This is something I’ve wondered about for a long time, and having recently discovered the SDMB I think it’s the best place to ask. It’s really more of an IMHO question, but since it’s about music I put it here. Before I ask I’ll stress that I’m not trying to flame or insult anybody, it really is an honest question, and something I just can’t figure out.
I’ve heard (no cite, sorry) about several professional, famous, and successful musicians who never learned how to read music. I don’t want to name any because I may have heard wrong, but we know that musicians like that exist. And I’ve known several musicians in smaller local bands, some quite good, who can’t read. I really just wonder, why did they never learn? I can understand if you’re just a guy who likes to play your guitar w/ some friends after work or bang some drums when you’re stressed and aren’t really serious about music. But some of the peple I’ve heard about have been very successful professionals for decades.
An obvious answer for some would be, “Well, they’re already talented, famous, and successful, why bother?” I completely accept the validity of that argument. But the benefits would be that it makes it much easier to communicate w/ other musicians, you wouldn’t have to memorize every note of every song you’ve ever played, and it makes it much easier to learn new music. And though it will take some effort it isn’t that hard.
Again, I’m in no way trying to flame anyone, and I fully realize that you don’t have to learn to read to be a great musician, and that there are and have been several great musicians who never learned. I’m not saying that musicians who can read are inherently better. I really just wonder why someone who is serious about music or a preofessional doesn’t learn to read music, and I respectfully ask any doper-musicians what they think.