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Re: Sight Reading: How to recover after a mistake? [Re: Tech-key] #2820125
02/25/19 10:47 PM
02/25/19 10:47 PM
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Originally Posted by Bennevis
If you stop to correct mistakes, you're reading and learning the piece, not sight-reading. When I'm learning a new piece, that's what I do.

Yes, I want to learn to play as accurately as I can, the first time I see the music. My “reading” is good, but my “sight-reading” (as defined in most places and you) sucks. I am doing a lot of level appropriate reading anyways, as being a beginner, I get to work on at least 2 new pieces every week.

Originally Posted by Bennevis
"Just a pulse.....like a rusty squeeze-box....and then, high above it, a single note....." - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pxgZcMGmkkI

Now that you mention “pulse”, please do answer any questions I put up next on it wink. I’ve been trying to get a sense of it on my own for some time. Hopefully, it would just work out on its own, and I wouldn't have to post a question here.

Originally Posted by Bennevis
So....the audience chose a few traditional carols which I was able to sight-read from my own book (occasionally rearranging or leaving out a few notes which I couldn't manage because I was playing organ/choral music on the piano), plus a few Christmas songs which I knew well (like Mary's Boy Child) and could even accompany by ear, though I used the fake book - and several songs I never knew existed, for which I had to ask them to sing the first line or two a cappella so that I had some idea of what speed the songs went (or more likely, how fast they wanted to sing them). And they were all in the books with the over-written piano accompaniment. I couldn't very well ask them to sing the songs at half-speed just to make things easier for me.

So.....I left out some unnecessary notes (more accurately, notes that I deemed unnecessary ), and improvised some of my own 'filler notes' to fill in the harmonies in their place and to keep the rhythmic profile strong, so that the singers could follow the beat easily. A good time was had by all, including me .

Nice story smile. This is exactly the kind of thing I want to pull off eventually. My playing is improving at a very slow speed. By the time I can play anything I can be proud of, I’d get a lot of sight-reading practice, if I can be consistently disciplined.

I’d admit though, that I’m mostly being pedantic about it because it’s a staple in all music exams. Now don’t judge me! I’m not working because of exams, and may never take one at all. But I feel if it was decided by so many smart people, it must be somewhat necessary for all-round musical development.

Sight reading feels very much like a game to me; fun and exciting. And I tend to think of it as a "treat" after a good practice day laugh. Compared to a lot of my other piano practicing, which is slow and can get like, “don’t make a mistake, or the brain will remember”. Which is also fun, but not very exciting.

Originally Posted by Bennevis
So.....I left out some unnecessary notes (more accurately, notes that I deemed unnecessary ), and improvised some of my own 'filler notes' to fill in the harmonies in their place and to keep the rhythmic profile strong, so that the singers could follow the beat easily.

This is interesting, what you say here. But my sight-reading exercises are so awfully short, this kind of stunt probably will not work out. You had mentioned easy pop arrangements. Would you recommend these for beginners like me (6 months)? I was thinking beginner method book stuff would be more appropriate for my level..


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Re: Sight Reading: How to recover after a mistake? [Re: Tech-key] #2820142
02/25/19 11:30 PM
02/25/19 11:30 PM
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pianoloverus, you had made me see some light about technique in the “tension” thread, so I’m paying a lot of attention to what you are saying. But I still have a question and I disagree to one of your points smile

Originally Posted by pianoloverus
If one takes exams that include sight reading, the only way they are given is one is expected to keep going. If one wants to play with other instrumentalists or singers in situations where one cannot prepare ahead of time one has to keep going. 

OTOH a lot of people do none or almost none of those things so that practicing not stopping is not necessary and has no advantages IMO.
To get the part where I disagree out of the way first.. Just because someone is not planning on exams currently, or playing with other instrumentalists/singers, one shouldn’t stop practicing sight-reading. All of this is such a gradual and difficult process, the earlier one starts the better. We (the students) don’t really know, what all we’d like to do after we acquire some considerable skills.

