Category: guitar instruction

Reading Music for Guitar Beginners – Step 1: Understanding the Staff

Learning to read traditional music notation is fairly simple. Once you understand a few basic concepts it is quite intuitive. The two dimensions of the Staff The basic framework for traditional music notation is the staff. The staff consists of a series of five parallel lines. The sequence of musical notes that make up a

Reading Music for Guitar Beginners – Part 4: All about sharps and flats, how Keys work

The concept of musical “keys” can be a complicated and confusing topic, so let’s give it a go… For the most part, specifying a musical “key” is simply a way of making clear: (i) The pitch range the music is set in (the highest and lowest notes in the song), and (ii) Which notes should

Reading Music for guitar beginners – Part 3: Tempo and Note Length

Tempo, Time Signature and Note Values “Duration” – the “length” of each note – is the second basic property of all notes. (The first was “pitch”.) If you tap your foot at a consistent rate of, say, 60 taps per minute (once every second), that would be called a tempo of 60 bpm (beats per

Reading Music for Guitar Beginners – Step 2: Understanding Pitch

In Step 1 we described how the staff in traditional notation captures the two different dimensions of a musical composition: time and pitch. In its simplest form a musical melody is essentially a series of sounds strung together to form a unified composition. Each of the individual sounds is represented as a note having a

Learning to Read Music is actually pretty easy

Learning to read traditional music notation is scoffed at by many amateur guitar players. But it is just one more step to becoming a skilled musician. It’s similar in important ways to learning how to read English (or French, or Spanish, or any other language). Except learning to read the language of traditional music notation

Things for new guitar players to avoid – Unrealistic Goals

Don’t bite off more than you can chew. Yes, every new guitar player wants to get right into Stairway to Heaven or Hotel California. But once you realize that it actually takes skill to play these songs, you should lower your expectations. Trying hard to learn difficult techniques can lead to significant improvement. But it

Things for new guitar players to avoid – Not Reading Music

Don’t listen to people who say learning how to read music is a waste of time. This is where it gets a bit controversial, because so many guitar players have never learned any formal music theory, have never bothered learning to read traditional notation, and see no practical application of these things to their guitar