Guitar: How To Become A Better Sight Reader
Why it is hard to read guitar sheet music
One reason why it is difficult for many guitarists to read sheet
music is that you can find the same note on different strings.
It is pretty easy to master the notes on the first four frets on
your guitar but when you reach the fifth fret you have to decide
on which string you are to play a note and you also have to find
the fret. Another reason is that many guitarists look at the
fretboard continually in order to put down their fingers on the
Is a good ear your enemy?
Pupils with a good ear, like myself when I was a beginning
guitar student, can develop strategies to find notes without
really learning the exact position on the fretboard. One
strategy is to listen your way around until you will find the
right note on another string. This strategy will of course work
but you will not develop your sight reading skills. A good ear
is an asset but nevertheless you will have to make a conscious
effort to learn the fretboard in order to be able to find the
notes automatically when looking at the sheet music.
How to avoid looking at the fretboard
One reason for always looking at the fretboard is that you are
used to it. The remedy for this is of course to practice reading
the sheet music without looking at the fretboard. Practice this
skill with easy pieces in the first position and pay attention
to correct fingering which will help you finding your notes
Do you learn to sight read when you sightread?
When you practice sight reading you have to be aware of the fact
that you cannot use the same piece of sheet music many times,
maybe just once, else you are just kidding yourself. After
having practiced on a piece of music it is of no use for
developing sightreading skills anymore. You need new fresh
material to work on. Play a lot of easy pieces that you can play
accurately the first time without looking at your fingers.
Hopefully you will find these easy tips helpful when making the
effort to become a better sight reader.