Originally Posted by pianoloverus
I think for most pianists how quickly one can learn the notes, rhythms, etc. in a piece is a much more important skill then how well one can play it the first time through.
For most of us, this is what occupies the biggest chunk of piano related thinking. And I agree, it’s a much more important skill to have.


Now the question.. It’s more of a curiosity really. Do you (or anyone else) happen to know someone, preferably an adult beginner, who got better at sight-reading without practicing it deliberately? I mean, just by the experience of frequently reading and learning a lot of new music. Someone who didn't get much chance to play with others.

I’d learnt to read my mother-tongue on my own after a brief introduction to its alphabets. I’m still slow at first, when I pick a book in that language. But after a few pages, the pace gradually keeps increasing. I know from experience, this approach works just fine for amateurs. But I don’t know if this relates to music as well. It would be totally great, if it did though smile


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Re: Sight Reading: How to recover after a mistake? [Re: Tech-key] #2820145
02/25/19 11:48 PM
02/25/19 11:48 PM
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I have many visualization problems so often when sight reading I just lose track completely and forget where I was. My advice would be to practice jumping ahead rather than go back and try to get something right. Just keep the rhythm and if you have to skip a few measures so be it. This applies to playing alone of course. If you play with others you may end up creating an interesting modern composition smile

Re: Sight Reading: How to recover after a mistake? [Re: Tech-key] #2820146
02/25/19 11:54 PM
02/25/19 11:54 PM
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Originally Posted by JohnSprung
Not breaking tempo or losing your place is critical if you're going to play with others. If not, what I sometimes do with a mistake is notice if it was too low or too high. Then just play up or down the scale -- or the chromatic scale if there may be accidentals around -- until you hear the right note. Once in a while you can sell that as deliberate ornamentation, but mostly it does sound like a mistake. But it's better than stopping.

JohnSprung, that would be such a neat skill to have. You lost me at “until you hear the right note” though. I can’t do that at all. Hopefully, with time and experience.. But I feel your main idea was to improvise a little till we can recalibrate. That’s pretty cool smile

Originally Posted by 90125
If you can’t find a human helper the technological helpers are already available. Get a cheap arranger keyboard (like Casio CDP-S or Yamaha DGX) that will auto-generate an accompaniment while you are playing. You use your left hand mostly to direct the accompanying octet (8-piece band), it is quite forgiving of bad play. E.g. you could play exactly one chord (with simplified fingering, all the way down to just one finger) per up to 4 measures. And most importantly it stays on in time while you can focus your recovery on the right hand melody. 

90125, this sounds fab. I’ll try this “auto-accompaniment” thing with the pop arrangements I have. I think I can manage to bring in the LH this way, if I analyse the score really carefully in the beginning. Thanks!

Originally Posted by outo
My advice would be to practice jumping ahead rather than go back and try to get something right. Just keep the rhythm and if you have to skip a few measures so be it. 
Thanks! I will try all of this smile

Originally Posted by outo
This applies to playing alone of course. If you play with others you may end up creating an interesting modern composition 
Haha.. This reminded me of a quote I’d read- “The piano ain’t got no wrong notes.”

Last edited by Tech-key; 02/26/19 12:00 AM.

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Re: Sight Reading: How to recover after a mistake? [Re: Tech-key] #2820161
02/26/19 01:03 AM
02/26/19 01:03 AM
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Originally Posted by Tech-key
Now the question.. It’s more of a curiosity really. Do you (or anyone else) happen to know someone, preferably an adult beginner, who got better at sight-reading without practicing it deliberately? I mean, just by the experience of frequently reading and learning a lot of new music. Someone who didn't get much chance to play with others.

