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Sight reading book #2741177
06/01/18 05:03 AM
06/01/18 05:03 AM
Joined: Oct 2017
Posts: 68
Charleston SC
N
NuggetSC Offline OP

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Charleston SC
Hello there,

I have been playing piano for 1 yr. I pratice every day for 2 hrs or so. I feel that my sight reading is not where i want it to be.

I already have sight reading excercise books but i am looking for a sight reading approaches/techniques book that would talk about how to approach it, give tips, etc.

Any recommendations?

Thanks

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Re: Sight reading book [Re: NuggetSC] #2741183
06/01/18 05:43 AM
06/01/18 05:43 AM
Joined: May 2011
Posts: 206
Fayetteville, GA
M
mivaldes Offline
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Posts: 206
Fayetteville, GA
Have you looked at Piano Marvel? It has a sight reading bootcamp. BTW, I grew up in Charleston (West Ashley) in the 1970s and 80s. Miss the place but it is way too crowded now!


Marcus Valdes
Fayetteville, GA
Kawai RX-5, Kawai CA78
Re: Sight reading book [Re: NuggetSC] #2741192
06/01/18 06:32 AM
06/01/18 06:32 AM
Joined: Feb 2012
Posts: 3,702
Ireland (ex England)
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zrtf90 Offline
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Ireland (ex England)
Sight Reading Skills by Faith Maydwell

From the first chapter:
"This book is not yet another set of sequential sight-reading pieces which all too often turn into dry and uninspiring exercises. It is a book to help in gaining skills in order to be able to explore good music meaningfully. When teaching this subject at university, there was not a great deal of literature to aid the student. In less than one year students struggling with sight reading needed to be strong enough readers, able to tackle Bach's Well-Tempered Clavier. This book is the accumulation of all the approaches and experiments that over the years reaped good results."

This book was the most helpful for my sight-reading.


Richard
Re: Sight reading book [Re: NuggetSC] #2741193
06/01/18 06:35 AM
06/01/18 06:35 AM
Joined: Apr 2018
Posts: 743
Tyrone Slothrop Offline
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Tyrone Slothrop  Offline
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I have Piano Marvel, and other forum members with Piano Marvel have recommended to me the sight reading bootcamp and the SASR Level 1 through 6 books, which are both available through the Piano Marvel system. (SASR = Standard Assessment of Sight Reading -- don't know if this is a real thing or if Piano Marvel invented it.) I am just starting on both of those resources myself, so I can't give feedback on how they worked for me.

However, since the OP asked about sight reading approaches, I wanted to mention that I too wanted to try to make this systematic. I said to myself, someone must have a real approach to sight-reading. In researching sight reading, I've seen bits and pieces of an approach on the internet and in other places. For example, I have the ABRSM sight reading app and it tests on aspects of a score, such as, "What was the key signature?" "Which is the lowest note?" etc. So clearly seeing those things is part of a formula. But I wanted to read an entire approach and not just pick it up piecemeal. So I found two books, one of which I got. The first is: Becoming a Great Sight-Reader -- or Not!: Learn from my Quest for Piano Sight-Reading Nirvana
and the second: Super Sight-Reading Secrets: An Inn...r Musical Keyboard Players of All Levels

The first, I read the Amazon reviews and decided it wasn't for me. It might have good tips, but other Amazon customers complained that it was too personal a laundry list of things that worked for the author (and most) didn't work, interspersed with anecdotes. The second book, I bought, but have only been in possession of it for a few days. It already appears though to be exactly what was seeking though -- a step-by-step guide to becoming a sight reader, complete with graduated exercises. A system for sight reading! Now, I am not going to give an endorsement here yet since I have not worked through it, so I will only say "it appears", but I am very hopeful about this 2nd book. I'll report back on this thread when I've made it through at least a portion of this book and concretely "tested" the results. Piano Marvel has a sight reading test with a numerical score, which can be repeated, so this is a perfect and objective metric of sight reading improvement.

Last edited by Tyrone Slothrop; 06/01/18 06:39 AM.

across the stone, deathless piano performances
Re: Sight reading book [Re: NuggetSC] #2741195
06/01/18 06:49 AM
06/01/18 06:49 AM
Joined: May 2015
Posts: 3,753
Florida
dogperson Offline
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Florida
I have not used piano marvel, So please correct me if I’m wrong. Sight reading does not just involve the notes and general rhythm but also dynamics and phrasing. There is only so much that piano marvel can check so therefore I would consider it to be only one tool ... Not an objective measurement because it does not include all the elements, and you’re allowed to repeat the exercises.

