I am finding more and more that I am frustrated by music, trying to play with other people, and not being able to pick up songs I want to cover fast enough or easily enough to make the process efficient.
I’m also pretty tired of having to re-learn my original songs if I’ve walked away from them for a few months, and oftentimes avoiding working on concepts I’ve jotted down for the same reasons.
So it seems I am finally learning how to read music, after countless years of avoidance and fears surrounding mechanizing whatever it is that draws me to playing it. At this point, the limitations outweigh my desire to avoid failing, sucking, and potentially losing my supposed “gift”.
It’s been about a week now and I’ve practiced a few times, it’s on my mind, and I am making progress. For now, I’m expect I will stick with it, especially since I’m wasting a lot less time paging through Facebook when I’m at the computer. (It’s good to have a project.)
My approach has been to remove my ear from the process as much as possible while I learn the clefs and how to read pitch, so I learn to actually read rather than use a vague sense of written music to inform how quickly I play something by ear.
Now that I immediately recognize a few notes on both the standard clefs, I’m looking at a lot of different easy/level 1 music examples that I don’t know the sound of and attempting to muddle through the songs without a) looking at the keyboard and b) recognizing the song and starting to play it by ear. If I find I recognize a song I move onto the next one without finishing it, and I’m only going through each unknown song 2 or 3 times to avoid beginning to memorize it.
I’m also trying to remember to say the notes I am playing out loud so I learn the note names, not just where the corresponding key is on the keyboard for each little bubble on the staff.
It’s going slowly but surely.
Ok, actually, it’s ging pretty fucking fast — I think I’ve spent perhaps 2 hours working on this and can already half-read bass and treble clef. However accidentals, rests, and timing are a bunch of fucking whores, and are making me mad, and can totally catch a terrible flesh eating disease and die.
Here are some of the resources I’ve used to begin learning:
This guy is a bit of a rambler, however the points he made in his 3-part lecture helped me figure out how I wanted to approach learning to sight-read.
This is a nice basic overview I expect to return to periodically for both learning and exercise, including a bunch of stuff I still don’t understand and a really bitchin’ accent.
I believe I may invest in a yearly subscription to this site, depending on how the next few weeks goes:
I am using free sheet music from this source: