Welcome to the Piano World Piano Forums
Over 2.7 million posts about pianos, digital pianos, and all types of keyboard instruments
Join the World's Largest Community of Piano Lovers (it's free)
It's Fun to Play the Piano ... Please Pass It On!

SEARCH
Piano Forums & Piano World
(ad)
Best of Piano Buyer
 Best of Piano Buyer
(ad)
Piano Life Saver - Dampp Chaser
Dampp Chaser Piano Life Saver
Find a Professional
Our Classified Ads
Find Piano Professionals-

*Piano Dealers - Piano Stores
*Piano Tuners
*Piano Teachers
*Piano Movers
*Piano Restorations
*Piano Manufacturers

Advertise on Piano World

(ad)
Accu-Tuner
Sanderson Accu-Tuner
Who's Online Now
140 registered members (agraffe, akc42, AnthonyPaulO, AlphaBravoCharlie, amad23, 7uturu, Animisha, anamnesis, Alex Hutor, 38 invisible), 1,278 guests, and 3 spiders.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
(ad)
Estonia Pianos
Estonia Pianos
Quick Links to Useful Piano & Music Resources
Quick Links:
*Advertise On Piano World
*Free Piano Newsletter
*Online Piano Recitals
*Piano Recitals Index
*Piano & Music Accessories
*Live Piano Venues
*Music School Listings
* Buying a Piano
*Buying A Acoustic Piano
*Buying a Digital Piano
*Pianos for Sale
*Sell Your Piano
*How Old is My Piano?
*Directory/Site Map
*Virtual Piano
*Music Word Search
*Piano Videos
*Virtual Piano Chords & Scales
Previous Thread
Next Thread
Print Thread
Page 1 of 2 1 2
How you learn to sight-read #1104117
04/17/05 10:29 PM
04/17/05 10:29 PM
Joined: Dec 2004
Posts: 12
H e r e
L
Libox88 Offline OP
Junior Member
Libox88  Offline OP
Junior Member
L

Joined: Dec 2004
Posts: 12
H e r e
This topic is frequently asked by students be it beginners or intermediate and being a beginner myself I am full of doubts as how to start and progress !!!

My previous teacher stressed many times the importance of sight-reading and say I cant progress much beyond without having learned sight-reading. He explained that I must know how to sight-read and play the piece simultaneously instead of learning/repeating bar by bar until the whole piece is memorised.

I can recongise all the notes on both clefs but I am unable to sight-read both clefs at the same time and faced problem when I try to sight-read and press the notes together (Worst if you asked me to count).

Take for example, its alright if it's in 5 finger position but when the next note fall above/below this 5 position I do not know which finger should I press. Just like if my 3rd finger is on a E and the next note is upper B.

By the way, how many methods are there for sight-reading ? Are they by notes and intervals or more ?

I was at the piano yesterday and I am thinking if this method helps ? If my thumb is on a C, the pinky will be G, D on thumb and pinky on A, E on thumb and pinky B and so on.

When you first start learning piano for the first year, do you actually sight-read and not learning the piece bar by bar until it's memorised and rely on your fingerings (already memorised) instead of seeing the notes and play.

Would appreciate if you could share with me your learning experiences.

(ad)
Piano & Music Accessories
piano accessories music gifts tuning and moving equipment
Re: How you learn to sight-read #1104118
04/17/05 11:51 PM
04/17/05 11:51 PM
Joined: May 2003
Posts: 3,269
Midwest U.S.
ChickGrand Offline
3000 Post Club Member
ChickGrand  Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Joined: May 2003
Posts: 3,269
Midwest U.S.
Playing piano is not quite like touch typing where there is a central place for the fingers to park. Every piece is different and the point is to get comfortable enough to know *where* your fingers are all the time, because mostly they will be moving all the time, and even to get comfortable enough to jump from octave to octave without always even looking. Both that familiarity and comfort with the keyboard position and ease of reading both clefs of the sheets simultaneously is something that becomes easier over time with practice. There are no short cuts to just doing the job enough for it to become automatic. At some point, you will begin to feel where your hands are strictly by feel, because of that fortunate pattern of two sharps/flats-gap-three sharps/flats. Your arm position will tell you which octave you're in without looking. There are only 7 and a fraction (unless you have an Imperial with a full 8) and you'll eventually become even very comfortable knowing that octave width and the distance from one to the next up and down.

