Most of my students have learned to read music in a different way than I did.
I began violin at my local public school, and as was the custom of the day, I started learning to read music the same day as I started learning to play the violin. It's kind of a lot to explain: hold the violin this way, hold the bow that way, this note is an "A," this is a quarter note, GO!
Somehow I survived; it probably helps that I started at the ripe old age of nearly-nine.
These days I teach students to play first, then to read. It's a lot like learning to speak words before learning to read or right them. I find that if you put music in front of a violin student too soon, their scroll drops to the floor, their pitch goes out the window and the bow starts sliding around like a broken windshield wiper. Sometimes their tongues fall out of their open mouths, they have so many points of concentration to handle.
On the other side of the spectrum are students that come to me in Suzuki Book 3, having barely read a note. Just not good. Not as common as it used to be, but it still happens. I think reading needs to begin as early as possible, after a good set-up is established and the student is playing about a dozen tunes quite well.
But very few of us get the ideal! How did your music-reading happen? Did you begin reading simultaneously with playing, or were you playing a few months or years before you began reading?
And here, for your amusement, is a little video explaining how music reading works. Enjoy!
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