Mike Moxcey ©2005

Reading Melodies Off Sheet Music

Reading melody lines off a piece of sheet music means you must know the notes on the sheet music and on your instrument so you can translate them. Sometimes it’s easier to figure things out by ear; sometimes it isn’t. Being able to do both is best.

Below is another version of This Old Man in the key of G. Use this one or the previous one in C to practice reading the melody.




  1. Step one is to figure out the notes. Knowing the spaces are FACE (from the bottom) and the lines are EGBDF (from the bottom), you can discover the first three notes are D-B-D (or G-E-G in C).
  2. Step two is to find those notes on the instrument. HINT: They are fingered as part of the G chord (or C chord).
  3. Step three is to pluck the notes in the right order.
  4. Step four is to pluck the notes with the right timing (by looking at the quarter notes vs. half notes vs. eighth notes).

More Practice

That’s all that I’m going to cover on reading music. Some of the tablature presented next will also come with sheet music if you want to practice the skill more.
Practice will make anything come easier.
Reading Music Index