Read This First, Beginning Sight-Reading for Guitar – Joseph Pecoraro

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ISBN: 1-59975-922-5

The highly acclaimed note-reading method for all guitarists by author Joseph Pecoraro. This collection of over 100 melodies gradually introduces guitarists of any style into the wonderful world of music reading. Uncluttered layout, carefully graded pieces, and clear, simple instructions make this the book to Read First!

What is ‘Read This First’?
Read This First is a beginning music reading book for guitar, it is not intended to be a method for learning to play guitar and has no information about technique, etc.

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. 

Who is it for?
It is for any guitarists of any age who wants to develop or improve the skill of reading music at sight.  Those working with or without a guitar teacher, who already learn pieces through tablature or music, or have learned to play and improvise by ear can all use this book!

Do you have to play a particular style of guitar?
‘Read This First’ is deliberately designed to be used by players of any style.  Classical, folk, rock, jazz- anybody can have fun reading this music!

How does it work?
It starts with very simple melodies that anybody can read at sight with almost no preparation.  New things are added as the pieces progress, but so gradually that it always seems easy.  No lengthy explanations, lists of things to memorize, or dry exercises.

Don’t you have to learn a lot of details and theory to read music?
Not really.  Music reading is not a very complicated thing when you progress at the right pace.  It’s a lot like learning a language.  You practice using the words you know over and over in different contexts, gradually introducing new words when you are ready. 

So what you really need is to just spend time doing it?
That’s right-and you need to have a lot of material to read that is at the right level.  ‘Read this First’ has 130 melodies and very little text.  There are hundreds of guitar methods available that include some information on reading music but none that we know of that give you this amount of material with which to practice.

But why do you need so many tunes?
To really learn to read at sight you need to read new pieces a lot.  The pieces in the book are not meant to be practiced over and over.  After reading a particular tune on a few different days it is time to leave that one behind.  Most guitarists are quick memorizers.  Once they have read something a few times they are no longer really reading it, even if they continue to look at the music for support.

How long does it take to work through the book?
The pieces eventually cover all the notes in first position and all basic rhythms.  A very young beginner might spend several years reading a bit at a time, an experienced and highly motivated player might master the whole book in a month or two.  Anyone who spends just a couple of minutes a day reading the pieces will make steady and enjoyable progress.

What else does it have?
All of the pieces have discreet chord symbols placed above so the melodies can be played along with a teacher, friends, etc.  Some of the melodies are part of duets in which both parts are the same difficulty.  There is a chart of basic chord shapes and 18 note-flashcard for those who want extra help reviewing the pitches.

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

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