Lilting Fiddle

Learning to Play Fiddle as an Adult

Trouble with Learning to Read Music

Posted on January 20, 2019

Honestly, I don’t really know if this is a problem or not. If anyone has insight into this, please let me know!

I’ve always had trouble practicing reading music notation. The thing is, I can fumble through reading a (simple) song passage, such as something I’m practicing from my Essential Elements for Strings Book. I reference the notation the first few times, and maybe look at bits and pieces of it a little bit after. But once I know what the song should sound like, I find myself quickly shoving the notation aside to play from memory.

That’s why it’s so, so important for me to be able to hear samples of the tunes that I’m trying to play. When I hear the song and put it on repeat a few times, I’m much more able to perform it. Every book or learning tool I use has to have some kind of track to play with for this reason.

Back when I was learning to play guitar many many moons ago, I did the same thing. I feel like I never really connect the process of learning to match notes on the page with fingering. By the time I settle into practice, I’m doing it more by ear than by eye.

Is this a bad thing? Is this a good thing? Is there something I can do to help me focus more on practicing to read the notes? I guess I could FORCE myself to sit and read notation, but that seems awful dull. Or is this something I should just roll with for now and be more focused on when the tunes get a little more complex?

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