Me! But the key word here is better. Because for the longest time, I couldn't do it at all. And suddenly I found I can.
Maybe it is because when you sight-read, the pieces have to be at a level that are lower than the pieces that you practise, and finally I have reached a level at which there are many of those pieces.
The other reason is that I was really bad at note reading, and spent a lot of time practising this by playing a melodyline with one hand while saying/singing the names of the notes. (This is easier in my own language, because we say gis and ges instead of g-sharp and g-flat).

I haven't read all answers you already got, so maybe someone else has said this. As a beginner, it cannot be your goal to get a piece of music and play with other musicians right away. That is way too difficult.
When I sight-read, unless the music is so easy that I can play it immediately, I take it in sections. I take a good look at the notes, right hand, left hand, where does it get tricky? I play the section, pause, and study the next section. Sometimes I decide the piece is too difficult for me to sight-read. Maybe you should sight-read hands separately to start with?

I can also add that I am not very much bothered about "should"s. Yesterday I tried to sight-read a piece that had a rhtyhm that I had not encountered before. I thought that was interesting, so instead I started to practise the rhythm. I don't mind that it is not sight-reading any more.


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Re: Sight Reading: How to recover after a mistake? [Re: Tech-key] #2820169
02/26/19 01:53 AM
02/26/19 01:53 AM
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Originally Posted by Animisha
Originally Posted by Tech-key
Now the question.. It’s more of a curiosity really. Do you (or anyone else) happen to know someone, preferably an adult beginner, who got better at sight-reading without practicing it deliberately? I mean, just by the experience of frequently reading and learning a lot of new music. Someone who didn't get much chance to play with others.

Me! But the key word here is better. Because for the longest time, I couldn't do it at all. And suddenly I found I can.
Maybe it is because when you sight-read, the pieces have to be at a level that are lower than the pieces that you practise, and finally I have reached a level at which there are many of those pieces.
Animisha, you are already my ray of good hope with technique. And now sight reading too?!

Originally Posted by Animisha
The other reason is that I was really bad at note reading, and spent a lot of time practising this by playing a melodyline with one hand while saying/singing the names of the notes. (This is easier in my own language, because we say gis and ges instead of g-sharp and g-flat).
After I started working on note recognition separately, my reading has improved a little. Still need to work a lot on sight-reading though. As you said, it’s gonna take time. Got so many ideas from all of you on this.. it should keep me busy for a long long time laugh

It’s nice your language has this extra element with sharps and flats. Indian classical music’s pitches are named in a similar way to the Moveable-Do solfege. I find it very entertaining to work out the Indian solfege(which is called sargam), when I’m learning an Indian song from an YouTube tutorial.

Originally Posted by Animisha
Yesterday I tried to sight-read a piece that had a rhtyhm that I had not encountered before. I thought that was interesting, so instead I started to practise the rhythm. I don't mind that it is not sight-reading any more.
I’m doing some of the early drills in Howard Richman’s Super Sight Reading Secrets. It has similar ideas to what you said here. I guess, all these things combined should work in the long run. We’ll see smile


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Re: Sight Reading: How to recover after a mistake? [Re: Tech-key] #2820174
02/26/19 02:08 AM
02/26/19 02:08 AM
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Originally Posted by Tech-key
I get completely thrown off after a sight reading mistake. It’s suggested everywhere to keep going, despite the mistakes. But I’m not able to figure out how to do it properly. Because when I do attempt to keep going on, the notes I play are seldom correct. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated

I'm following a strong hunch regarding what might be going wrong. (I also read the later post you described).

Ok, sight reading vs. reading, first of all. Sight reading - which you're trying to do - is a specialized skill used, for example, by accompanists. I believe strongly that the first thing we need to acquire are reading skills, and everything that goes into reading skills. There is no need for playing through new music at tempo, and even if you do want to get that ability, reading skills come first.

