Beginning Sight-reading for Guitar

‘Read This First’

More About ‘Read This First’

What ‘Read This First’ is:

Read This First is a beginning music reading text for guitarists of any age who play any style of music. The pieces are easily played with a plectrum or fingers on classical, steel string, or electric guitar.


What ‘Read This First’ is not:

Read This First is not a method for learning the guitar.  It is for guitarists who already play or who are learning to play with another method, but who want to develop the ability to read music at sight. 


How the book is organized:

This collection of over 100 short melodies and duets begins with pieces that use only 2 pitches and quarter note rhythms.  New notes and rhythmic ideas are added gradually, eventually covering all the pitches in first position and all basic rhythms. There are four sections in the book.


Technical and artistic goals:

New material is introduced gradually enough to provide ample opportunity to review and solidify skills. All physical difficulties which interfere with the fluency and ease of reading have been minimized.  These include string skips and awkward left hand finger combinations.  Melodies and harmonizations are chosen for variety of style, meter, and mode/key, even in the beginning sections.


Appearance of the music:

Clear, easy to read pages with minimal clutter and distractions are essential.  Fingerings,expressive indications, and tempo markings have been omitted but may be added by the teacher.  Fonts are initially large and bold and decrease in size as the book progresses.


About accompaniments:

Since most guitar teachers are comfortable improvising accompaniments from chord symbols, these are included in small font above the melodies.


About sections 1-A and 1-B:

It has become the preference of many teachers to have beginner students start by plucking the strings with the thumb or plectrum while resting the other fingers on the first string.  Since these teachers may want to use Read This First to supplement note-reading practice during this period, section 1-b introduces notes without making use of the first string.  Because both sections 1-a and 1-b begin with only two notes and the simplest rhythms, either may used first.