The old fashioned way of learning to sight read? Play a lot of different music from different periods and styles. Start out at lower levels of repertoire and increase as you get better. There is a ton of free music out there on the Internet. I do think that a good book might help you develop the skill of learning what to observe.


"Music, rich, full of feeling, not soulless, is like a crystal on which the sun falls and brings forth from it a whole rainbow" - F. Chopin
" I never dreamt with my own two hands I could touch the sky" - Sappho
Re: Sight reading book [Re: zrtf90] #2741197
06/01/18 06:54 AM
06/01/18 06:54 AM
Joined: Apr 2018
Posts: 743
Tyrone Slothrop Offline
500 Post Club Member
Tyrone Slothrop  Offline
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Joined: Apr 2018
Posts: 743
Originally Posted by zrtf90
Sight Reading Skills by Faith Maydwell

From the first chapter:
"This book is not yet another set of sequential sight-reading pieces which all too often turn into dry and uninspiring exercises. It is a book to help in gaining skills in order to be able to explore good music meaningfully. When teaching this subject at university, there was not a great deal of literature to aid the student. In less than one year students struggling with sight reading needed to be strong enough readers, able to tackle Bach's Well-Tempered Clavier. This book is the accumulation of all the approaches and experiments that over the years reaped good results."

This book was the most helpful for my sight-reading.


Thanks! I missed this book two weeks ago when I was searching for sight reading strategy books, since this one isn't on Amazon and apparently only can only be ordered from the author's website, HERE. But based on your recommendation, I've just gone ahead and ordered a hardcopy from her.


across the stone, deathless piano performances
Re: Sight reading book [Re: NuggetSC] #2741199
06/01/18 06:56 AM
06/01/18 06:56 AM
Joined: May 2011
Posts: 206
Fayetteville, GA
M
mivaldes Offline
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Joined: May 2011
Posts: 206
Fayetteville, GA
I just ordered the Richman book. Looks good! Going for a little over $20 on Amazon used.


Marcus Valdes
Fayetteville, GA
Kawai RX-5, Kawai CA78
Re: Sight reading book [Re: Tyrone Slothrop] #2741200
06/01/18 06:57 AM
06/01/18 06:57 AM
Joined: Jan 2018
Posts: 986
In the Ozarks of Missouri
NobleHouse Offline
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In the Ozarks of Missouri
Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop
Originally Posted by zrtf90
Sight Reading Skills by Faith Maydwell

From the first chapter:
"This book is not yet another set of sequential sight-reading pieces which all too often turn into dry and uninspiring exercises. It is a book to help in gaining skills in order to be able to explore good music meaningfully. When teaching this subject at university, there was not a great deal of literature to aid the student. In less than one year students struggling with sight reading needed to be strong enough readers, able to tackle Bach's Well-Tempered Clavier. This book is the accumulation of all the approaches and experiments that over the years reaped good results."

This book was the most helpful for my sight-reading.


Thanks! I missed this book two weeks ago when I was searching for sight reading strategy books, since this one isn't on Amazon and apparently only can only be ordered from the author's website, HERE. But based on your recommendation, I've just gone ahead and ordered a hardcopy from her.


Thanks for the book suggestion and the link!

Re: Sight reading book [Re: NuggetSC] #2741201
06/01/18 06:59 AM
06/01/18 06:59 AM
Joined: May 2011
Posts: 206
Fayetteville, GA
M
mivaldes Offline
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mivaldes  Offline
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Joined: May 2011
Posts: 206
Fayetteville, GA
I couldn't find the Maydwell book, thanks for the link. There is actually a PDF link in a Google search to the whole book! Ironically the link is from AnthonyMaydwell.com. I wonder if he realized he linked to the entire book?


Marcus Valdes
Fayetteville, GA
Kawai RX-5, Kawai CA78
Re: Sight reading book [Re: mivaldes] #2741208
06/01/18 07:38 AM
06/01/18 07:38 AM
Joined: Apr 2018
Posts: 743
Tyrone Slothrop Offline
500 Post Club Member
Tyrone Slothrop  Offline
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Joined: Apr 2018
Posts: 743
Originally Posted by mivaldes
I couldn't find the Maydwell book, thanks for the link. There is actually a PDF link in a Google search to the whole book! Ironically the link is from AnthonyMaydwell.com. I wonder if he realized he linked to the entire book?

