<b>Jonathan Wright<\/b>\r\n\r\n \r\n\r\nBy far one of the biggest unsolved mysteries in my life, one that has caused me untold amounts of frustrated, tension-filled perplexity, is this unfathomable question:\r\n\r\nWhy are there so many \u201cmusicians\u201d who can\u2019t even read music?\r\n\r\nActually, the short answer is this: They\u2019ve never learned.\r\n\r\nOf course, that in turn begs the ultimate question\u2014\u201cWhy on earth <i>haven\u2019t<\/i> they learned?\u201d\r\n\r\nI\u2019ve crossed paths with many music-lovers in my lifetime, people who could play a mean piano, guitar, fiddle, saxophone, organ, or whatever. They go up and down scales, mastering the intricacies of mankind\u2019s most universal language, with the adeptness of great artists.\r\n\r\nIf you didn\u2019t know any better, you would think these folks could play just about anything. Their versatility is amazing, fascinating their appreciative audiences with wonderful songs and accompaniment that would make any mother and dad proud.\r\n\r\nBut in the course of my many conversations with these talented folks, I have discovered more times than not a shameful (to me, at least) secret they may or may not share with others:\r\n\r\nThey don\u2019t read music.\r\n\r\nAstonishing.\r\n\r\nSome admit it freely, almost as a badge of honor. Others reluctantly attest to it when pressed to follow a piece of written music placed expectantly in front of them.\r\n\r\nThese are mostly people who have spent years, some almost their entire lifetimes, playing wonderful music for the enjoyment of themselves and others. Since they don\u2019t read music, apparently they\u2019ve learn their art by going over and over pieces until they\u2019ve memorized them.\r\n\r\nFor that very reason the same question always comes to my puzzled mind: \u201cIf you\u2019ve invested so much time in music for all these years, if it\u2019s become such an integral part of your life, if it\u2019s added such depth and richness to your earthly experience and has been worth all the practice and time\u2014why, oh why, in the name of all that\u2019s practical and logical\u2014haven\u2019t you ever gone just one step further and simply learned to read music?\u201d\r\n\r\nSure, it requires time, study, and concentration, but by taking it slow and easy, and I\u2019m convinced that most people can be successful at it. Much of it has to do with simple math, and if you can count, you can learn to read music.\r\n\r\nPeople who love creating music owe it to themselves to go all the way and pursue the time-honored, enormously satisfying art of translating written music into audible music. It only makes sense to do so. It will open up a whole new dimension to your enjoyment and will only enhance your talent.\r\n\r\nAnd\u2014may I add\u2014in our incredible age of computer-based knowledge and instruction, it\u2019s easier than ever to gain new skills and knowledge at your own pace. If you have a strong-enough desire, you can do it.\r\n\r\nGo ahead\u2014the world is at your fingertips. Learn to read music.\r\n\r\nIf you genuinely love creating music, there\u2019s really no good reason not to.