Best way to learn to read music?

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by Komakino, Aug 5, 2001.

  1. Komakino

    Komakino Guest

    Feb 23, 2001
    Somerset, England
    What is the best way, or what methods did you use, to learn to read proper music notation?

    I really want to learn to read music, but I'm not sure of how to get started.
  2. Blackbird

    Blackbird Supporting Member

    Mar 18, 2000
    I got the James Jamerson book and crammed. Mind you, I'm still practicing.

    Moved to General Instruction.
  3. Chris A

    Chris A Chemo sucks! In Memoriam

    Feb 25, 2000
    Manchester NH
    Something I've used with a few of my students, and also my 6 year old son, is to learn to read apart from the instrument. Then gradually bring it to the instrument. If you try to go at it with your instrument in hand, the instrument becomes a bit of a distraction for what you are attempting to learn at the moment.

    Chris A.:rolleyes:
  4. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator Gold Supporting Member

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    Many of my students report that learning to write/transcribe music has helped their reading a great deal. I found the same to be true when studying composition at the university - by writing, you are really kind of reading in reverse, only your sense of "rhythmic awareness" gets multiplied by a factor of about 100. Technically, I could read before that, but after that, I could read a lot of things on sight, which is a different thing.
  5. Reading music definately helps. Even though I'm a mere student I always rave about lessons. They may not give you everything you want at first. But they do help tremendously. My first book for reading music was like Mel Bay's Bass Method Volume 1. It was basic, which was good for me to get me used to reading it. And it gives you diagrams of the neck and stuff. Writing it is helpful to b/c it puts what you've learned to practice.

    But then again, that's just me...
  6. Yvon


    Nov 2, 2000
    Montreal, Canada
    I learned to read without my bass.
    I have a book with only notes, no rythm. I would take the metronome and say all the note name at a steady speed. Incrasing the speed every once in a while. And I have a book with only rythm, so I would tap the rythm with the metronome. I would do that on my lunch brake at work.
    After a while I started to read the note on my bass and play only rythm with the other book on my bass.

    And after that I started to read real charts.
    I don,t know if it was the best way, but it worked good with me.
  7. Komakino

    Komakino Guest

    Feb 23, 2001
    Somerset, England
    Thanks, some useful suggestions there guys. I like the metronome idea particularly...

    Also, does anyone know where to get bass sheet music? I've tried looking, but it's all treble or written for piano so I'm only playing half the piece


  8. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator Gold Supporting Member

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    You can't go wrong with the Bach 2 part inventions. Technically they are intermediate/advanced, but they are so contrapuntal that each part truly is a melody unto itself. Also, if you have access to a multitrack machine, you can learn one part, record it, and then learn the second part and play along. They'll take a long time to learn if you're a beginning reader, but they are rhythmically fairly simple and technically very difficult on the bass - so you'll be giving your technique a real shot in the arm every time you work on them

    Also, it wouldn't hurt you one bit to begin to learn treble clef once you get halfway decent at bass opens up a whole new world, and the principle behind it is exactly the same as bass clef, only with a different referential "starting point".

    Good luck.
  9. Davidoc

    Davidoc Guest

    Sep 2, 2000
    Northern VA and JMU
  10. My teacher used a book that taught notation, I think it was called the "Electric Bass" series, but I could be wrong. In jazz band I had problems reading and playing at the same speed, so I went over it and tabbed each note (in hindsight that was probably counter-productive) so I could play the song the same speed as everyone else. Luckily I was still learning with my teacher, and after awhile I threw away the tab and was able to read and play the right speed at the same time. Now that I'm out of school for the summer, I kind of got lazy with reading music and now I've been practicing a lot lately for when jazz band starts again.