Reading well just takes practice. The best practice advice I received here in the PC was from a poster named Benedict, who suggested sight-reading/playing *frequently-rotating* *unfamiliar* material, to avoid the trap of memorizing that occurs with continuously using a piece or just a few that become too familiar quickly. Also, start with simpler piece with fewer notes in both the bass and treble clefs and gradually work up to more densely-populated pieces. It was good advice. Since you say you can read the notes, obviously you just need to practice more to improve your speed and accuracy. Using unfamilar material and playing it as you read, however slowly, just for the sole purpose of making yourself read and play it is the best practice. You don't have to think about being musical for that effort, nor even think about committing the piece to memory. I'd suggest spending about 20 minutes a day on just that task until that natural point comes where you find it *has* clicked for you. And it *will*. Eventually, you even start to see notes as groups of notes--common groups as chords, or scalar bits that become arpeggios common to a key, etc. Then you'll start seeing common progressions of chords and your reading will be like recognizing a whole phrase in language.

Whether you think of the lines and spaces as literal values of "F,A,C,E" etc. or as intervals of distance, at some point, you have to realize both, as you work in various keys with their assorted sharps and flats, meaning--thinking in *just* intervals wouldn't quite be enough. Depending on your key, you still have to be aware of the value of the note and not just it's position or interval, to know whether to sharp or flat it.

You don't have to be at the piano to exercise reading. I made photocopies of sheets and while sitting listening to TV during off hours, sat with a clipboard and sheets and penciled in note values beside notes, just like doing an elementary school exercise--like a first grader practicing drawing the letters. It's amazing how quickly that helps. You get to the point you recognize them faster than you can write them and that translates to speed in reading while playing, too, especially after you get truly comfortable with the feel of the keys so that you eventually only have to look during difficult leaps or fingerings.

And those fingerings for the various key signatures will start becoming natural and as automatic as reading and the keyboard, too, after a time, as you play pieces in the various key signatures.

Leaving the primary job of making the piece musical by your interpretation. That task will likely take the rest of our lives.

Practice and patience will get you what you're after. In less time than you might think you will find yourself surprised one day how those earlier aspects of the job of playing suddenly become pretty much subconscious and effortless.

Re: How you learn to sight-read #1104119
04/18/05 02:29 AM
04/18/05 02:29 AM
Joined: Apr 2005
Posts: 73
Dallas area, Texas
Shalanna Offline
Full Member
Shalanna  Offline
Full Member

Joined: Apr 2005
Posts: 73
Dallas area, Texas
Bravo! Bravissimo! Woo-hoo!

That was a GREAT explanation of why it takes patience, Chick. I agree with you about this just coming together WITH TIME. I don't think you can rush it the way that some methods say you can. Coordination just takes a while. I didn't sit down and start drawing cartoons--I did stick figures, geometric designs, learned perspective, and so forth before I could cartoon. Math builds on prior math knowledge. Piano skills are the same.

Libox88--It sounds as though you have a great teacher! Stick with her/him! It may take you a while to really learn keyboard geography. But it becomes second nature. It's like driving. When I was 15 and starting out, I thought I would NEVER be able to drive--it took such hyper-attention, and I always felt like I was missing something that I should be looking at. But now it's automatic. Soon you'll just know where you are. Keep working. Play some fun stuff by ear, too, so this doesn't become a chore.

"[My teacher] explained that I must know how to sight-read and play the piece simultaneously instead of learning/repeating bar by bar until the whole piece is memorized."

Cool teacher. And the polar opposite of (dare I even TYPE it) Mr. Chang in his book (I got into a discussion of that on another thread.) Take a simple primer book and read the baby pieces hands together. Tempo VERY SLOW. It'll start to make sense, I promise.

I think there are two skills here. One is sight-reading things that you've never seen--and this can feel REALLY cool, like skateboarding down a stair rail, when you can just sit there and make those dots into a melody line!--and the other is getting a piece that you intend to put into repertoire under your fingers and into memory.

I usually will sight-read through an entire piece to decide whether I love it enough at the moment to devote myself to learning it (and I'm not talking about an entire movement of a Beethoven sonata here--in that case, I might read a page or so to see if I can hack it yet) and THEN I'll decide how much of it I can learn at a whack. If it's a one or two page piece, I can tell where the difficult measures are. Supposedly I should be practicing those first. In real life, I usually start with the first phrase or the first section (if it's short) up to the first repeat or when the theme changes. It's also good if you can discipline yourself to start memorizing with the LAST measure! I never do this, but I know I should! That way you are always secure with the ending.