I saw that when I was linking. But since it seemed to be a mom & pop publishing outfit, it didn't seem fair for me to use that without also buying the book. I also wanted a hard copy I could have open on my piano. Now that's I've bought the hardcopy though, I feel liberated to freely use the PDF if I want it on my piano display. LOL


across the stone, deathless piano performances
Re: Sight reading book [Re: NuggetSC] #2741211
06/01/18 07:45 AM
06/01/18 07:45 AM
Joined: Dec 2017
Posts: 330
Just outside London UK
akc42 Offline
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Posts: 330
Just outside London UK
I use Piano Marvel too. I run a test once nearly every day, and have done since early December 2017 when I first got a Piano Marvel account. I accept it doesn't teach dynamics and also that I am playing pieces I have played before. It has got me some way, but I feel like I've plateau'ed a bit.

As a result I have just purchased "Improve your sight-reading" by Paul Harris https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/0571533043. I chose Grade 4 as I am not sure where I am and I haven't tried any pieces from it yet. However my teacher, who has also been teaching my 6 year old grandson as an absolute beginner for the past 6 weeks suggested I get the Grade 1 book for him, I liked the look of his approach - and since he does a series all the way up to grade 8 and I have to start somewhere I will start at 4.

Re: Sight reading book [Re: dogperson] #2741214
06/01/18 07:53 AM
06/01/18 07:53 AM
Joined: Apr 2018
Posts: 743
Tyrone Slothrop Offline
500 Post Club Member
Tyrone Slothrop  Offline
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Joined: Apr 2018
Posts: 743
Originally Posted by dogperson
I have not used piano marvel, So please correct me if I’m wrong. Sight reading does not just involve the notes and general rhythm but also dynamics and phrasing. There is only so much that piano marvel can check so therefore I would consider it to be only one tool ... Not an objective measurement because it does not include all the elements, and you’re allowed to repeat the exercises.

The old fashioned way of learning to sight read? Play a lot of different music from different periods and styles. Start out at lower levels of repertoire and increase as you get better. There is a ton of free music out there on the Internet. I do think that a good book might help you develop the skill of learning what to observe.

While Piano Marvel has a bunch of weaknesses, including dynamics and phrasing, without a teacher it is a great way to not only check notes but also rhythms when sight reading. Often, I am blowing out not on notes (although I fail there too), but on rhythms. Without such a tool, I can imagine that it would be hard to even check that I was using the right rhythm when doing sight-reading practice, without a teacher, unless I could hear a recording of the piece afterwards. Also, you can "mostly" use good dynamics and phrasing with Piano Marvel, and check that yourself. However, there are exceptions and a big one is that you can't change tempo during playing a piece (e.g., ritardando), but I would guess that is also pretty much true when using a metronome.

Last edited by Tyrone Slothrop; 06/01/18 07:54 AM.

across the stone, deathless piano performances
Re: Sight reading book [Re: NuggetSC] #2741224
06/01/18 08:34 AM
06/01/18 08:34 AM
Joined: Jul 2007
Posts: 323
England
Sundew Offline
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Sundew  Offline
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Joined: Jul 2007
Posts: 323
England
A good way to practise rhythm is clap or tap on your thighs whilst counting out loud. I find it much easier to concentrate on the beat when I’m not also playing the notes.

Graham Fitch is a good resource if you are not familiar with his work.


https://practisingthepiano.com/can-sight-reading-be-taught/

Re: Sight reading book [Re: Tyrone Slothrop] #2741230
06/01/18 08:42 AM
06/01/18 08:42 AM
Joined: May 2013
Posts: 1,539
Florida
cmb13 Offline
Silver Level
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Joined: May 2013
Posts: 1,539
Florida
Originally Posted by zrtf90
Sight Reading Skills by Faith Maydwell

From the first chapter:
"This book is not yet another set of sequential sight-reading pieces which all too often turn into dry and uninspiring exercises. It is a book to help in gaining skills in order to be able to explore good music meaningfully. When teaching this subject at university, there was not a great deal of literature to aid the student. In less than one year students struggling with sight reading needed to be strong enough readers, able to tackle Bach's Well-Tempered Clavier. This book is the accumulation of all the approaches and experiments that over the years reaped good results."

