[Harp-L] we're here for a good time-trooper

Richard Hunter rhunter377@xxxxx
Tue Jul 25 08:43:14 EDT 2017

Rick Dempster wrote:

> Seconded. I never learnt a thing off tabs. Not only that, but despite
> having taught myself to
> read music (very slowly) it takes me forever to learn by heart a piece of
> music delivered to
> me in 'dots'. Like tab, it just doesn't 'sink in', even if I can actually
> play it from the sheet.
> If I learn it by ear, it's there forever; and yes, you get better at it
> quite quickly.
> Even if you memorise from tab, it won't help you improvising, or picking
> things up, generally.
> No harm, in writing your own tab, however, as a memory helper.

I'm sorry to hear that you have some kind of mental block where learning
from sheet music is concerned. For the record, one of the most important
reasons to learn to read--to read standard music notation, that is, not
tab--is that it makes the process of learning a new piece of music go much,
much faster.  The larger and more complex the music is, the more helpful
reading is to learning it.

I've said a lot about the value of reading music in this forum on other
occasions, so I'm not going to lay it all out here again. But the idea that
reading music makes it harder to memorize music is a personal issue, not a
natural fact.  The experience of literally millions of musicians says the

If you don't need to read to play the music you want to play, fine by me.
It's your choice. To claim that reading music is an obstacle to learning
music is something altogether different, and it could do some damage to
people who otherwise might be inclined to pick up a very useful skill, one
that expands both their musical skills and their career options.

Regards, Richard Hunter

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