Here is our comprehensive course in making reading standard music notation easy. Many musicians are convinced that they are incapable of learning to read music. This is not true! The fears and phobias are debunked here in a simple manner to help you get a functional knowledge of reading music. It is not much more complicated than reading tablature, contains much more information, and can open many more doors with just a little concentrated effort.
Lesson 1: Guide To Reading Music: Lesson #8 - The Key Of E
E Major is the last of what I consider the five “guitar friendly” keys. Not that other keys could be considered unfriendly, but guitar players and songwriters tend to use keys ranging from zero to four sharps more commonly than keys with flats in them.
Of course a capo can easily transpose any of the five to the others.
This lesson starts with a look at the Major Scale, including fingering options higher up the neck, continues with playing the scale in thirds and sixths (intervals), and includes some easy sight-reading exercises.
Lesson 2: Guide To Reading Music: Lesson #1
Here is our comprehensive course in making reading standard music notation easy. Many musicians are convinced that they are incapable of learning to read music. This is not true! The fears and phobias are debunked here in a simple manner to help you get a functional knowledge of reading music. It is not much more complicated than reading tablature, contains much more information, and can open many more doors with just a little concentrated effort. Lesson One goes onto the three major components of reading and breaks them down into well-defined, manageable chunks. Separate segments cover Rhythm, The Staff, and The Guitar. Each segment contains tips on what to focus on before trying to assemble the parts.
Lesson 3: Guide To Reading Music: Lesson #3
Lesson Three is a set of Level I Sight-Reading Exercises to help you get more familiar with the natural notes in first position. It starts with each individual string before expanding into a wider range of notes, and continues with patterns that are mostly steps, then skips, a couple short melodies, and finishes with random notes all over the place.
Lesson 4: Guide To Reading Music: Lesson #4
Guide To Reading Music: Lesson Four is a set of Level II Sight-Reading Exercises that cover important techniques, definitions and concepts. The lesson covers Picking In Time with particular attention to Eighth Notes, and also goes into Dotted Quarter Notes and Ties. The Exercises reinforce understanding the natural notes in first position (AKA the white keys), as well as combining them with slightly more complex rhythm patterns.
Lesson 5: Guide To Reading Music: Lesson #5 -The Key Of G
Picking up with the next phase of reading standard notation, we start looking at reading in keys other than C. The key of G major has only one note different from C major, which is F#.
This lesson starts with some scale exercises that help your brain and fingers prepare to read a song in a different key. This can of course be applied to any key and we will be addressing other common guitar keys soon.
The lesson also touches on the relative minor key, E minor.
Lesson 6: Guide To Reading Music: Lesson #6 - The Key Of D
The key of D is next in our series. It has two sharps, F# and C#. This lesson includes a couple sight reading exercises, with attention paid to what I call a “pre-flight check”, meaning look over the notes for surprises, rhythm and timing, possible fingering problems, and a few other things. We also go into playing in higher positions on the guitar as well as playing the scale in thirds.
Lesson 7: Guide To Reading Music: Lesson #7 - The Key Of A
The key of A has three sharps, F#, C#, and G#; like the key of D, A makes good use of second position along with shifts back into first position.
In this lesson we look at a couple of sight-reading exercises, with particular attention to left hand fingering, notes a little further up the neck, secondary positions to play notes on other strings, recognizing chords in arpeggios, and playing the scale in sixths.
Lesson 8: Guide To Reading Music: Lesson #2
Lesson Two starts with the C Major Scale and follows with a few Rhythm and Scale Exercises to get a grasp on playing simple patterns in first position on the guitar.
Lesson 9: Study #3 – Mauro Giuliani – Cadence
Study #3 is a simple arpeggio exercise using common chords in first position. From a sight reading angle it introduces notes from different strings rather than a scale sequence. It also covers good technique and position for each hand.
Lesson 10: Wilson’s Wilde - Classical Guitar Lesson
Wilson’s Wilde is a beginning Renaissance piece played in the key of A major. It is a good reading exercise, as most of the melody notes are from the A scale in first position on the top three strings.
Most of the bass notes are three lower open strings. It is in 3/4 time and consists of three sections, with variations on two of them. It also is a good exercise in alternating right hand fingers when playing eighth note runs.
Lesson 11: Study #1 - Fernando Sor - Guitar Lesson
Study #1 is an easy piece written by Fernando Sor. This lesson is supplemental material to the Guide To Reading Music. It is a simple exercise in the key of C, played in first position. It includes a little background on Sor, a Play Through with thoughts on finding reference points, a discussion on Right Hand fingerings, and a section on deciding when notes should ring and when they should be muted. It is really designed as a beginning sight reading exercise.
Lesson 12: Study #2 - Fernando Sor - Guitar Lesson
Study #2 is much like Study #1, key of C, first position, mostly meant as a sight-reading exercise, but this time there are additional thoughts about when to hold notes and when to mute them. It includes playing it through as a single line instrument, maybe a flute, and a polyphonic instrument like a harp. The Break It Down segment offers some suggestions on finding the middle ground that might be best for the guitar.
Lesson 13: Six Easy Pieces - Classical Guitar Lesson
Here we have a set of short pieces by some of the pioneering guitar teachers, Sor, Aguado, Carulli, and Giuliani. They address both right hand techniques and left hand fingerings, as well as single line melody playing, controlling multiple voices, chords, and even a bit on arpeggios. They are also great sight-reading pieces and as such bring us to our first natural break in the Guide To Reading Music.
Lesson 14: Tanz - Classical Guitar Lesson
Tanz is a lighthearted Renaissance piece which would have been played on the lute, likely to accompany a dance. It is played in Dropped D Tuning, in 3/4 time, with a steady bass pattern playing the open sixth, fifth, and fourth strings as quarter notes in each measure. There is a simple melody played using the notes of a D scale on the top three strings. The challenge in this piece is to keep the 3-note bass pattern consistent while playing the melody smoothly.