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Why cant we all read?

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by Jpeachbass, Dec 3, 2010.

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  1. Just wanna know why a lot of players wont learn to read. Expecialy after playing for several years. Any thoughts?
  2. bassman_al

    bassman_al Supporting Member

    Apr 16, 2008
    Fairfax, VA USA
    I think a lot of folks here are going to see this thread as trolling. But I'll answer. Because for a lot of players, there is really no need to learn to read.
  3. Some of us are lazy old sods.
  4. MysterMunky


    Jan 14, 2008
    El Paso, TX
    That was my attitude toward english class....

    I don't understand how people aren't open to reading and music theory. They are just more tools in your bag of tricks.
  5. It's a pretty arrogant (or trollish, take your pick) question.

    Great ear, determination, lack of need? The list of valid answers goes on and on.

    I had a good deal of success for around 20 years without reading skills. I finally took formal piano in my 30s because...(drum roll, please), I finally had the need and the determination to learn!
  6. Because, as has already been said, there is no absolute NEED
    for it for some. They're not open to it because they don't have to be.
  7. I might also add, learning to read music, although in general will help you improve your playing, there is no absolute guarantee it will. I've know of many skilled and talented musicians who couldn't read a note, and just as many who were very skilled at reading music (one in particular I knew of who taught jazz guitar) couldn't play worth a crap.
  8. Tampabass

    Tampabass Going Viral By 2080 Supporting Member

    Feb 16, 2006
    I know you are, but what am I?
    spelling is difficult for some, too - fyi: "can't," "won't," "especially"
  9. HeadyVan Halen

    HeadyVan Halen

    Jun 11, 2010

    Yes. This.

    When we get gigs, club owner doesn't care about augmented and suspended chords.

    Can you get people in to buy beer?

    I would like to learn and don't critize those who do, but it just is not neccesary in my world.
  10. A cost benefits analysis that for their personal situation says the costs outweigh the benefits.
  11. Mike Dimin

    Mike Dimin Banned

    Dec 11, 1999
    That just means that, in many respects, their "personal situation" will has reached it's ceiling. It's all good with me because:
    a) I get those reading gigs and
    b) by an large they pay a great deal more than any other
  12. SanDiegoHarry

    SanDiegoHarry Banned Supporting Member

    Aug 11, 2008
    San Diego, CA
    it takes WORK. I used to read pretty well but let it slip. I've found that it is NOT like riding a bike - you have to keep at it.
  13. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    ever notice that the only people on earth who say the costs outweight the benefits are non-readers? i've already browbeaten people enough over being too lazy to learn how to read so i'll refrain in this thread, but never in a million years will you hear a reader say the costs outweigh the benefits. and there are way more benefits to learning how to read than merely being able to read a sheet of music. even if you never read on a gig in your entire life, the benefits greatly outweigh the costs, and the only people you will ever hear say the opposite are non-readers.
  14. Staccato

    Staccato Low End Advocate

    Aug 14, 2009
    The OP's question-reminds me of an engineer with a college diploma. He or she has completed the core & major courses.

    Then, he or she is equipped for the first day on the job as a minimally qualified engineer, with eyes open.
  15. Tampabass

    Tampabass Going Viral By 2080 Supporting Member

    Feb 16, 2006
    I know you are, but what am I?
  16. i wanted to learn to read once when i bought the standing in the shadows of motown book. so my wife (who is a choir teacher) taught me and in only a couple of days i could read. but after i went through that book, i didnt have another use for it. now i can read still but it takes a looooong time for me to play a song off a sheet. just dont have enough use for it to keep it fresh.
  17. kraigo


    Jun 21, 2007
    Minneapolis, MN
    You can do A LOT of theory without relating it to the staff. In fact, the staff just makes it more confusing in a lot of cases. I can tell you an interval much quicker by looking at the neck than I can by looking at the staff because the neck is more regular (is the move from a line to a space a whole step or a half step? It depends on the key signature).

    At any rate, the closest thing to sheet music that I ever get in my world is a lead sheet (melody line on a staff with lyrics and chord names over the top). It's not strictly necessary that I learn to read.

    I am writing this with trepidation because I was basically stalked off of alt.guitar.bass for making this point. For the record:

    I am not advocating that a person not learn to read. I am also not saying that reading is not a good skill to have. If you ever get called to do something like a theater pit or jingles for advertising, you could get black listed pretty quickly if you show up without your reading skills together. Furthermore there is a wealth of material dating back centuries that is there with the sole purpose of helping us make pleasing music. Reading is a good thing.

    But I am barely functional* as a reader and it has not caused me a lot of pain as a bassist.


    *I can look at a key and time signature and tell you what key and meter we're in. I can handle repeats much better than I can handle codas. I can figure out the notes and the rhythms, but not in real time. It probably wouldn't take me significant time to improve my reading because I do know the mechanics of it. But I often transpose things for people and I can do it in real time without writing it down (to a degree) for myself because I know the neck way better than I know the staff.
  18. Buy that man a beer. Buy him two. (You'll note that I said "two"... not, "to", not "too")

    English literacy means more to me on a gig than musical literacy. I'd rather play with guys can read and write their language than notation.
  19. Rimshot

    Rimshot Supporting Member

    May 4, 2006

    Other things I won't learn that would benefit me: How to perform surgery, How to speak Japanese, How to build a point to point wired tube amp, How to build and operate an efficiency farm, How to play madrigal music, How to play drums...

    You get my point?
  20. MatticusMania

    MatticusMania LANA! HE REMEMBERS ME!

    Sep 10, 2008
    Pomona, SoCal
    I wouldnt mind learning to read music, in fact I used to be able to, but I didnt need it and didnt keep at it. By the time I began teaching myself to play bass I had forgotten entirely. I havent yet had the need for it, though I love self improvemet. Sadly, I dont have enough free time to work on it at the moment.

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