So: reading skills. When you see a note on the page, you want to be able to zip straight to that piano key instantly. For example, D4, which lies right below the bottom line of the treble clef, is the white key between two blacks directly in front of you. You want to have that for any note. This is a first goal. If you had that basic skill, you would not get lost as you describe. I suggest that you chase these skills first. Find out where your "reading" (matching notation to piano keys) is actually at, how you're going to get what you're missing. It's not the right time for "sight reading".

Btw, I had to work this out when I first joined PW a decade ago, when my reading skills were next to nil. I was confused about the difference between reading and sight reading, and had to work that out. At this point my sight reading skills are adequate for playing through new music, so that I don't have to listen to a recording to find out what it's about, but it rests on reading skills like I outlined. smile

Re: Sight Reading: How to recover after a mistake? [Re: keystring] #2820187
02/26/19 03:13 AM
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Originally Posted by keystring

I'm following a strong hunch regarding what might be going wrong. (I also read the later post you described).

Ok, sight reading vs. reading, first of all. Sight reading - which you're trying to do - is a specialized skill used, for example, by accompanists. I believe strongly that the first thing we need to acquire are reading skills, and everything that goes into reading skills. There is no need for playing through new music at tempo, and even if you do want to get that ability, reading skills come first.

So: reading skills. When you see a note on the page, you want to be able to zip straight to that piano key instantly. For example, D4, which lies right below the bottom line of the treble clef, is the white key between two blacks directly in front of you. You want to have that for any note. This is a first goal. If you had that basic skill, you would not get lost as you describe. I suggest that you chase these skills first. Find out where your "reading" (matching notation to piano keys) is actually at, how you're going to get what you're missing. It's not the right time for "sight reading".

Btw, I had to work this out when I first joined PW a decade ago, when my reading skills were next to nil. I was confused about the difference between reading and sight reading, and had to work that out. At this point my sight reading skills are adequate for playing through new music, so that I don't have to listen to a recording to find out what it's about, but it rests on reading skills like I outlined. smile

Yes, your hunch is correct blush

I spend some time, off and on, with note recognition apps away from the keyboard. At other times, I sit with a score and focus on random notes in quick succession, and then say the note's name as quickly as I can. So I've got the "eye to mind connection" a little sorted out. But the "finger connection" is missing smile

Thank you for your suggestion! It's good to know, that when you worked on your reading skills, your sight reading improved eventually. I guess, Animisha was saying something similar too. I never understand a concept the first time I read it laugh. Will try to work on these.

BTW, do we need to bother about which finger to use, while practicing something like what you mentioned in your example?


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Re: Sight Reading: How to recover after a mistake? [Re: Tech-key] #2820206
02/26/19 04:47 AM
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Originally Posted by Tech-key
I guess, Animisha was saying something similar too.

I was! For me, note recognition AFK did not generalize to the keyboard. Playing and saying/singing the names of the notes worked much better for me.

Originally Posted by Tech-key
BTW, do we need to bother about which finger to use, while practicing something like what you mentioned in your example?

No. smile I would use the middle finger for single notes. But for a melody line, just whatever feels comfortable.

Last edited by Animisha; 02/26/19 04:48 AM.

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Re: Sight Reading: How to recover after a mistake? [Re: Animisha] #2820219
02/26/19 06:19 AM
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Originally Posted by Animisha
Originally Posted by Tech-key
BTW, do we need to bother about which finger to use, while practicing something like what you mentioned in your example?

No. smile I would use the middle finger for single notes. But for a melody line, just whatever feels comfortable.

Thanks thumb


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Re: Sight Reading: How to recover after a mistake? [Re: Tech-key] #2820239
02/26/19 07:24 AM
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Originally Posted by Tech-key
. Do you (or anyone else) happen to know someone, preferably an adult beginner, who got better at sight-reading without practicing it deliberately? I mean, just by the experience of frequently reading and learning a lot of new music. Someone who didn't get much chance to play with others.
What you described is how most people who get better at sight reading(however one defines it) achieve that. Most good sight readers IMO never "practiced" sight reading. They just played through a lot of music for pleasure. I think I've said that on every sight reading thread on PW. That's one reason I think people should try to sight read the highest quality music or at least music that appeals a lot to them.

