Learning How to Read Music – Introduction

Do you have a dream to play a musical instrument, sing or write songs? Learning how to read music is a critical skill set that you will need to be a successful musician. Some compare it to being literate. I would agree with that assessment.

Believe it or not learning how to read music can be surprisingly easy and fun. You just need to have a little motivation, a good plan and some encouragement as you learn.

For over forty years I have been involved in music, most of those years earning an income, though meager at times, as a musician. I have taught literally hundreds of students. Some who were very young students and, surprisingly, some who were quite elderly.

The Sad Story

Many years ago I became acquainted with a very talented saxophonist. He was quite young at the time and he could virtually play anything he heard without the aid of written music. At the time I remember thinking “What an awesome gift”! I still feel that way today.

You can imagine my surprise when I found out Tom (not his real name) had no clue how to read music.

Toms burning desire was to become a professional musician. He had all he needed to become a highly successful musician with the exception that he could not read any music.

All of his musical friends told him that being able to read music was a critical skill that he needed to develop in order to achieve his musical dream. That sounds reasonable, doesn’t it?

Tom didn’t think that advice was so reasonable and he totally rejected the ideal. That was many years ago and you have probably guessed the outcome. To date he cannot read music nor has he ever made any serious effort to learn. He has yet to achieve anything close to his dream and potential.

In Texas we have a saying that goes like this, “With that kind of attitude you could ruin an anvil”

Toms’ story is disappointing and sad. But the real tragedy was his attitude about learning. I later found out that he had great difficulty learning in traditional ways.

The Good News

As a teacher I have thought many times with the resources we now have available online for specialized learning, Tom could easily have been motivated to learn the musical skills necessary to achieve his musical dreams.

This article is an introduction to a series of articles I’ll be writing on “Learning how to read music”.

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