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#1238277 - 07/27/09 03:30 PM Perfect sight reading
MiM Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/09/09
Posts: 543
Loc: Pennsylvania
Greetings, I'm a level 2 piano student and I'm wondering whether what I heard once that such and such was able to sight read a supposedly difficult piano piece from seeing for the first time, all the way without any mistakes, is actually possible. I would really like to hear from people who have seen this happen or know for sure that it is possible.

Why I need to know this? Besides just mere curiosity, I would like to know if this is a goal that a student like me should realistically set? I understand that it is possible for a very good sight reader to look at a moderately difficult piece, study it, analyze it, practice it for a day or two, then be able to play it reasonably well. But to just read it and play like a TV anchor would read a piece of news from the tele prompter sounds unrealistic to me. Comments on this are highly appreciated.
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#1238291 - 07/27/09 04:01 PM Re: Perfect sight reading [Re: MiM]
Ebony and Ivory Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/14/05
Posts: 1179
Loc: Minnesota
I'm sure most serious pianists can do this. I would even say any serious musician, no matter their instrument.
I don't know exactly what you mean by "supposedly difficult piece", but I can sit down and play many new things. Not up to performance standards, but technically correct. The level and the piece would determine if I could do it without *any* mistakes.

There are many, many pieces that I can't play. I have to work at them.
Part of it is the fingerings that I have to work out. I have small hands and some things just can't be played the way they are written, so I have to improvise. Usually I can't do that without putting in some time and effort.

There are some pieces that I will never be able to play, no matter how much practice I put in.

I don't think your goal is not unrealistic at all. Once you have a lot of time and practice under your belt, you will be able to do this too. Even the TV anchors chop up names and places now and then smile
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It is better to be kind than to be right.

Professional private piano teacher since 1994.

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#1238306 - 07/27/09 04:39 PM Re: Perfect sight reading [Re: Ebony and Ivory]
MiM Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/09/09
Posts: 543
Loc: Pennsylvania
Thanks for the reply, it's good to hear from someone who's been in the field for some time. I understand how a particular piece can be written with some unique or clever fingering that one has to analyze it a bit, but would you say that a "good" professional/competent piano player can, and usually it is the case, take a typical Alfred L2 piece (say Alexander's RagTime Band, which he/she has never seen before but possibly has heard the tune), and be able to play it well within an hour? Within thirty minutes? Instantly?
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#1238333 - 07/27/09 05:21 PM Re: Perfect sight reading [Re: MiM]
Ebony and Ivory Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/14/05
Posts: 1179
Loc: Minnesota
I would say any teacher *should* (and I really hate that word) be able to play anything up to about level 8 at a minimum, without any mistakes or practice. This is just my opinion, I'm sure there are lots more out there smile

I would never want to be in a situation where my student asked me to play something for him, and I wasn't able. That would be very uncomfortable.
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It is better to be kind than to be right.

Professional private piano teacher since 1994.

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