Re: Sight Reading: How to recover after a mistake? [Re: pianoloverus] #2820241
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Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Originally Posted by Tech-key
. Do you (or anyone else) happen to know someone, preferably an adult beginner, who got better at sight-reading without practicing it deliberately? I mean, just by the experience of frequently reading and learning a lot of new music. Someone who didn't get much chance to play with others.
What you described is how most people who get better at sight reading(however one defines it) achieve that. Most good sight readers IMO never "practiced" sight reading. They just played through a lot of music for pleasure. I think I've said that on every sight reading thread on PW. That's one reason I think people should try to sight read the highest quality music or at least music that appeals a lot to them.

How nice! Just the thing I wanted to hear.. Life seems sorted now smile


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Re: Sight Reading: How to recover after a mistake? [Re: pianoloverus] #2820245
02/26/19 07:42 AM
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Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Originally Posted by Tech-key
. Do you (or anyone else) happen to know someone, preferably an adult beginner, who got better at sight-reading without practicing it deliberately? I mean, just by the experience of frequently reading and learning a lot of new music. Someone who didn't get much chance to play with others.
What you described is how most people who get better at sight reading(however one defines it) achieve that. Most good sight readers IMO never "practiced" sight reading. They just played through a lot of music for pleasure. I think I've said that on every sight reading thread on PW. That's one reason I think people should try to sight read the highest quality music or at least music that appeals a lot to them.



This insight and advice makes perfect sense! Thanks pianoloverus!


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Re: Sight Reading: How to recover after a mistake? [Re: Tech-key] #2820246
02/26/19 07:48 AM
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I'm really not good at sight reading with both hands, but I found that if I just focus on the left hand, or the right hand only, and keep they rhythm going, it's not too difficult. I was amazed recently--when trying to play with an oboe and a violin--how easy it seemed for them to just play, and how impossible it seemed for me! We were all just being exposed to the music for the first time. I had to stop. It was pretty uncomfortable. Finally I just picked up the left hand and was able to kind of go along with them. The most important thing for me when I've played with others is to keep my eyes glued to the page and never look down! That way I can keep the rhythm going and know where to pick back up even if I have skipped a bunch of notes in the meantime...just keep the rhythm going and know where you are (or would be if you were actually playing the notes) on the page of music, and then just pick back up from there. It's really hard for me, but a somewhat pleasant challenge.


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Re: Sight Reading: How to recover after a mistake? [Re: Tech-key] #2820247
02/26/19 07:50 AM
02/26/19 07:50 AM
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Originally Posted by Tech-key
It’s because I get disoriented about which finger pressed what smile. Basically, I can't do anything else but start over. Not from the beginning, but from the next note after the mistake. And I have to look down sometimes, while this reboot, to figure everything out. Is that ok?

If you've been playing for just 6 months, I think it's a very bad idea to play not looking at the keyboard.

At this point you need to learn to bring your whole hand closer to every note that you're going to play (I see in English it's sometimes called 'centering'). You won't learn to do it correctly if you play without looking at the keyboard and mostly grope for keys.



Edit: Answering your original question, a skill to ignore errors seamlessly will come later, when you feel fully comfortable with the keyboard. I think you're asking too much of yourself at this stage.

Last edited by Iaroslav Vasiliev; 02/26/19 07:57 AM.
Re: Sight Reading: How to recover after a mistake? [Re: Tech-key] #2820259
02/26/19 08:41 AM
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Here's how I became a pretty good non-classical site reader. You'll see why the "non-classical" is important.

