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Poll: Playing By Ear Vs. Reading Sheet Music

Updated on February 28, 2013
Part_of_sheet_music_from_arban.
Part_of_sheet_music_from_arban. | Source

I have always had a deep love for music; whether playing, singing, or listening. The one thing I have never been able to effectively accomplish is reading music, despite 3 years of piano lessons, playing bass and trombone in high school band, or playing guitar. I can listen and hear the part I need to play, or if I write out the notes I can figure out the timing, however reading the music script is not one of my developed abilities.


Often I have wondered is there something wrong with me that I am not able to grasp this? Does it have to do with my ADHD, or a laziness in learning? I don't believe it could be due to the latter because I have really pushed my self, and desired to learn to read music.


Don't get me wrong, if you put the music in front of me and give me fifteen minutes or so I may be able to tell you all of the notes on a single line, but it is that slow speed that would prohibit me from playing off of sheet music in a timing that could keep up with others playing the same piece of music.


All of this to ask other musicians out there for your opinions, and also a quick poll to see how many people play by ear, play by sheet music, or play by both. All feedback would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you,

Josh Dempler

What method do you use to play music?

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