This book was the most helpful for my sight-reading.



Originally Posted by NobleHouse


Thanks for the book suggestion and the link!


Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop


Thanks! I missed this book two weeks ago when I was searching for sight reading strategy books, since this one isn't on Amazon and apparently only can only be ordered from the author's website, HERE. But based on your recommendation, I've just gone ahead and ordered a hardcopy from her.


Richard's recommendations carry a lot of weight around here....I might pick up a copy as well.


Boston 118 PE

Working On
Chopin Nocturne 20, Posthumous, in C-Sharp Minor
Pachelbel Canon in D
Re: Sight reading book [Re: NuggetSC] #2741240
06/01/18 09:14 AM
06/01/18 09:14 AM
Joined: May 2001
Posts: 24,082
New York City
pianoloverus Offline
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IMO no book or computer program is nearly as important as just practicing sight reading high quality music. If the music is by great composers there will usually be greater motivation to try and play it just for the pleasure of doing so. Most excellent sight readers never "practiced" sight reading as if it was an assignment either from the teacher or from themselves. It is also important to understand that knowledge of basic theory and development of technical skills must be done in order for sight reading to improve.

Last edited by pianoloverus; 06/01/18 09:14 AM.
Re: Sight reading book [Re: NuggetSC] #2741243
06/01/18 09:19 AM
06/01/18 09:19 AM
Joined: May 2015
Posts: 3,753
Florida
dogperson Offline
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Florida
Plover
You might try looking at the Madywell book., It is not just a bunch of pieces But some excellent instruction about what you need to be thinking about and what technical skills you need to have. I would find it to be very helpful in learning to sight read when supplemented with a large amount of repertoire. The book even has a list of graded repertoire that could be used. For instance, one of the prerequisites discusses ledger line knowledge, basic chord recognition, etc, It is a blueprint not a cure-all

Last edited by dogperson; 06/01/18 09:20 AM. Reason: Typo
Re: Sight reading book [Re: NuggetSC] #2741244
06/01/18 09:21 AM
06/01/18 09:21 AM
Joined: Jan 2016
Posts: 904
Milano
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Milano
I also use the "Improve Your Sight Reading" books by Paul Harris and quite like them.

My teacher recommends studying one exercise away from the piano, then playing it only one time, with no errors, no emphasis on proper technique. Every day.

Re: Sight reading book [Re: NuggetSC] #2741663
06/02/18 09:20 PM
06/02/18 09:20 PM
Joined: Oct 2017
Posts: 68
Charleston SC
N
NuggetSC Offline OP

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Charleston SC
I just purchased the book from Faith Maydwell.

Looking fwd to reading it.

Thanks For all the suggestions.

Re: Sight reading book [Re: Tyrone Slothrop] #2741711
06/03/18 05:21 AM
06/03/18 05:21 AM
Joined: Feb 2015
Posts: 1,552
Warsaw, Poland
Qazsedcft Offline
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Qazsedcft  Offline
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Warsaw, Poland
Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop
It already appears though to be exactly what was seeking though -- a step-by-step guide to becoming a sight reader, complete with graduated exercises. A system for sight reading!

(emphasis mine)

I'm a bit late to this discussion but I noticed this reply and felt I have to comment on it. This sentence: "A system for sight reading!" is the essence of what many beginners have expressed here and elsewhere. We are told that we shouldn't worry about exercises, that reading ability comes gradually, and that you should just sight read every day. But we are not told how to do that or how to approach sight reading.

However, these past 3 years I have done a lot of experimenting to see what works and what doesn't with respect to sight reading. I have many books on sight reading, including the ones mentioned in this thread. I tried different online applications too. But I'm slowly coming to the same conclusion as most of the advanced members of this forum, that there is in fact no such system. There are a bunch of skills that can help you but these should be developed along with other skills to gradually grow the ability to read more complicated music. Learning these skills by themselves when you're not ready is not really going to help one bit.

For example, one of the drills in the Super Sight Reading Secrets book is to learn the major and minor chords in all inversions and in all keys to be able to execute them without any thought. Well, sure, that's a fine goal, but are you really going to stop all other work on other aspects of piano just for the sake of this drill until you master it? Are you going to drill those exercises for months or years before "graduating" to real music? Or maybe it's better to start playing some music and keep in mind that you should develop your technique and theory along side to gradually grow into more advanced music.

