Although the direct mapping approach in a “Better Way to Read” is a vast improvement over the “read and name one note at a time and use crutches and count up and down approach”, it still suffers from a fundamental shortcoming: It is like “playing by number”, devoid of musical understanding. We can do better.
To that end, here are some points regarding expert (musical) music reading:
- Reading music is a highly learn-able skill.
- Learning to read music is not a talent any more than learning to read English is a talent.
- Learning to read music is analogous to learning a language. By listening, reading, writing, and speaking, one builds an expanding vocabulary and grammar, developing the power to comprehend and communicate an unbounded variety of meanings.
- Expert readers do not have some super human ability to process meaningless, unrelated information.
- Expert readers are trained seekers, conceivers, organizers, and rememberers of meaningful patterns.
- Expert music readers read notes like you are reading these words… in meaningful chunks called words, phrases, and sentences.
- Expert readers see each note in the context of larger, musically-meaningful patterns.
- Reading expertise grows by studying musically-useful patterns… scales, chords, chord progressions, rhythms, solfege, form, chord voicings, phrasing, key signatures, time signatures, key changes, characteristic stylistic devices, and so on.