At the Dallas Piano Party, my rendition kind of fell apart right before the ending of the Beethoven Op. 49, No. 2 (Tempo di Menuetto mvt.) because I just have not played the ending as much. Bad bad bad! MY bad, as the kids say. But then it was late and almost time to go home, and everyone listening had been drinking wine, so I got away with it. (Sort of) laugh Lesson here is that when you know you know a piece WITH the music, you probably should not try to wing it without the score. You'll spend time learning the score before you try to play for a roomful of new acquaintances. Promise. smile


Music soothes the savage anything.
www.livejournal.com/users/shalanna
Re: How you learn to sight-read #1104120
04/18/05 04:12 AM
04/18/05 04:12 AM
Joined: Aug 2004
Posts: 2,033
Canada
SAMoore Offline
2000 Post Club Member
SAMoore  Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Joined: Aug 2004
Posts: 2,033
Canada
Quote
Originally posted by ChickGrand:
I made photocopies of sheets and while sitting listening to TV during off hours, sat with a clipboard and sheets and penciled in note values beside notes, just like doing an elementary school exercise--like a first grader practicing drawing the letters. It's amazing how quickly that helps. You get to the point you recognize them faster than you can write them and that translates to speed in reading while playing, too, especially after you get truly comfortable with the feel of the keys so that you eventually only have to look during difficult leaps or fingerings.
I love this advice. Perhaps a dumb question but when you say note value are you give each note the letter value or the numeric value in the scale or naming the tonic, dominant....etc. Are you analyzing as you go with intervals/naming chords?
I have so many easier level books I'm going to get started practicing right away!!!


It's the journey not the destination..
[Linked Image]
Re: How you learn to sight-read #1104121
04/18/05 04:19 AM
04/18/05 04:19 AM
Joined: May 2003
Posts: 3,269
Midwest U.S.
ChickGrand Offline
3000 Post Club Member
ChickGrand  Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Joined: May 2003
Posts: 3,269
Midwest U.S.
Quote
Originally posted by Sandy Moore:
I love this advice. Perhaps a dumb question but when you say note value are you give each note the letter value or the numeric value in the scale or naming the tonic, dominant....etc. Are you analyzing as you go with intervals/naming chords?
I have so many easier level books I'm going to get started practicing right away!!!
Just the letter value plus sharp or flat. If I were disciplined, I'd start doing the same for analysis with chord names and intervals. For now, I'm happy enough to just get the notes right. Nevermind *why* they're right or any implications for what they are at some deeper level. If the progression seems familiar, that's good enough, too.

Let's don't talk too much about that theory stuff or Matt might start those theory lessons all over again. I *hate* homework and I flunked Kindergarden Theory last time he taught it. Even sleeping with the music theory book under my pillow hasn't helped. But it *does* cure that insomnia thing. whome

Re: How you learn to sight-read #1104122
04/18/05 07:54 AM
04/18/05 07:54 AM
Joined: Apr 2004
Posts: 477
northwest NJ
devils4ever Offline
Full Member
devils4ever  Offline
Full Member

Joined: Apr 2004
Posts: 477
northwest NJ
Sight-reading is just like everything else. It takes practice and lots of it. I used to be the worst. I'm not great at it now but, I'm much better than I used to be.

Now I practice it whenever I can. At least 2-3 times per week. Find any new music you can. Download, buy, beg, borrow, etc. From what I've read on the subject (and I agree), you can play through a new piece 4-5 times and it counts as sight reading.

You want the pieces to be fairly easy. It should be at or below your current level. You'll struggle for sure, but slowly you'll get better at it.

You can "recycle" material too. After 6-12 months or more, I tend to forget a piece and I consider it sight-reading for the first time at this point. Of course, if the piece seems too familiar, then it doesn't count as sight-reading.

I don't worry at all about tempo. Play as slow as you have to. And try to get the rhythm correct, if you can. Don't worry about it if you can't.

My $0.02.


"Applaud friends, the comedy is over." --Ludwig van Beethoven on his deathbed.
August Förster 190 Artcase
Re: How you learn to sight-read #1104123
04/18/05 08:10 AM
04/18/05 08:10 AM
Joined: May 2003
Posts: 3,269
Midwest U.S.
ChickGrand Offline
3000 Post Club Member
ChickGrand  Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Joined: May 2003
Posts: 3,269
Midwest U.S.
Quote
Originally posted by devils4ever:
...You can "recycle" material too. After 6-12 months or more, I tend to forget a piece and I consider it sight-reading for the first time at this point...
You must be way younger than me. I can recycle mine every 3 months. That is, if I can remember where I put it. whome

Re: How you learn to sight-read #1104124
04/18/05 08:17 AM
04/18/05 08:17 AM
Joined: Jun 2004
Posts: 8,483
Ohio, USA
signa Offline
8000 Post Club Member
signa  Offline
8000 Post Club Member

Joined: Jun 2004
Posts: 8,483
Ohio, USA
it definitely takes time. i have never focused on sight reading alone, and yet i have improved on it over time. everyone is right about it - practice, until your eyes can catch a group of notes in a glance in either hand and your hands response on keyboard simultaneously. the other day i was surprised even to myself when i even sightread through Moonlight 1st movement, however slow or bumpy. but it will happen to everyone, if you insist on doing it.