Faith Maydwell's book has some good tips and points out some of the things to think about when sight reading, but it is mostly a guide that prepares you for the journey and then you're on your own.

The closest I have found to an actual step-by-step guide is the RCM Four Star series which gradually goes through all the levels, from Preparatory to RCM 10. I'm currently using that series myself. Still, the books themselves are not sufficient. You need to read a lot of other music from different sources every day.

As dissappointing as this may sound the best way to improve your reading ability is in fact to "just do it" as most advanced readers suggest.


[Linked Image]
Working on:
Bach French Suite no. 2 mvt. 4
Moszkowski op. 91 no. 7
Debussy Doctor Gradus ad Parnassum
Re: Sight reading book [Re: NuggetSC] #2741720
06/03/18 07:25 AM
06/03/18 07:25 AM
Joined: May 2013
Posts: 1,539
Florida
cmb13 Offline
Silver Level
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Florida
TIMSTAAFL


Boston 118 PE

Working On
Chopin Nocturne 20, Posthumous, in C-Sharp Minor
Pachelbel Canon in D
Re: Sight reading book [Re: Qazsedcft] #2741726
06/03/18 07:42 AM
06/03/18 07:42 AM
Joined: May 2001
Posts: 24,082
New York City
pianoloverus Offline
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Originally Posted by Qazsedcft
As disappointing as this may sound the best way to improve your reading ability is in fact to "just do it" as most advanced readers suggest.
Practicing sight reading doesn't become a chore or homework if one uses great music at an appropriate level of difficulty. Most of the best sightreaders never "practiced" sight reading.

Re: Sight reading book [Re: NuggetSC] #2741728
06/03/18 07:45 AM
06/03/18 07:45 AM
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Ireland (ex England)
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zrtf90 Offline
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Faith Maydwell's book offers the three most helpful approaches she has found to sight-reading, viz. guided reading, keyboard orientation and reading the text.

Since reading Charles Cooke's Playing the Piano for Pleasure back in the eighties I have tried unsuccessfully to add ten minutes of sight-reading each day to my practise. The psychology of keeping this up, despite my utter failure to either improve or, if I did, to notice the improvement, was such that it never became an established part of my practise. I resigned myself to the fact that I just couldn't do it.

One of the things that make readers better is playing with others and another is their ability to keep their eyes on the score. I always thought playing with others was a timekeeping thing. Always, when I played guitar I was keeping time when I played with others or when using a drum machine so I figured I didn't need help in that area. When I learnt Bach pieces, I worked them until I could play them blindfold with each hand separately and hands together so I figured I knew the keyboard, too.

I audiate from scores, even full orchestral scores, so I didn't think I needed any help reading the signs either. What was stopping me was obviously my playing ability or some other key to sight-reading success. I though I just didn't have the necessary gene.

The guided reading is not about timekeeping. It's about keeping up. Not playing in time but reading fast enough and far enough ahead, about discarding the notes that couldn't be read or played in time and carrying on. I didn't have a teacher to help my guided reading and I didn't have the scores to easy enough pieces to keep up with CDs. But I did have a drum machine that kept my place in the measure and if I missed a beat it would throw out the rest of the piece.

When I followed Faith's advice to use a device that would prevent me from seeing the keyboard I discovered how little I could get around without vision when playing unfamiliar music.

The two things that helped me the most were playing through a series of progressive pieces, including much of the recommended collections in Faith's book, with a blotting board that sat nicely between the reading stand and the base of my neck, and keeping time with my drum machine. I started finding my way around the keyboard quickly enough and starting noticing progress - in about a week as I recall, it wasn't long. So I kept it up. After a month or so it was clearly working and I didn't need the blotter.

These days I regularly pick up collection of scores, regardless of difficulty, and just play, poorly but happily, through some.

Just doing it didn't cut it for me. This book did.


Richard
Re: Sight reading book [Re: Qazsedcft] #2741732
06/03/18 08:01 AM
06/03/18 08:01 AM
Joined: Oct 2010
Posts: 10,973
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bennevis Online content
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Originally Posted by Qazsedcft
As dissappointing as this may sound the best way to improve your reading ability is in fact to "just do it" as most advanced readers suggest.

thumb

As boring as it may sound, the best 'skill' one can have (or develop) is musical curiosity - the urge to try out everything one can get one's hands on (no matter how haltingly or slowly), just to see 'how it sounds'.

