A common misconception about modern popular musical artists on the radio today is that they surely must be experts in reading music to have achieved so much commercial success. But not only are they not experts, most of them don’t even know how to read notes at all. From the Beatles to Ed Sheeran and most everyone inbetween- these songs were not composed using actual musical scores, rather it was the knowledge of chords, scales, and creative experimentation of what simply “sounds good” that created all of those masterpieces since the advent of rock.
Here is an example of actual reading of musical notation (notes) from Mel Bay’s Modern Guitar Method Grade 5. Notice this style is less reminiscent of rock or pop music, but has the feel of a “standard” that pre-dates the Rock era. Learning to read music is essential in order to play American Standards and classical music, rather than strictly relying on tablature (a different style of notation most commonly used in Rock, Pop, Folk, Blues ect).
With that being said, learning to read musical notation is just an option, one most of my students don’t choose as a ton of practice and dedication is involved in learning note-reading. Rather, most of my students go the other route and focus strictly on chords and tablature which are the vessels used to learn and play the popular music of the last 70 years and today.
But learning to read notes is always an option with my lessons. Integrating both note-reading with tablature gives the guitarist the most versatility going forward.