Re: How you learn to sight-read #1104125
04/18/05 10:47 AM
04/18/05 10:47 AM
Joined: May 2004
Posts: 2,918
idaho
T
teachum Offline
2000 Post Club Member
teachum  Offline
2000 Post Club Member
T

Joined: May 2004
Posts: 2,918
idaho
One of my biggest thrills is that finally *this time* my sight reading has improved to the point where I feel like I have crossed a *line in the sand*. I used to always read note-by-note, memorize and then quit reading. You don't improve much that way. Now it's just part of what I do a little of each day, even if it's only a page or 10 minutes. And always, always, have it be something easier than what you are capable of really playing with practice. I liken it to my students learning to read - there's three levels what they can read independently, what is their instructional level (they can read it with some help) and their guided level - needs more teacher support. Sight reading should be at the independent level no matter how simple that needs to be. Easy to say, hard for some of us to do!

Liboxx - sight reading might only be reading the treble clef for you right now. It's still sight reading. Playing just the melody through all the way is better than struggling with hands together and giving up.


You will be 10 years older, ten years from now, no matter what you do - so go for it!

Estonia #6141 in Satin Mahogany
Re: How you learn to sight-read #1104126
04/18/05 11:57 AM
04/18/05 11:57 AM
Joined: May 2003
Posts: 3,269
Midwest U.S.
ChickGrand Offline
3000 Post Club Member
ChickGrand  Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Joined: May 2003
Posts: 3,269
Midwest U.S.
Quote
Originally posted by teachum:
...Liboxx - sight reading might only be reading the treble clef for you right now. It's still sight reading. Playing just the melody through all the way is better than struggling with hands together and giving up.
Absolutely. And just doing the bass clef on some pieces is very wonderful exercise in developing a much finer sense of rhythm to underly those melodies. On my most challenging pieces, I'm still working hands separately much of the time, but totally enjoy just the one clef or the other all by itself while I'm improving my overall playing and reading skills, and slowly putting the two hands together measure by measure.

There's nothing that says you have to do *both* clefs simultaneously from the get go. I started with the near treble clef, then the ledger lines above. Then moved to the bass clef, then the ledger lines below that. *Then* I focused on reading them together, with simpler pieces first, before moving on to complex stuff. But even still, I rely on breaking those complex pieces down again.

Re: How you learn to sight-read #1104127
04/18/05 12:39 PM
04/18/05 12:39 PM
Joined: May 2004
Posts: 2,918
idaho
T
teachum Offline
2000 Post Club Member
teachum  Offline
2000 Post Club Member
T

Joined: May 2004
Posts: 2,918
idaho
My wonderful first teacher used to say, "How do you eat a chicken?" You have to cut it up! This as I always wanted to play to whole piece at once.


You will be 10 years older, ten years from now, no matter what you do - so go for it!

Estonia #6141 in Satin Mahogany
Re: How you learn to sight-read #1104128
04/18/05 01:34 PM
04/18/05 01:34 PM
Joined: Feb 2005
Posts: 13
Nashville, TN
Bill Cushman Offline
Junior Member
Bill Cushman  Offline
Junior Member

Joined: Feb 2005
Posts: 13
Nashville, TN
Quote
Originally posted by ChickGrand:
Quote
Originally posted by Sandy Moore:
[b] I love this advice. Perhaps a dumb question but when you say note value are you give each note the letter value or the numeric value..
Just the letter value plus sharp or flat. [/b]
When we were studying "sight-reading" method in music school.. they explained a funny concept to us.

It goes like this:

**When you assign actual letter-values to individual notes on a page, and then use those letter values to "Map" the notes to an instrument, it makes your brain have to work double time.**

The best case scenario for sight-reading would be to learn music without ANY letter note values. Therefore, your brain wouldn't have to double-translate. For example: You would see a dot on the staff, and instead of thinking.. "oh yeah.. thats a G.. now, where is the G on the piano.. oh there it is." Instead.. you would see the dot and you would think , "that DOT equals THIS KEY on the piano. Period."

I know this may seem foreign to some people.. but this is what happens eventually anyways. Pianists see dots and play the keys.. without missing a step.

I understand the desire to do the "Letter" Mapping. This is just a suggestion.. go the extra step. Put down the pencil. Start with the key of C. Memorize those dots without letters or symbols. It's definitely not a typwriter.


