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Classical Guitar ยป Musical Interpretation and Musicianship ยป How to Read Music Better in One Easy Step

How to Read Music Better in One Easy Step

Guitarists generally suck at reading music. How do you get better at reading music? Do it a lot. But that’s not what this post is about.

Look at Your Hands

There’s this weird stigma against looking at your hands while playing. Some people feel it’s a crutch. Others feel that looking ahead of your hands is really what good guitarists do.

In either case, there’s a universal truth about reading music: no one knows the fretboard well enough to read and find notes on the fly without the occasional look at the guitar fretboard.

This is especially true if you’re one that gets flustered and thrown off by a wrong note. You want to create an environment that makes it easy for your eyes to scan back and forth from stand to left hand to right hand and back again.

Move Your Music Stand

You can read music better just by moving your music stand. Put it to your left, in front of the guitar fretboard. This will give you a clear view of the music and your hands. Ideally the stand should be a bit lower as well.

Guitar Music Stand Placement

Music Stand Placement

Guitar Music Stand Placement View

See the Music & the Neck

6 Responses
  1. 2011 February 2

    This is very helpful for me. I was wondering why I sucked so bad at reading music, but I’m working on it. Thanks! Roger

  2. 2011 February 3
    Pete Mitchell permalink

    Great post! I think I will try to switch up my practice area. Currently I am sitting at a piano bench using the built in stand for my music. I think these tips will make reading/practicing a lot easier. My only question is what piece are you reading there? ๐Ÿ™‚

    • 2011 February 3

      That is Villa Lobos prelude number 2.

      I actually like sitting on piano benches better than chairs. But you can’t use the piano as a stand, gotta go all out and just get a nice Manhasset Stand (or something similar).

      I had to use a crap wire stand in that photo so it would show up against the black background.

  3. 2011 February 9
    Pete Mitchell permalink


    To follow up, I ended up getting a music sheet holder attachment for my microphone stand:

    It seemed to be fairly adjustable and sturdy from the reviews, so I will let you know how it works out ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. 2011 June 14
    james joseph permalink

    i like the clasic