This study examined attitudes and perspectives of classroom guitar students toward the reading of staff notation in music. The purpose of this qualitative research was to reveal these perceptions in the student's own words, and compare them to those of orchestra and band students of comparable experience. Forty-seven students from four suburban middle and high schools on the east coast were selected through purposeful sampling techniques. Research instruments included a Musical Background Questionnaire and a thirty-five question Student Survey. Follow-up interviews were conducted with students to clarify or expound upon collected data. Guitar, orchestra, and band teachers were interviewed in order to provide their perspectives on the issues discussed. The Student Survey featured a five-point Likert-type scale, which measured how much students agreed or disagreed with various statements pertaining to their feelings about music, note-reading, or their class at school. Collected data were coded and used to calculate mean scores, standard deviations, and
percentages of students in agreement or disagreement with each statement. Interviews were audio recorded and transcribed into a word processing document for analysis. The study found that while a variety of perspectives exist within a typical guitar class, some students do not find note-reading to be necessary for the types of music they desire to learn. Other findings included a perceived lack of relevance toward the classical elements of the guitar programs in the schools, a lack of educational consistency between classroom curricula and private lesson objectives, and the general description of the struggle some guitarists experience with staff notation. Implications of the collected data were discussed, along with recommendations for better engaging these students.