Also.. one of the key tennants of sight-reading method is to never cut up music into "pieces". The rules are:
1) to play an entire piece all the way through every time.
2) slow down to the slowest tempo that allows you to play a piece all the way through every time. AND keep it there.. don't speed up!(even if it's ridiculously slow.. don't worry)
3) only play a single song a maximum of 3 times at one practice. Then change songs.
4) sight reading practice is all about "Consuming" pieces. don't dilly dally with one piece... if you can't get it, move on.
5) choose songs that are extremely easy for you to play...as you get better, you can move up incremently.
6) IF YOU MAKE A MISTAKE, KEEP PLAYING!! Do not start over. If you completely crash and burn, continue where you left off. If the piece is too hard to keep going. Either reset the tempo even slower and continue -or go onto the next piece.
7) Remember.. the point of sight reading is not to master the song, or your technique. It is help you translate the dots on the page to the keys on the piano.


Ghost Notes

Re: How you learn to sight-read #1104129
04/18/05 02:19 PM
04/18/05 02:19 PM
Joined: Oct 2004
Posts: 741
Caledon ON, Canada
R
Rodney Offline
500 Post Club Member
Rodney  Offline
500 Post Club Member
R

Joined: Oct 2004
Posts: 741
Caledon ON, Canada
I'm not a big fan of HS practice for sight reading. I spent a lot of time using this approach and became very good at sight reading either the bass cleff or treble cleff but it in no way improved my ability to sight read the grand staff.

The problem is that you start to see the two staffs as two distinct entities instead of the single entity that they are. I now only practice sight reading hands togehter (sometimes painfully slow) but my sight playing ability has improved dramatically.

That is not to say that HS practice is without merit as I have found it extremely valuable mastering a new piece (which isn't the same as sight reading).

BTW:

To introduce sight reading, my teacher put me on to the following method:

1) read each note from the lowest to the highest (bottom to top) and speak each note out loud as you play (yes you will be playing that slow). This helps with your note recognition.

2) For each hand you are only going to find one note on the keyboard and then play the intervals. Using certain notes as guide posts. You can quickly play intervals without having to perform the note translation process as described by Bill C.

3) Read EVERYTHING, including tempo changes, key-signature changes, accidentals, etc. Music isn't just notes so it is important to be reading all the cues (even if you don't actually perform them at first).

4) Practice, Practice, Practice

My 2 cents,

Rodney

Re: How you learn to sight-read #1104130
04/18/05 02:26 PM
04/18/05 02:26 PM
Joined: Apr 2004
Posts: 477
northwest NJ
devils4ever Offline
Full Member
devils4ever  Offline
Full Member

Joined: Apr 2004
Posts: 477
northwest NJ
Quote
Originally posted by Rodney:
I'm not a big fan of HS practice for sight reading. I spent a lot of time using this approach and became very good at sight reading either the bass cleff or trebble cleff but it in no way improved my ability to sight read the grand staff.

The problem is that you start to see the two staffs as two distinct entities instead of the single entity that they are. I now only practice sight reading hands togehter (sometimes painfully slow) but my sight playing ability has improved dramatically.

That is not to say that HS practice is without merit as I have found it extremely valuable mastering a new piece (which isn't the same as sight reading).
I agree with Rodney. For sight-reading practice, try to do hands together. That's the whole point. Unless you're an beginner than do what you have to. wink


"Applaud friends, the comedy is over." --Ludwig van Beethoven on his deathbed.
August Förster 190 Artcase
Re: How you learn to sight-read #1104131
04/18/05 02:49 PM
04/18/05 02:49 PM
Joined: May 2004
Posts: 2,918
idaho
T
teachum Offline
2000 Post Club Member
teachum  Offline
2000 Post Club Member
T

Joined: May 2004
Posts: 2,918
idaho
You have a good point about avoiding seeing the two staffs as separate entities, Rodney. I am sure that somewhere along the way, when I was much younger, in music classes, someone talked about the Grand Staff, but I forgot about it. I struggled for many years with reading the treble much better than the bass because that's what I read when I sang or played the clarinet. It wasn't until I started learning to play the piano that I needed to become *good* at reading the bass, not just able to figure out the notes. Then I realized that I needed to see it as a whole. One tip that helped me was always read from the bottom to the top. That helped erase the division between bass and treble and also helped with those ledger line notes.

I teach reading to small children and it is fascinating to observe the parallels of what goes on in the brain with reading words and making meaning and reading music and making music. With words, children have to learn what the symbols mean, what their name is and what sound they correspond to. They then learn that those sounds put together make words that stand for something and groups of words make thoughts.

At some point, they stop sounding things out and it's an automatic word with meaning connected to it.

