave me the lowdown on what notes to play etc.  I will never be a great bass player but I can get by and I hope the music lessons will have the same impact.

My reason for learning to read notation is like the reasons mountain climbers give for scaling mountains - because it is there!
Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. [Albert Einstein]

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  • thingthing Frets: 168
    Good luck and have a wisdom, once you can do it you'll wonder how you ever found it difficult!
    A falsehood flies half way round the world before the truth has got it's shoes on.
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  • Good luck, fella. I was lucky enough to learn it at a young age, in small chunks and at the same pace as my classical guitar playing evolved. I know I'd struggle if I started now - especially if I wasn't learning the instrument. 

    Suggestion. Take piano lessons? You'll get two clefs for the price of one! 
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  • blobbblobb Frets: 880
    Feelin' Reelin' & Squeelin'
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  • VimFuegoVimFuego Frets: 6256
    when I was learning, a tip given to me was the rule of 3's, so you read the note, you play the note and you say the note. I'm no pedagogy expert, but it's something about triple reinforcing. 

    I'm not locked in here with you, you are locked in here with me.

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  • Like everything new, the ‘knowing you’re no good’ period is the worst bit. That’s where most people quit. 

    Trust your own ability and take it slow. Take pride in the bits you do know, such as the notes in the spaces spelling the word... (no spoilers). 

    I learnt to read for bass when I was 13/14. I can’t read for Guitar so now I’m trying. Kudos for tackling something new, but give yourself a long time period and don’t give up!

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  • Do you find it hard to determine the pitch of a note or does reading a rhythm give you more trouble? Apart from Vim's excellent advice I'd suggest playing scales and arpeggios as technical exercises, then you will learn to recognise scale or arpeggio fragments and find them relatively easy to play. A scale fragment has note heads on consecutive lines and spaces, whereas an arpeggio fragment is placed on just lines or just spaces. Going from a line (or space) to the space (or line) upwards or downwards is going one scale step up or down. There are various counting exercises you can do for reading rhythms.
    "Working" software has only unobserved bugs. (Parroty Error: Pieces of Nine! Pieces of Nine!)
    Seriously: If you value it, take/fetch it yourself
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  • I’ve learnt how to read drum music - which is a bit easier, but I found practicing a little and often sometimes away from the instrument (just reading and visualisation of the notes to action) meant after a few months I felt I’d made real progress.
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  • I found that it helped me communicate with other musicians, even if they didn't know any theory.  I got right into it and eventually sat for a grade 5 RCM in classical guitar.  That gave me more credentials to get a teaching job at a music school and some side gigs I couldn't have landed without it.

    Whoever called it "rush hour" should not be allowed to name anything else.

    Dulcet Jones Creepy Music Blog http://dulcetjones.blogspot.com/

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  • vizviz Frets: 4950
    edited November 2017
    My bits of advice are, sit with your book, a pencil, some manuscript paper and a piano. The piano is really really helpful.

    Concentrate on the treble clef only till you've got it nailed. Concentrate on the pitch before moving on to the note durations. Start in C major then go onto G major. I'm sure your book follows this general direction anyhow. 
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  • RockerRocker Frets: 2743
    Rhythm is and always my main difficulty playing music. Counting beats while figuring out the note to play or to remember to play it is a big problem for me..
    Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. [Albert Einstein]

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  • VimFuegoVimFuego Frets: 6256
    for me that is still the issue (I am getting slowly better at it), I still use my ears primarily to tell me the rhythm and the dots to tell me where to put my fingers.

    I'm not locked in here with you, you are locked in here with me.

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  • Louis Bellson's book will help with reading rhythms
    "Working" software has only unobserved bugs. (Parroty Error: Pieces of Nine! Pieces of Nine!)
    Seriously: If you value it, take/fetch it yourself
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  • "Working" software has only unobserved bugs. (Parroty Error: Pieces of Nine! Pieces of Nine!)
    Seriously: If you value it, take/fetch it yourself
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  • thingthing Frets: 168
    A good way to reinforce your reading skills is to look at a score and sing it aloud, that way you're not having to concentrate on playing as well. Doesn't matter what key you sing it in it's the intervals and rhythm you're looking for. Hearing a score in your head when you look at it rather than it just being a load of notes that you can play on your instrument makes playing it a lot easier.
    A falsehood flies half way round the world before the truth has got it's shoes on.
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  • Frederick Noad's Solo Guitar Playing Book 1 covers the basics of reading music. Also, stick to reading music specifically for guitar initially as this will make things easier and you will also get finger placement and fret position guidance.
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  • I work for a music service. We all agree Guitar Basics by James Longworth and Nick Walker is the tits.
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  • sev112sev112 Frets: 384
    Get an ipad (*other tablets are available),get the music on there, then pitch to expand it

    makes it sooooooooooooo much easier than trying to recognise notes at comventional paper scale size
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  • Love a bit of a self plug - but can I suggest my reading 101 series?

    It focuses on reading skills and interpreting a transcription based on rhythm reading - which is most often the problem. When you can master rhythm reading, it frees you up to worry about note recognition.




    Support me on Youtube or Patreon
    https://www.patreon.com/leviclay    |    https://www.youtube.com/c/leviclay
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  • BillKatBillKat Frets: 1092

    The thing that drove me was wanting to know more about certain things in some music. Reading for it's own sake with no particular goal other than that would never happen, for me. So maybe pick something you want to play or want to understand, so there's some incentive.

    To start afresh it's probably easier with few or no sharps & flats in a key, just to get on with the business of remembering notes on the clef.

    I didn't bother with timing at first, just notes. So that's a ton easier already to get rolling.

    Just ways of breaking it down, sneaking up on it in stages.

    Also maybe knowing or setting limits might help. Like I only want to see harmony & movements &  thinking behind certain things. So I don't want to sight read, or worry much about timing. So there's less hill to climb, less off-putting.


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