In the case of guitarists, that neglect is even more common than among other instrumentalists. Of course, many people learn forms of popular guitar music without ever learning to read standard notation. This is a shame since standard notation is the “lingua franca” for musical language throughout most of the world.
The basic ability to read notes in standard notation is easy to achieve. But the ability to read standard notation carefully with an eye for details is much more rare. This book of exercises by Robert Benedict (professor at the University of Toronto) is a valuable resource for training both students and professional guitarists to read with more accuracy and precision. Most of the exercises in this book are fairly simple on a technical level, but they test a guitarist’s abilities in the areas of timing, dynamics, and phrasing.
Most of the exercises are 1–4 lines in length and are designed to be used for daily practice. Each level concludes with a series of rhythmic exercises. Benedict provides a basic introduction to the various dynamic markings that a guitarist will encounter along with tempo indicators and more complex rhythms. This book is a wonderful supplement to the student who has achieved a basic technical proficiency over the first position within a year of study. This book, along with its second volume (levels 4–6) has greatly aided me in reading and playing with more precision and attention to minor details in the notation.
I recommend this book to students, teachers, and professional performers.