Skipping the step you were referring to in reading music is much the same. When you get to the stage where words are automatic it's like looking at the note and your finger just knows where to go on the keyboard or whatever instrument you are playing. You are right, you no longer think "that's a g." I know there are methods out there that teach that way, but I'm kind of glad I learned the old-fashioned way. But the other way might be much faster.


You will be 10 years older, ten years from now, no matter what you do - so go for it!

Estonia #6141 in Satin Mahogany
Re: How you learn to sight-read #1104132
04/20/05 10:55 PM
04/20/05 10:55 PM
Joined: Dec 2004
Posts: 12
H e r e
L
Libox88 Offline OP
Junior Member
Libox88  Offline OP
Junior Member
L

Joined: Dec 2004
Posts: 12
H e r e
smile Thank you for all of you whom had given me your valuable suggestions and advices. I am only in the 6th month of learning from nothing and had picked up quite a bit but my teacher stressed that I must try to master the note reading cum counting asap. So far I only had around 3-4 mths of lessons from 2 teachers.

Pertaining to this sight-reading skill, I had forced myself to sight-read with both hands by taking the ABRSM grade one (my daughter's book) and I think it's not that bad if I read the clef separately and because all are in 5 finger positions, more or less I am relying on the intervals. However, it gets really tough if both of my hands got to work together.

By the way, some of you have contradict ideas which some say practice HS sight-reading first whilst some insisted that dont waste time but rather work on HT right away. I am in this stage whereby I can recognise all the notes (less than 2 seconds to name the note) for both clefs but onli upto the first ledger line. Meaning to say that for treble I can immediately tell a letter from middle C right upto the next octave G and same for bass.

Therefore, which path should I head towards now ? For the past few days, I have been doing the following and need more help from you guys/ladies.

1) Just like Chickgrand, taking a few song sheets away from the piano and speak out the notes aloud. However, these are only lead sheets (treble clef onli) and I wonder if it really helps in sight reading. As far as I know, these lead sheets (fake books) only got the melody line and chords above. Therefore, can anyone advise me if this will only help me in reading the treble clef and wont be beneficial in the long run ?

Secondly, as I try to sight-read the lead sheet, I also visualise which key should I press on the piano

2) As currently I am still learning the basics, I find it really hard to a) SIGHT-READ and at the same time b) COUNT and c) PRESS the right note. I simply cant get myself to get the right rhythm. Take for instance, my counting falls apart totally if I have to take more time to get the next note right.

3) Even though if I can recognise the note, how do I know where should I start placing my hand/fingers and how am I going to move my hand around. Let's say if the last note of that particular bar is a E and i am using my pinky to press and the next note is a G. (Hope I am clear in this).

I tried a few lead sheets slowly but the notes are jumping from one octave to another and back. Even if i know which note is on the piano, I do not know how to shift my hand/fingers.


4) Rodney mentioned to sight read from the lowerest to the highest, can you explain more on this ? Do you mean your eyes will look at the bass clef than the treble.

5) Bill has suggested mapping and it make sense to straight-away knowing which key to press rather than knowing is it a A,B or G etc and then transmit to the brain then to the fingers. However, how do you actually practice that ? Would appreciate if you could elaborate more in detail.

Well, I still got tons of question to ask but that's all for the time being.

Lastly, I know that many people learning piano do not really focus on sight-reading (which my teachers say so) but still they progress thru the grades.

If you can recall, when you first started learning playing piano, do you feel the stress more rather then enjoyment or am I giving myself too much pressure to pick up things too fast.

At this moment, I find it extremely tough to learn so many things at the same time. frown

Re: How you learn to sight-read #1104133
04/21/05 03:50 AM
04/21/05 03:50 AM
Joined: May 2003
Posts: 3,269
Midwest U.S.
ChickGrand Offline
3000 Post Club Member
ChickGrand  Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Joined: May 2003
Posts: 3,269
Midwest U.S.
Quote
Originally posted by Libox88:
...At this moment, I find it extremely tough to learn so many things at the same time. frown
That's the problem in a nutshell. I think if you think you should be able to improve all the skills you mentioned at the same time, you are perhaps expecting a bit much too early. Certainly while you're working on pieces, you *do* have to do all of the functions. But for practice purposes, I'd focus on any one aspect at a time in isolation, and for enough time each day so that you actually make a little progress. Like about 20 minutes. I do think you need to work on sightreading with pieces that include the bass clef so that it becomes as natural to you as the treble clef.