To take a few well-known intermediate pieces that students often learn - Bach's Two-Part Invention in A minor BWV 784, Mozart's K545, Beethoven's Für Elise, Schumann's Von fremden Ländern und Menschen, Chopin's Prelude No.4 and Grieg's Arietta Op.12/1, you can see that they require very different aspects of sight-reading skills. The Bach has no chords, the Chopin is all chords. The Mozart has Alberti bass and scales & arpeggios in various keys throughout, the Beethoven has a mixture of various things. And so on.

In other words, pattern recognition is the key to fluent sight-reading (assuming that you can already read single isolated notes and know basic theory), and that is developed by sight-reading & playing a wide range of music. Not plugging away at one small aspect (like scales or chords in all keys and inversions) ad nauseam. For example, once you have developed familiarity with a common arpeggio pattern, you immediately recognize it when you next see it and know immediately how to position your hand and fingers. Ditto for Alberti bass. And appearance of chords in all their myriad configurations (and remember, they are rarely straightforward as in inversions and 7ths - look at Brahms's Intermezzo Op.117/1 for instance).

Students who only pick out pieces they like on YT to learn and never bother to sight-read through lots of other stuff (i.e. real music by all sorts of composers from all eras) purely for fun that they have no intention of learning won't be developing their sight-reading skills, and every time they encounter a pattern they haven't seen before, will end up having to laboriously read every single note, instead of being able to take in a bunch of notes at a time, and play them while looking ahead at the next group and mentally prepare to play them, which is what fluent sight-reading is all about.

For instance, in the current issue of Pianist Magazine (No.102, June-July 2018), there are twelve appealing pieces (including a song by ABBA in an arrangement almost like K545, easily sight-readable by anyone fluent in reading Alberti bass) plus four etudes, almost all of which pianists of above beginner standard can have a go at sight-reading. You won't necessarily be fluent even at very slow speeds, and you might be stopping and starting frequently when something unusual or unfamiliar crops up, but playing fluently is not the point. The point is to familiarize yourself with patterns that abound in piano music of all kinds and having fun doing so. Don't listen to the CD yet - try the pieces out first for yourself before you listen to hear how they are meant to go when performed by a master pianist. Believe it or not, even the advanced piece, Rustle of Spring, is not difficult to sight-read once you realize that the RH comprises straightforward arpeggios, and the five flats in the key signature make the piece fit well under the hands.


"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."
Re: Sight reading book [Re: NuggetSC] #2741736
06/03/18 08:35 AM
06/03/18 08:35 AM
Joined: May 2015
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Florida
dogperson Offline
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Florida
@bennevis
I do agree that you gained the skill of sight reading by actually playing a large amount of music. however, I think it is easy to forget unless you are a recent beginner, There are prerequisites for being able to even read a large amount of music. Please read Richard’s email above: You can’t sight read if you’re keeping your eyes glued on the keyboard. You can’t sight read until you are very familiar with the staves. You do need to understand basic key signatures and be able to play them.


Last edited by dogperson; 06/03/18 08:36 AM. Reason: Typo
Re: Sight reading book [Re: zrtf90] #2741737
06/03/18 08:43 AM
06/03/18 08:43 AM
Joined: Feb 2015
Posts: 1,552
Warsaw, Poland
Qazsedcft Offline
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Qazsedcft  Offline
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Warsaw, Poland
Originally Posted by zrtf90
Just doing it didn't cut it for me. This book did.

Alright, I grant you that everyone is different and some things may work for some and not for others. I'm not denying that the tips offered aren't useful but they are not a step-by-step graded process to guide you from beginner to advanced reading. These tips are more like guidance for how to approach sight reading, what to look out for, what skills should be practiced, etc.

I have had epiphany moments too where some trick suddenly resulted in a jump in ability. However, after the quick initial jump I did not experience a further increase but rather a plateau. I feel that such tricks can be useful if given at the appropriate moment when you have reached a level where they make sense but by themselves are not the thing that will make you a great reader or pianist. In order to make progress you still need a lot of practice reading different types of music and consolitating all the little skills and that simply takes years of daily practice (with sleep in between as you are fond to point out wink ).


