The process of learning to read music is a wonderful journey into the discovery of new musical horizons. Try it, you will not be sorry. Learn to read music today.
1. Essential to communicating with other musicians.
Music is a language unto itself. Given that, how can you communicate if you cannot speak it? Ensembles, bands, choirs, opera, jazz all operate on the written notes first. Way before improvisation was the written note. Simply put, if you cannot read you will never be in any ensemble that requires it. We could really stop right there.
2. Essential to understanding theory.
The theory of music is by necessity based on the written note. All of the structure of chords, melody, harmony and so forth can only be understood completely through the written note. I know you say well this is boring, but someday you will be so glad you started now.
3. Learn a song without any other reference.
You will not have to replay the tape or cd a million times or learn from someone else. How many times can you try to learn from a cd or from someone else and not know if you got it right? If you can read you can go straight to the book and get all of the basic information on your own.
This greatly speeds up the learning curve. You cannot learn from a book the particular way a band performs the song, but you can get the basis of the song and go from there.
4. Know the way the author of those songs meant for them to sound.
This is very interesting I think. I have many times been very surprised to find out a song was written very differently than I have always heard it performed.
Perhaps the performer left of the “intro” for example. “Georgia On my Mind” by Hoagy Carmichael for example. Nobody plays the intro. Also there are other examples.
I know this example is an old song that many of you may not know, but the fact remains that just because you have heard it on the radio a million times does not mean it was written that way. It may be even better the way the author originally intended it!
If you are a song writer I am sure you would want people to know the way you wrote it. Think about that for a moment.
5.Discover new music.
It is a wonderful thing to “find” music just because you are leafing through a songbook and you find something that really speaks top you. I have found many this way. These are songs that I absolutely love. I would never have known they existed without being able to read.
6.It is Fun!
It may seem a little hard at first, but so was riding a bicycle as I recall. In fact the first time my father let go from holding me on a bicycle I ran into a post and knocked it over! I rarely do that these days now that I have learned how. In fact there are days when I don’t knock anything over.
7. It will make you a better musician.
This may go without saying, but it really bears repeating. After all, don’t we all want to be a better musician? Of course we do.
Are you prepared to discover new music, perform with people you might never have met otherwise, speak with authority about the origins and intent of a particular piece of music or composer? I think I know the answer. Learn to read music, you will not be sorry.