Fingering is a much more complicated question that has no one answer. Fingering varies from key signature to key signature and then from piece to piece as well, and even varies from one player to the next due to the differences in sizes of hands. I find it best to work from good editions with suggested fingering and see how that suggested fingering works for me first. But if I find the suggested fingering does not work for me so well, I feel free to change it to something that does work for me. Once the decision is made about which fingering works best for you, I think it is best to commit to that fingering and use it every single time so that the muscle memory that develops does not become confused.

The pressure you feel just starting out is normal with so many things to learn, seemingly all at once. The best thing you can do for yourself is to simplify your outlook. Focus on individual skills/tasks one at a time and regularly enough so that the repetition instills them in your memory so they become more automatic and less consciously recognized/translated to the keys.

I think the thing to work on first is the sightreading--both clefs and working on that at the keyboard--so that you begin to associate C2 on the keyboard with the C written 2 ledger lines below the bass clef, C3 with the second space of the bass clef, C4 with Middle C, C5 with C on the 3rd space of the treble clef, etc. Once you begin to associate the way every note in every octave is written among the two clefs (with C1 octave usually written with a special note "8av" with the dashed line below, and the highest octave having the "8va" and the dashed line above) for the entire 88 keys of the piano, there will be no confusion about where to go on the keyboard-- which octave you should be in. Good reading and association of the octaves and how they break across those staves is fundamental to developing the ease at reading and keyboard familiarity that will come in time. (And I tend to agree with the suggestion of reading from the bass clef to treble and associating that always from left to right on the keyboard. It ends up being less confusing.

Counting note values will not be such a complicating factor when you've sharpened your abilities on that more fundmental level of reading and finding the associated note on the keyboard.

Don't rush yourself to a point of frustration or try to do too many things at once too early. And when you are trying to do all the skills you mentioned at once, I'd do it with simple material first and work on more complex material only later when that begins to feel easy.

Below is an image I made in PhotoShop to relate the 88 keys of the keyboard to the usual "Grand Staff" of one Treble Clef and one Bass Clef combined. In that arrangement, it is usual convention to show that highest octave with the "8 - - -" or "8va - - - -" notation, to show you to play them one octave higher than written. A similar thing is often done in the bass clef for low notes to show to play them one octave lower than written. The point of that odd convention is to avoid excessive ledger lines that may be hard to read, where writing the notes on the more familiar lines often used--but with that note to go up or down--prevents you from having to deal with so many ledger lines and the difficulty of seeing that interval. The convention that is used depends entirely on the piece (and the author's style) and whether there are brief or long sections in those most remote octaves. If both hands are working in the top octaves, you may instead have 2 treble clefs one above the other for a time and not need that "8va". Same is true when working in the lowest octaves, you may again have two bass clefs instead, rather than the 8va format. A downloadable Adobe Acrobat file suitable to print 8.5x11 is attached (right-click, save as) at: GrandStaff.pdf

[Linked Image]

Re: How you learn to sight-read #1104134
04/21/05 04:20 AM
04/21/05 04:20 AM
Joined: Aug 2004
Posts: 2,033
Canada
SAMoore Offline
2000 Post Club Member
SAMoore  Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Joined: Aug 2004
Posts: 2,033
Canada
Quote
2) As currently I am still learning the basics, I find it really hard to a) SIGHT-READ and at the same time b) COUNT and c) PRESS the right note. I simply cant get myself to get the right rhythm. Take for instance, my counting falls apart totally if I have to take more time to get the next note right.
I sometimes find it helpful to clap the rhythm away from the piano (hands together) several times before trying a simple sight reading piece.


It's the journey not the destination..
[Linked Image]
Re: How you learn to sight-read #1104135
04/21/05 06:36 AM
04/21/05 06:36 AM
Joined: Aug 2004
Posts: 782
Rochester, NY
M
mound Offline
500 Post Club Member
mound  Offline
500 Post Club Member
M

Joined: Aug 2004
Posts: 782
Rochester, NY
Lots of good posts.. I admit I'm not the best sight reader, but I am improving. A couple points I'll mention. Somebody mentioned photocopying sheet music and writing note values in along side, just to get the recognition of letters quicker. I'm not sure that is a harmful practice, as it were, but I'm also not sure how beneficial it is, in so far as what you might accomplish in the same time. You see that might get you really good at quickly applying a letter to a note on the staff, but in what way does that train your fingers to hit them? It doesn't really. Years ago when I was studying jazz bass, my teacher had me writing TONS of notes, re-writing jazz lines in every key, and I got pretty good and writing the notes and accidentals and transposing and such, but that honestly had very little impact on my ability to play the lines.. Being able to play one of those lines in any key was all about intervals and completely forgetting about notes.