After taking classical lessons all the way through college, I stopped lessons, but still wanted to play piano. I wanted to play pop (Elton John, Paul Simon, etc) and Great American Songbook (Gershwin, Kern, etc.). I bought a lot of sheet music, but was too lazy to practice. So I just plowed through pieces that weren't too hard. When playing just for fun, I never stopped because it doesn't feel good if you don't keep the pulse. Well, after a few years of this, I got pretty good.

The reason I noted that this was non-classical is because one key skill I learned was to ignore notes that were hard to play but unnecessary for getting the right feel, and also to add notes that would make a thin arrangement better (i.e., playing octaves instead of a single note bass). This all just happened organically as I was having fun!

Re: Sight Reading: How to recover after a mistake? [Re: jjo] #2820265
02/26/19 09:12 AM
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Originally Posted by jjo
Here's how I became a pretty good non-classical site reader. You'll see why the "non-classical" is important.

After taking classical lessons all the way through college, I stopped lessons, but still wanted to play piano. I wanted to play pop (Elton John, Paul Simon, etc) and Great American Songbook (Gershwin, Kern, etc.). I bought a lot of sheet music, but was too lazy to practice. So I just plowed through pieces that weren't too hard. When playing just for fun, I never stopped because it doesn't feel good if you don't keep the pulse. Well, after a few years of this, I got pretty good.

The reason I noted that this was non-classical is because one key skill I learned was to ignore notes that were hard to play but unnecessary for getting the right feel, and also to add notes that would make a thin arrangement better (i.e., playing octaves instead of a single note bass). This all just happened organically as I was having fun!

Nice explanation. That's exactly how I started with very little 'grounding' - not the Great American Songbook but other song-books / sheet music of folk, pop and I guess easy listening, or standards I suppose they'd be called. I used (well use) pretty-much the same approach for 'classical' although it's usually necessary to refrain from 'adding to the arrangement' (although at times hard to resist - the left hand sometimes has a life of its own). That's the second mention of the 'Great American Songbook' I've come across - had a quick look at Amazon UK and they have the Hal Leonard version. It has lots of songs I haven't got (as well as lots I have got, unfortunately) but looks quite tempting. I get the impression that there are different versions of the book by different publishers - is there a consensus as to which is the 'best?'
Sorry about the diversion....


regards
Pete
Re: Sight Reading: How to recover after a mistake? [Re: Tech-key] #2820331
02/26/19 12:07 PM
02/26/19 12:07 PM
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Originally Posted by Tech-key

Sight reading feels very much like a game to me; fun and exciting. And I tend to think of it as a "treat" after a good practice day laugh. Compared to a lot of my other piano practicing, which is slow and can get like, “don’t make a mistake, or the brain will remember”. Which is also fun, but not very exciting.

That's right.

The key to sight-reading stardom (OK, mastery.....there're too many stars in the universe already) is to regard it as fun. Just like one might read a trashy novel for fun, then discard it in the hotel 'library' for the next victim, er, thespian to pick up. Sight-read anything and everything that come your way, no matter how easy - or difficult.

When I was a student in my new high school, where there was a music library, I'd pick up volumes of everything from piano sonatas to oratorios, and then try to 'get acquainted' with the music - not just piano/keyboard music but also vocal, orchestral, chamber. I tried my hand at transcribing some of the latter onto two staves so I could play them, if they weren't already reduced from the full scores. That helped me to see what the important notes were, which in turn helped me when I had to prune over-elaborate piano arrangements 'on the fly' when sight-reading non-classical scores.

But of course, it took me a few years to get to that stage, and in my early years, the only music scores I had access to were what my teacher gave me, and what my cousins and neighbours' kids used in their piano lessons. These days, you can get almost anything on IMSLP and elsewhere.

Quote
You had mentioned easy pop arrangements. Would you recommend these for beginners like me (6 months)? I was thinking beginner method book stuff would be more appropriate for my level..