[Linked Image]
Working on:
Bach French Suite no. 2 mvt. 4
Moszkowski op. 91 no. 7
Debussy Doctor Gradus ad Parnassum
Re: Sight reading book [Re: dogperson] #2741740
06/03/18 08:53 AM
06/03/18 08:53 AM
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Originally Posted by dogperson
@bennevis
I do agree that you gained the skill of sight reading by actually playing a large amount of music. however, I think it is easy to forget unless you are a recent beginner, There are prerequisites for being able to even read a large amount of music. Please read Richard’s email above: You can’t sight read if you’re keeping your eyes glued on the keyboard. You can’t sight read until you are very familiar with the staves. You do need to understand basic key signatures and be able to play them.


I was addressing my post mainly to to those who are past beginner standard and striving to improve their sight-reading skills, not beginners. Unfortunately, I've seen some students who have the technical facility to play something like Rondo alla turca who can't even sight-read something like K1 easily.

It's a given that you need to be able to recognize notes on the staves and relate them to their keys on the keyboard. And you need to know key signatures and basic theory - like I said in my previous post:

In other words, pattern recognition is the key to fluent sight-reading (assuming that you can already read single isolated notes and know basic theory).....

Without those, nothing can happen. You can't sight-read if you cannot read. BTW, that doesn't mean glueing one's eyes to the score. All experienced sight-readers know when to look down, and when to keep their eyes on the score. And I don't know of any who deploy tricks like covering up their keyboard when practicing sight-reading - because they 'practice' by doing it........

Incidentally, what I said earlier applies not just to sight-reading music - it applies to reading in general. And even reading in a foreign language. Like my music sight-reading, my ability to read English (my fourth language which I started learning at nine) improved by leaps & bounds when I got access to a library and was able to borrow almost the complete oeuvre of Enid Blyton and Capt.W.E. Johns - I read several books a week, dictionary in hand. (Very haltingly at first, but I improved rapidly when I began recognizing complete words instantly, then even complete phrases - just like in music. After a few months, I could read a complete book within a few hours.)

The same way that I ploughed through Agay's Easy Classics to Moderns by myself, as early as Grade 1.


"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."
Re: Sight reading book [Re: Qazsedcft] #2741742
06/03/18 09:02 AM
06/03/18 09:02 AM
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Posts: 743
Tyrone Slothrop Offline
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Originally Posted by Qazsedcft
Originally Posted by zrtf90
Just doing it didn't cut it for me. This book did.

Alright, I grant you that everyone is different and some things may work for some and not for others. I'm not denying that the tips offered aren't useful but they are not a step-by-step graded process to guide you from beginner to advanced reading. These tips are more like guidance for how to approach sight reading, what to look out for, what skills should be practiced, etc.

I have had epiphany moments too where some trick suddenly resulted in a jump in ability. However, after the quick initial jump I did not experience a further increase but rather a plateau. I feel that such tricks can be useful if given at the appropriate moment when you have reached a level where they make sense but by themselves are not the thing that will make you a great reader or pianist. In order to make progress you still need a lot of practice reading different types of music and consolitating all the little skills and that simply takes years of daily practice (with sleep in between as you are fond to point out wink ).

I think that you are overestimating beginners like me. For example, even in the ABRSM app, it teaches one to look for things like key signature, and then rhythm. An absolute beginner has no idea about this. I didn't particularly pay attention to this until the ABRSM sight reading app. Now these all may be second nature to you at your level, and you were looking for an extra boost to a higher level of sight reading -- well I can't speak about whether these books do that. But definitely they appear to be great for the beginner level where we even need a few sign posts to identify and follow!


across the stone, deathless piano performances
Re: Sight reading book [Re: NuggetSC] #2741745
06/03/18 09:29 AM
06/03/18 09:29 AM
Joined: Jul 2013
Posts: 529
India
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noobpianist90 Offline
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India
I found Richman's book very helpful.

I think that maybe those who say "read a lot of music and you'll get better" are naturally better suited to sight reading. I am most definitely not. I needed a system or a method to get better at it. Richman's system helped me a lot. I'm still nowhere near as good as I'd like to be, but at least now I know I'm getting there. Previously, I used to feel that I was just wasting my time.