Many of the above responses seem to go to the note recognition aspect of it, but I think the more important thing to master is interval recognition. Being able to navigate the topology of the keyboard by intervals, knowing how to make the intervals with your fingers after immediately recognizing the shape of the interval on the sheet music. This removes completely the concept of "note value" and thus, takes away "a step of translation" for the sight-reader.

I think also if you master sight reading by intervals rather than note values, your ability to transpose keys and such will also be increased.

Of course I am still at a point where I have to take much of my own advice, it is a struggle, but I'm pretty convinced, at this stage of the game, that interval recognition and a feel based sense of the topology of the keyboard is a much more productive way of sight reading than trying to translate to a letter, and then to a spot on the keyboard, note by note.

I do agree that HT is the only way to practice sight-reading. HT isn't the best way to develop technique when learn a new piece, but for strictly practice of sight-reading, I don't believe HS is productive.

ChickGrand posted a good image above of the grand staff. But even that is alot to visually learn to recognize (even though it is a direct mapping of the keyboard itself) Check out this image, where instead of having 4 groupings to learn:

GBDFA, ACEG, EGBDF & FACE

We have only 2 unique groups to learn (GBDF and ACE), and they repeat symetrically about the staff, it's much more intuitive to me:

[Linked Image]

(I didn't come up with that, somebody posted it here


Now as far as the rhythms and dynamics and such, well, that's a different story, you all had lots of good comments on that above.

-Paul


"You look hopefully for an idea and then you're humble when you find it and you wish your skills were better. To have even a half-baked touch of creativity is an honor."
-- Ernie Stires, composer
Re: How you learn to sight-read #1104136
04/21/05 07:26 AM
04/21/05 07:26 AM
Joined: Oct 2004
Posts: 741
Caledon ON, Canada
R
Rodney Offline
500 Post Club Member
Rodney  Offline
500 Post Club Member
R

Joined: Oct 2004
Posts: 741
Caledon ON, Canada
For the Note recognition, I suggest the following online flash card game:

http://astro.sci.uop.edu/~harlow/piano/index.html

I play this game whenever I get couple of minutes free and need a break from work.

BTW:

I can usually get my score up to 98% or better but there was a time when 60% was stretch treble cleff and 20% bass cleff. Go as fast as you can, and don't worry when you make a mistake. After all, it's just a game. ;-)

Have fun,

Rodney

Page 1 of 2 1 2

Moderated by  BB Player 

Shop Our Online Store!
Shop Our Store Online
Shop PianoSupplies.com

Did you know Piano World has an online store, and that it's loaded with goodies pianists and music lovers want?
Check it out and place your order.

Special Purchase!
Keyboard and Roses Piano Bench Cushion Keyboard & Roses 14"x30" piano bench cushions Regularly sold for $79 to $100, now only $39. (while supplies last)

(ad)
Pianoteq
PianoTeq Bechstein
(ad)
Faust Harrison Pianos
Faust Harrison 100+ Steinways
New Topics - Multiple Forums
Yamaha PF-1000
by Gavin24985. 03/19/19 09:09 AM
Happy Birthday Lennie Tristano!
by Dfrankjazz. 03/19/19 05:09 AM
“Spring Time” - A beautiful song
by Vũ Trần. 03/19/19 05:08 AM
Piano action issue
by kokatla. 03/19/19 04:31 AM
Practice session of Chopin prelude 3
by baudelairepianist. 03/19/19 12:26 AM
What's Hot!!
PIANO TEACHERS Please read this!
-------------------
European Tour for Piano Lovers
JOIN US FOR THE TOUR!
--------------------
Posting Pictures on the Forums
-------------------
Forums RULES & HELP
-------------------
ADVERTISE on Piano World
Forum Statistics
Forums41
Topics190,989
Posts2,808,076
Members92,812
Most Online15,252
Mar 21st, 2010
Please Support Our Advertisers
Faust Harrison 100+ Steinways

Dampp Chaser Piano Life Saver

Sweetwater

 Best of Piano Buyer

PianoTeq Bechstein
Visit our online store for gifts for music lovers


 
Help keep the forums up and running with a donation, any amount is appreciated!
Or by becoming a Subscribing member! Thank-you.
Donate   Subscribe
 
Our Piano Related Classified Ads
| Dealers | Tuners | Lessons | Movers | Restorations | Pianos For Sale | Sell Your Piano |

Advertise on Piano World
| Subscribe | Piano World | PianoSupplies.com | Advertise on Piano World |
| |Contact | Privacy | Legal | About Us | Site Map | Free Newsletter |


copyright 1997 - 2019 Piano World ® all rights reserved
No part of this site may be reproduced without prior written permission
Powered by UBB.threads™ PHP Forum Software 7.6.2