4 Reasons Standard Notation or Sheet Music May Revolutionize Your Guitar Playing

In this post, I want to tackle the “standard notation” or sheet music for guitar. I’ve had many students of all ages over the years, and the reading system they prefer varies on the person. 

I don’t want you just to pick one randomly as you go forward. You need to make a conscious decision based on your preferences. For this reason, I want to go over 5 reasons to check out standard notation and how it may completely change the way you look at the guitar. 

Note: Standard notation isn’t for everyone, and I’m not saying it doesn’t have its drawbacks. In another article, I’ll go over the two methods directly compared to help you make an informed decision. Be on the lookout! 

#1 It’s Widely Used

Perhaps the best reason to use standard notation is how common it is. There are thousands of guitar books out there using it, and almost every instrument in the world uses it. Developing the ability to read with it gives you the freedom to jump from genre to genre, instrument to instrument, and book to book. 

#2 It Shows The Rhythm

The amount of detail you get in how to play with sheet music is immense. Honestly, it overwhelms people a lot at the beginning, but with practice, it’s super helpful. 

Are you trying to read a new solo or lead guitar part? The sheet music tells you the notes AND the rhythms. Even if you’re only a little familiar with what the song sounds like (or it’s brand new!), the notation will give you the rhythms needed to play it on the first try. 

This is something the guitar tab doesn’t do as well, though, to be fair, the reading of the notes and putting them with the strings are harder with sheet music, at first. 

#3 Deepens Your Knowledge Of Music Theory

When you first start to play the guitar, you’re struggling to figure out how to play chords and melodies. But as you improve, you’ll find yourself at a point where you’re limited by your understanding of music theory or why the chords and music work the way they do.

Sheet music deepens this understanding because it shows how the notes work together and how the music is structured much better than the limited information you get from tabs.

Now, some of you may think that point is a long way off in your guitar journey or that you may never reach it. It’ll come faster than you think. Whether you’re 8 or 80, my students hit that point within a couple of months of consistent practice (or even sooner in some cases!). 

#4 Allows You To Find Your Own Way

Don’t get me wrong: I love guitar tabs. But from a guitar teacher’s perspective, I have a goal in mind for my students, and it may surprise you. 

I want my students to be able to learn guitar without me. 

I want my students to get to the point where they take charge of their journey and keep playing without me. I want them to look at songs and master them without me spelling every note out for them. 

Guitar tabs are great for learning a specific song, but sometimes they spell things out for you too much. Sheet music is tougher, but it forces you to step up your understanding and develop an independent ability to play the guitar

But sheet music is tough to learn. I’m not going to sugarcoat it for you. It takes quite a bit of time and practice. Fortunately, if you follow a proven program, you’ll get it faster. Guitar Tricks has lessons my students use a lot to learn standard notation quickly and without a lot of frustration. 

Check out Guitar Tricks online guitar lessons. 

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4 Reasons Standard Notation or Sheet Music May Revolutionize Your Guitar Playing
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4 Reasons Standard Notation or Sheet Music May Revolutionize Your Guitar Playing