On another note, I've found that ear training and relative pitch go a long way to improving sight reading. I always make it a point to try and imagine how the music is going to sound before I play it. Well, at least for the main melody line, or the motif. It really helps a lot.

Re: Sight reading book [Re: bennevis] #2741787
06/03/18 01:59 PM
06/03/18 01:59 PM
Joined: May 2013
Posts: 1,539
Florida
cmb13 Offline
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Florida
Originally Posted by bennevis

I was addressing my post mainly to to those who are past beginner standard and striving to improve their sight-reading skills, not beginners. Unfortunately, I've seen some students who have the technical facility to play something like Rondo alla turca who can't even sight-read something like K1 easily.

It's a given that you need to be able to recognize notes on the staves and relate them to their keys on the keyboard. And you need to know key signatures and basic theory - like I said in my previous post:

In other words, pattern recognition is the key to fluent sight-reading (assuming that you can already read single isolated notes and know basic theory).....

Without those, nothing can happen. You can't sight-read if you cannot read. BTW, that doesn't mean glueing one's eyes to the score. All experienced sight-readers know when to look down, and when to keep their eyes on the score. And I don't know of any who deploy tricks like covering up their keyboard when practicing sight-reading - because they 'practice' by doing it........

Incidentally, what I said earlier applies not just to sight-reading music - it applies to reading in general. And even reading in a foreign language. Like my music sight-reading, my ability to read English (my fourth language which I started learning at nine) improved by leaps & bounds when I got access to a library and was able to borrow almost the complete oeuvre of Enid Blyton and Capt.W.E. Johns - I read several books a week, dictionary in hand. (Very haltingly at first, but I improved rapidly when I began recognizing complete words instantly, then even complete phrases - just like in music. After a few months, I could read a complete book within a few hours.)

The same way that I ploughed through Agay's Easy Classics to Moderns by myself, as early as Grade 1.


I think you have that rare combination of both well above average intelligence and extreme motivation. Not everybody has the time or inclination to tend to this with such dedication. That's probably why there is a search for a shortcut, but as I said above, there is no such thing as a free lunch my friends!

So what were the first three languages? Are there more beyond the forth?


Boston 118 PE

Working On
Chopin Nocturne 20, Posthumous, in C-Sharp Minor
Pachelbel Canon in D
Re: Sight reading book [Re: cmb13] #2741796
06/03/18 02:36 PM
06/03/18 02:36 PM
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Originally Posted by cmb13

I think you have that rare combination of both well above average intelligence and extreme motivation. Not everybody has the time or inclination to tend to this with such dedication. That's probably why there is a search for a shortcut, but as I said above, there is no such thing as a free lunch my friends!

So what were the first three languages? Are there more beyond the forth?

Let's just say that my first three languages weren't based on the Western alphabet, meaning that I learnt a, b, c etc from scratch at nine.

As for motivation, as for almost everyone, what I enjoy very much motivates me. English did for me as a kid, because I soon discovered the huge amount of literature (if you can glorify children's fiction with such a term wink ) available in English, compared to any other language. I tried to learn French and German for my travels as a young adult, but didn't get very far, despite attending a weekly evening French class for two years. That was because the only country I visited that used French was France, and my basic 'traveller's French' was enough for that. And Germans and Austrians and Swiss mostly spoke English quite well, so the only German I know now are what composers like Beethoven, Schumann, Strauss etc use, plus a little from Lieder that I love.

Classical piano music motivated me a lot, and still does - there's no limit to the amount of great piano music that one can learn, if you have sufficient technical & musical skills. The ability to sight-read fluently greatly enhances the enjoyment of the learning process, and as we know, success breeds success: the more music you read, the better you get at it, and the more enjoyment you get out of it when you can just pick up a new score and read it. Even more enjoyable when you play with like-minded friends, and you can laugh at each other's mistakes as well as your own when sight-reading a new piece together. What does it matter if you're both playing wrong notes (and different kinds of wrong notes) when you're having so much fun? grin

Whereas guitar has very little classical literature, so though I've owned a guitar since I was a teenager (unlike a piano), I never practiced at it, and never had a teacher. After all, I could easily accompany myself & friends singing Bob Dylan and John Denver songs around the campfire with no guitar reading skills, playing the right chords (only in a few easy keys) entirely by ear, so there was not much motivation for me to work at mastering classical guitar.


"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."
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