READ ME FIRST: Rules & FAQ for the Reading Music Course!

Welcome, everyone, to the tonebase Academy's "Reading Music for Guitarists" course! 😎🎉🙌

Together, we will untangle the mysteries of music notation, opening our minds, eyes, and ears to the unfathomable quantity of music expressed through this most widely embraced of all music writing systems!


Download the syllabus for the entire course HERE

Over the course of five weeks, we will acquire a basic understanding all aspects of reading music, including "universal" questions of pitch and rhythm while also diving into guitar-specific concepts such as finding notes on the fretboard, fingerings, and special techniques.

Each lesson will come with a dedicated thread on this forum, as well as a workbook and some assignments for you to hone your skills at home!

I. Pitch (+ workbook)

II. Rhythm

III. Guitar Notation

IV. Fingering

V. Form, Dynamics, and Other Symbols



  1. Although not required, the weekly workbooks represent a thorough introduction to the topics we will cover, as well as a great resource for you to go back to after the livestream. I strongly recommend you check them out!
  2. Some lessons come with different assignments. Much like reading text, being fluent at reading music is a matter of practice. You will make the most out of this course if you don't just watch the weekly livestreams, but also take the time to complete the assignments and share them with other participants!
  3. At the end of each workbook, there will be a weekly questionnaire. I will post the answers to all questionnaires a few days after the corresponding live stream takes place. If you have any questions concerning the relevant topic, feel free to ask them in the dedicated thread!


  • Kickoff: February 17th, then each week on Wednesday at 11am PST.
  • In between: Work on your assignments and the questionnaire, post questions in the forum and discuss uploads by other users
  • On day before the next lesson: Answers to the questionnaires will be posted!


I've never played the guitar, can I join this course?

Yes! You can absolutely join with no prior experience. We will be learning about various notes and chords throughout the course; however, you will not be required to play them - much less to play them well! Completing this course with no prior experience means that you will be able to read music from the very beginning of your guitar journey. This will enable you to access a significantly more diverse array of educational material, including our own tonebase lessons (most of which come with accompanying materials in standard music notation.) 


The livestream times don't work for me. Can I still join?

Absolutely! You can watch the livestreams asynchronously - they will continue to be available indefinitely on tonebase Live. Likewise, you can submit assignments and questions in the forums on your own time! As long as you are learning and practicing your reading and writing, you are fully participating.


Do I need special equipment?

Only a piece of paper and a pencil! Refer to this thread for options including where to find staff paper (it's in the Week 1 workbook!), as well as alternatives such as tablets or free music notation software.


Do I need a guitar?

No - technically, you can complete this course without an instrument. It might just get a little dry if you don't get a chance to actually try out the things we are learning, though. Being able to learn new music can be a great motivator; therefore, I do encourage you to have one on-hand, if you can - any kind of guitar should work!


Is this course going to teach me how to read tabs?

No. Tabs (or tablature) are a different notation system. We are going to learn standard music notation instead, which is the most widespread system for writing down music for all instruments from the Western tradition. This will enable you to not just read guitar music, but also make sense of music for all other standard instruments.


↓ Reply with other questions below ↓ 

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  • Hi. I know it doesn't directly affect reading music written for guitar but mentioning treble G clef and bass F clef and their relationships in particular could be helpful at some point further the course (with a mention to the wandering C clef) .

    Like 2
      • MirceaTeam
      • Head of Community / Live
      • Mircea
      • 8 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Mehmet Hi Mehmet! I would love to talk about clefs.

      The only reason I haven't yet is that I've deliberately tried to stay away from concepts that don't apply to guitar (clefs, reading multiple staves at the same time, transposing instruments, etc.).

      I basically tried to craft an applied course that enables people to read guitar music in standard notation and gives them a blueprint they can follow on their own. To keep that information streamlined / manageable (if you can call a 26-page workbook "manageable" 😂), there are a lot of things that I find fascinating but we won't be diving into.

      This also means there will be quite a few things that are taught, but not explained - such as why there are half tones and whole tones, how to ascertain the key signature of a key of our choice, etc.

      My idea is that the skeleton of the course itself will not feature any of this info, but as soon as someone asks me, I will dive deeper into whatever concept they would like to know more about 😎

      To be fair, I guess you have asked about this - so now I have to dive into it! 😁 I will make a point to go over a couple of basic concepts relating to clefs in one of the next 4 weeks of livestreams 😉 

      Like 1
  • Oops. Sorry Mircea. I guessed you were crafting the course specifically for guitar but thought a brief mention toward the end might elicit curiosity. I should have kept my mouth shut. There's a lot to cover and it can get confusing.


    Apologies again.

    Like 1
  • Hi there. I'm Roberto from Venezuela. I'm joining now- asynchronously. You know what they say, it's never too late to learn. Looking forward to finishing the course!


    I don't know if assignments can still be handed in, or if they'll be reviewed. 

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