Why You Should NOT Learn How To READ Music Notation [As Guitar Players]

Tommaso Zillio

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reading music

One big problem guitarists have when they start to learn a little bit of music theory is: they start from the wrong place

For instance, you may have thought:

“I’m going to learn how to read music first! This is a good starting point isn’t it?”

Well… no.

I’m not saying that if you start by learning to read music you have a snowball’s chance in the Sahara desert to actually get anywhere with your music theory…

… but that’s because the snowball’s probably the one better off.

Indeed my not-so-humble, will-get-me-into-trouble, completely-contrarian opinion as your friendly neighbour music theorist is:

Do not learn to read music.

Unless you really really need to.

And even then, think about it a little bit more.

If you already know how to read music: no problem, you do not need to unlearn it. Like all skills, it has its uses.

But if you do not know how to read music… consider the opportunity cost of learning to read music. It’s an ‘expensive’ skill to learn, and you may be better served by learning other things first.

All the pros and cons and hows and whys are explained here:

Instead, here’s a neglected skill that will serve you well when you start learning music theory:

So how do you learn music theory if you are not able to read music notation? Glad you asked!

Check out the Complete Chord Mastery guitar course that will have you learn everything there is to know about chords and harmony directly on your fretboard - no reading needed.


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