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#1063481 - 12/02/08 04:04 PM Fear of Reading Music
angelojf Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/03/06
Posts: 742
Loc: PA
One fear I have about reading music is not so much finding the correct keys to play, but playing them in the correct rhythm. I am OK with the relatively simple stuff like quarter notes, quarter rests, eighth notes, and whole notes. But put a dotted 16th note in front of me, and then add an eighth note rest, and I'm lost. Or start out a measure with a 16th rest, and then add some ties to notes in complicated rhythms, and again, I'm lost.

I'd like to get to the point where I can play an unknown intermediate piece, and still be able to play it without knowing how the tune goes.

For example, lets say someone put the piano sheet music to the Beatles "Here Comes the Sun" in front of me. Lets say I never heard of the song. I'd like to be able to play it even though I don't know the song. But I fear that the notes/rhythm would be too complicated.

Any advice other than the "find a teacher" type?

Would these complicated rhythms be more decipherable after completing, say Alfreds Book 3?


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#1063482 - 12/02/08 04:37 PM Re: Fear of Reading Music
ddh Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/22/06
Posts: 458
Loc: Abitibi
Hi Ang, I read a book, not long ago where the author dissected sightreading into two separate activities; reading the notes and reading the tempo.
He insists You should not attempt to do both at the same time untill You can do each easily to Your desired level.
So: You read and play the notes without regard whatsoever for tempo.
You choose a single note for each hand and play the tempo on those two notes alone without thinking about notes.
Of course, at the begining, You slow it down to be able to do it without mistakes and speed it up gradually.

Maybe You could improve Your tempo reading this way.

Hope this helps.

Daniel (Pramberger JP 208B)

#1063483 - 12/02/08 04:41 PM Re: Fear of Reading Music
IngridT Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/07/08
Posts: 244
Loc: Netherlands

do you mean that you want to play it right the first time around?

Or do you mean that you're scared you'll never get it right when learning an unfamiliar tune/piece/whatever that has a relatively complicated rythm?

Im am currently in Alfreds book 3 (to give you an idea how much of a beginner I am) and I can tell you that for me a song filled with complicated rythms needs a bit of careful counting & slow playing to get the right feeling. Once you have the first few measures done the rest of a piece is usually easier.

I guess there's a learning curve though. Stuff that's complicated right now is probably going to be easier in a year (or longer) from now. So probably those dotted 16ths etc should become pretty easy over time. Just go back and look at a piece that you really worked hard on 6 months ago, or a year or 2, and that you haven't played for ages. I do that sometimes, and its very encouraging to see how easy stuff is that was so difficult the last time around. Well, that probably works the same way next year for the things you're struggling with now!

By the way, I've been playing some pretty complicated-rythm stuff lately (satie, gnossienne nr 5) which has everything up to 64th notes and all kind of weird stuff (like 7 notes in a measure, or 5 or 9) and 64th notes combined with 32ths, 16th etc in just one measure. My teacher basically advised me not even to try to mathematically work that out, but just start to play it, and keep the steady left hand tempo as a guideline to get everything smoothened out. Worked pretty well I must say! It taught me for sure not to be scared of anything anymore when it comes down to counting...

Does that help a bit??


#1063484 - 12/03/08 11:43 AM Re: Fear of Reading Music
angelojf Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/03/06
Posts: 742
Loc: PA
Thanks for your replies! Instead of looking at complicated music, I'll take it at a slow pace and lead up to the complicated stuff. I'll deal with the complicated stuff when i get there.


#1063485 - 12/03/08 05:05 PM Re: Fear of Reading Music
BillM Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/12/08
Posts: 1598
Loc: Maryland
Ang - I feel your pain. I have been working on learning to read music for the last year.

I'm getting ok at the notes (at least the treble clef) but have pretty much resigned myself to having to play only songs in which I already know the melody. I think that is ok though as I have discovered through the purchase of several fakebooks that along with mostly useless other information my brain has stored the melody of thousand of songs.

To paraphase the signature line of another ABF'er "I only play what I know".
BillM (formerly b528nf7)
Roland KR-17M
Baldwin R
Clavinova CLP-150
Piano Vocals of Old Guy Tunes

#1063486 - 12/03/08 09:45 PM Re: Fear of Reading Music
Piano*Dad Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/12/05
Posts: 10776
Loc: Williamsburg, VA
It's time for a new word .....

Cantuslegerephobia !



#1063487 - 12/03/08 10:34 PM Re: Fear of Reading Music
Serge88 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/27/06
Posts: 775
Loc: Canada
I bought and use this book,

It comes with CD so you can hear the rhythm exercise.


“Being able to hear recorded music freed up loads of musicians that couldn't necessarily afford to learn to read or write music. With recording, it was emancipation for the people.”
-Keith Richards

#1063488 - 12/03/08 10:41 PM Re: Fear of Reading Music
Lisztener Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/12/06
Posts: 921

I NEVER thought I would see that word in a PIANO forum... \:o :rolleyes: Live & learn, eh?

Lis...LOL..zt...ROFL...ener! ;\)

#1063489 - 12/04/08 11:38 AM Re: Fear of Reading Music
Kymber Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/25/08
Posts: 1348
Loc: MA
Rhythm has always been my greatest weekness. Sadly, teachers I had in the past never corrected my rhythm problems. I would look at the notes and panic when I saw complicated rhythms etc. I understand rhythm logically. But, I couldn't play something if I didn't already know how the song went.

Now, I am working with my teacher exclusively on this. I also decided to stop all the songs I have been playing/working on until this gets better. I think it would be easier to do that than have to relearn them the correct way.

I don't have this book but it looks like it explains things well http://www.amazon.com/gp/reader/0793573793/ref=sib_dp_pt#reader-link

Working with the metronome and rhythm away from the piano can help. I do my excercises by reading a line of notes and singing them along with the metronome.

Good luck...
“The doubters said, "Man cannot fly," The doers said, "Maybe, but we'll try,"
And finally soared in the morning glow while non-believers watched from below.”
― Bruce Lee


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