The problem with easy pop arrangements is that they're invariably single-note melodies in RH and chords in LH, which only improves your reading skills on that particular kind of writing. You'd be better off using easy classical pieces, such as you'd find in many volumes of such collections, like Denes Agay's Easy Classics to Moderns - which in fact was my first piano book (given to me by my teacher after three months of lessons) after beginner primers. Such compilation books have many different composers represented, and therefore you get acquainted with a wide range of piano styles rather than what you'd get in pop arrangements. And they are also original pieces - personally, I wouldn't touch any simplified arrangements of classical piano pieces with a barge pole. (All pop on piano are arrangements of course). Far better to play an original but easy piano piece than an easy arrangement of Für Elise - and some of the pieces you sight-read through might appeal to you enough that you want to learn them properly - in other words, sight-reading for fun is also a process of discovery...... thumb


"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: How to recover after a mistake? [Re: Animisha] #2820344
02/26/19 12:36 PM
02/26/19 12:36 PM
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Tyrone Slothrop Online content
Tyrone Slothrop  Online Content

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Originally Posted by Animisha
Originally Posted by Tech-key
I guess, Animisha was saying something similar too.

I was! For me, note recognition AFK did not generalize to the keyboard. Playing and saying/singing the names of the notes worked much better for me.

On the request of another forum member, I checked with my wife on how she was taught sight-reading in her Moscow music school. She said that she isn't sure exactly what she did that contributed to sight-reading, but she thinks it was the intensive solfège training they gave her at the music school. At the beginning, in year 1 (music school is 7 years in Russia which took you to the point when you can apply for a conservatory if you want), the solfège portion is 4 hours per week of solfège and sight-singing alone. (BTW, this was 4 of about 28 hours as the total expectation for daily student practice was about 4 hours a day.) Then when the solfège skill is firmly engrained in the student, this amount of weekly solfège training is significantly reduced after year 1. However, on note errors, the teacher would expect the student to sight-sing the correct notes and would in fact sight-sing to you any corrections when you play an incorrect note, whether natural, sharp, or flat.

It's interesting that until Animisha's mention of singing the notes, I haven't read in this thread anything about sight-singing or solfège yet, or it's contributions sight-reading skills, as it seems to be quite engrained in the Russian school, based on what my wife tells.


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Re: Sight Reading: How to recover after a mistake? [Re: bennevis] #2820356
02/26/19 01:22 PM
02/26/19 01:22 PM
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Originally Posted by bennevis
Far better to play an original but easy piano piece than an easy arrangement of Für Elise - and some of the pieces you sight-read through might appeal to you enough that you want to learn them properly - in other words, sight-reading for fun is also a process of discovery......

Yeah, that is the key distinction between "playing piano" and "making music": the attitude towards simplified arrangements.

Somebody interested in "playing piano" will only consider the original score as worth playing. If the original score is too complex technically then simply don't play it, play something simpler.

Somebody interested in "making music" will appreciate simplified arrangements of the more complex pieces. Especially when those arrangements are available at the different levels of the technical difficulty. The player could try to match his/her technical skills to the emotions being expressed, even if the only emotion is "how do I fall back into the step/rhythm with minimum number of people noticing that I tripped?" The multi-level arrangements also allow people to learn by example the process of music writing: how the musical sketch/idea could grow step-by-step into a finished piece. Except that we only know for sure the final piece, all the intermediate steps are just guesses made not by the original composer but by the arranger. So technically the writing was done in reverse: from the final form all the way down to the sketch.

I think the recent success of "Playground Sessions" is because they adopted the "making music" approach. Many of the technically demanding pieces in their catalog are available at three difficulty levels: rookie, intermediate & advanced. And it doesn't matter what is the genre of the piece.

Yamaha Music Soft did something similar, but never maintained the consistency. They made their arrangements available and then let them disappear kind of randomly, as their licensing rights evolved.

But I'm sure the whole idea is much older than the MIDI-based piano teaching. I just didn't keep any of the original sheet music from my school days.

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