About ‘Read This First’

Read This First is a beginning music reading book for guitar, it is not intended to be a method for learning to play guitar and has no information about technique, etc.

What is ‘Read This First’ ?

How does it work?

Who is it for?

It is for any guitarists of any age who wants to develop or improve the skill of reading music at sight.  Those working with or without a guitar teacher, who already learn pieces through tablature or music, or have learned to play and improvise by ear can all use this book!

Do you have to play a particular style of guitar?

‘Read This First’ is deliberately designed to be used by players of any style.  Classical, folk, rock, jazz- anybody can have fun reading this music!

It starts with very simple melodies that anybody can read at sight with almost no preparation.  New things are added as the pieces progress, but so gradually that it always seems easy.  No lengthy explanations, lists of things to memorize, or dry exercises.

Not really.  Music reading is not a very complicated thing when you progress at the right pace.  It’s a lot like learning a language.  You practice using the words you know over and over in different contexts, gradually introducing new words when you are ready. 

Don’t you have to learn a lot of details and theory to read music?

So what you really need is to just spend time doing it?

That’s right-and you need to have a lot of material to read that is at the right level.  ‘Read this First’ has 130 melodies and very little text.  There are hundreds of guitar methods available that include some information on reading music but none that we know of that give you this amount of material with which to practice.

But why do you need so many tunes?

To really learn to read at sight you need to read new pieces a lot.  The pieces in the book are not meant to be practiced over and over.  After reading a particular tune on a few different days it is time to leave that one behind.  Most guitarists are quick memorizers.  Once they have read something a few times they are no longer really reading it, even if they continue to look at the music for support.

How long does it take to work through the book?

The pieces eventually cover all the notes in first position and all basic rhythms.  A very young beginner might spend several years reading a bit at a time, an experienced and highly motivated player might master the whole book in a month or two.  Anyone who spends just a couple of minutes a day reading the pieces will make steady and enjoyable progress.

What else does it have?

All of the pieces have discreet chord symbols placed above so the melodies can be played along with a teacher, friends, etc.  Some of the melodies are part of duets in which both parts are the same difficulty.  There is a chart of basic chord shapes and 18 note-flashcard for those who want extra help reviewing the pitches. 

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Beginning Sight-reading for Guitar

‘Read This First’