Originally Posted by TeleLubber
I think the most important thing about being able to read music is that when learning standards or other pieces, is you get to learn about the relationships between melody and harmonies which helps when improvising, and makes modal playing more accessible..
Right on. There is a lot to be learned by comparing melody with the underlying harmony. A good first question to ask is how is the harmony projected through the melody? If you took the chords away and had only the melody, could you reconstruct the chords? Undoubtedly true with the classical greats and probably with most jazz. Non-tonal classical music and outside jazz is another story, since that music is not based on traditional harmony.