Here is my quick synopsis on the process of learning an instrument.
- learn how to physically make noise on the instrument. (hold the instrument, hold the pick, position the left hand, strum the strings)
- learn how to play a musical sequence of notes
- play a song
- learn songs in the preferred genre
- hear a sequence of notes and be able to play them
- listen to a sequence of notes and play a facsimile thereof
- hear a song and play what you heard
- hear a song and play variations of what you heard
- play along in real time, anticipating intuitively where the melody will go
- write your own songs
- become rich and famous... : )...
These are not necessarily in order. Some people write their own songs right away and some can easily play a melody by ear. Some folks are already rich & famous. I am terrible at writing songs and/or creating new melodies and am well short of being rich and famous.
Tab is a wonderful aid to get started. I used tab to start learning. I was never very good at understanding the timing of it and seldom could learn a tune if I didn't already know how it went. But it got me going andtaught me a musical 'vocabulary'.Listening to lots of the kind of music you want to play is very important.
At some point in a timeline the tab needs to be set aside if you want to become a good player. There is a creative process going on somewhere in all of this and I suspect playing strictly from tab falls a bit short.It all depends on what your personal goals and capabilities are and how hard you want to work at it. For me the whole process has been and continues to be a lot of fun.