Discover how to improve your reading skills with study etudes

Practicing an etude on guitar will help you improve, but do you want to get the most benefit from your etude? Many musicians don’t practice in a manner where they get the most benefit from their practice time. Everything you can do to improve your practice is well worth it. So how do we get the most from practicing an etude?

The first thing that should be mastered from practicing etudes is keeping your eyes on the music. You may feel the need to find the note on the guitar at times, but every time you take your eyes off the music you are delaying your eyes. You lose your spot and when you finally find it again you lost a lost time. Saving all the time you can to look at music is very important when you are reading music. Keeping your eyes on the music allows you to move on to the next way to improve your reading skills.

Keep your eyes moving ahead whenever it is possible. If there is a half note, get your eyes moving ahead to see what is coming next. During the time you are playing that half note you already know what you are playing, prepare for the future. Reading music is like driving a car. Next time you are in a car look far ahead and see how fast things move, then focus your attention to the dotted lines as you drive by. As you can see, when you keep your eyes moving ahead, music will feel slower.

Noticing patterns will help you play with more ease. There are rhythm patterns that you will and should become familiar with, and there are note patterns as well. Keep an eye out for scales and arpeggios as you play through your etude. To do this you may have to mentally reorganize the notes to see their scale forms. When you recognize something you’ve already seen it is much easier to play. So keep an eye out for rhythm patterns and note patterns that may pop up.

Take these 3 tips and apply them to your etude practice. You could try to apply one at a time, or just work on them all at the same time. However, these are the 3 tricks that make musicians good at reading musical notation. Keep your eyes on your music so that you can look ahead to notice patterns. You now have what it takes to read well. Apply them and you will improve.

4 reasons guitarists should do study etudes

Most guitarists cringe at the idea of working on etudes. The thought of reading music on guitar is scary to many guitarists who cannot read music. Guitarists should work on study etudes because there are many benefits. In this lesson I am going to explain 4 reasons a guitarist would benefit from studying etudes.

  1. You will improve your reading.

Spending time with your eyes in music will help your reading. With better reading skills you will have a better chance at studying music in college, getting better gigs, help you jazz standards faster and easier and make you a more educated musician. You do not need to be a great reader, but it definitely helps your playing to understand the written page.  You will start to learn how the written page is made and it won’t seem so scary to read music.

2. Working on etudes will improve your technical ability.

Study etudes are designed to work on a specific technique. One etude is supposed to help your trills and the next might be made to help you skip strings. Practicing etudes will help you become more comfortable with your instrument. You will come across patterns that you cannot play until you practice them. As you advance in your ability you will be practicing etudes that utilize the entire guitar neck. This will help you learn all the positions on guitar well. Guitar etudes are a great tool to help you improve your technical ability.

3. Working on an etude will help you understand how music works.

Working on etudes will force you to learn different rhythms and arpeggios. You will start to see how music works from a whole new perspective. You can use your new-found reading abilities to help your music theory knowledge. Overall you will find that working on an etude will open up a new world of understanding.

4. Working on etudes will speed up memorization of jazz standards.

Working with the written page will make memorizing music faster and easier. Etudes are a great way to improve your ability to comprehend music faster. If you are in a situation where you need to memorize a tune, you will find that learning it from the written page will be faster. This is a valuable skill for serious musicians. You never know when you may get a call to play a jazz gig with a couple of songs that you don’t have memorized.

There are more benefits from working on study etudes, but these 4 are a great place to start to show that there is a benefit from it. Work on an etude and you will see your ability growing. Working on an etude can also be a fun way to practice. Spend the time with etudes and you will see that reading music on guitar isn’t as bad as you thought it would be. Stick to it, nothing worth doing is easy. Share your thoughts below.