The Importance Of Sight Reading

Sight Reading.  It’s important.

There, I said it.

The vast majority of guitarist can’t read notation or know very little about it – even Tommy Emmanuel of all people! Now, Tommy is a killer guitarist and I would probably call him the best in the world, but he can’t read music. This isn’t to say that he couldn’t if he tried, he just simply never learnt it.

But, why is it important?

Memory is imperfect. That’s why. Students often go home from a guitar lesson and incorrectly remember what they’ve learnt, which means they will incorrectly learn it and then later need to re-learn what they should already know! Now that’s a waste of time, effort and money.

However, if you can sight read notation (or at least guitar tablature), then you can simply read what you need to practice. You can still memorise if you want, but it’s no longer essential to your learning.

So how will that help me a guitarist?

Well, you’ll of course have better sight reading skills. But your home practice will be more effective, you’ll almost never have to re-learn anything and your rhythm will improve when your playing riffs, solos or strumming.

I recently played through Lenny by Stevie Ray Vaughan with a student. He learnt this about a year ago, but now has better Sight Reading skills and noticed so many more intricacies in the timing. He instantly sounded so much more like the actual song! Ain’t that the dream!

I could probably rant on even more, but that’ll do for now. Any questions or comments? Feel free to send us an email!

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