It's not as good as standard notation

You’re right, Tab is just not as good as standard notation.  Tab doesn’t easily convey pitch, unlike the standard stave.  Rhythm in Tab is often not there either, especially if its sourced from the internet.  Tab is also not as transferable to other instruments –  Tab is like a strange island dialect which only one particular tribe can speak, the lonely Tablonians wandering around unable to communicate using the wonderful standard notation, which all the ‘civilised’ musicians use. And yet…

Early lute music used a type of Tab and classical guitar music often tells you which position, string and finger to use due to the complex nature of the instrument  (guitar sight reading is really hard).  Maybe for another post……

But they won't be learning properly

Tab, like any form of notation is just a way of writing out a set of instructions.  The recorder is often taught using numbers for fingering, coloured boomwhackers or coloured glockenspiel and xylophones. Tab seems to get a lot more flack as its not seen as proper notation.  Where Tab really comes into its own is the classroom setting, where the students only play once a week and don’t practice in between (unlike your dedicated private and small group pupils…)  Most of these pupils aren’t really reading standard notation, they’re remembering the three notes which they have been taught and working the pitch out top, middle or bottom.  

Tab is simple to understand (yes I know some students find it confusing) but there really isn’t one way to suit all students. Tab removes the confusion between multiple positions for the same note, or the fact we have a high C and low C.  Tab allows more notes to be learned and more students able to play them, meaning more music can be played, which at the end of the day is what any classroom music teacher should be concerned about. 

It's already here.......

Tab has been around for many years and really is not going anywhere soon.  This though is a great opportunity for the teacher.  How many other instruments can you send the pupil away with just a website that gives access to any song they want to play?  Now I know that the transcriptions are of differing accuracy ranging from perfect to ‘that’s not even the same song’.  Hopefully you’ll be teaching the listening skills so the pupil can correct it themselves. Our full year course here at The Ukulele School uses a mix of tab, rhythmic notation and standard notation to make it accessible for both specialist and non specialist music teachers.

It's not bad, it's just different

Don’t be so hard on Tab, it’s really not the end of civilised society and it may allow more pupils to play some music. We know this is controversial so let us know what you think…

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