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Sight Reading Basics #2864725
07/01/19 11:38 AM
07/01/19 11:38 AM
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MistyB Offline OP
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I would like to start practicing sight reading, this may sound dumb but I'm not entirely sure how sight reading works and I find it a little confusing. Is working through my current lesson course books and learning to play the new short pieces a similar practice? I tend to go RH first then LH, then both together which I don't think is sight reading? Would choosing a specific sight reading book online be useful? As far as I am aware it involves reading a new piece and playing it straight off without actually practicing it little by little? So how does one practice it? To be honest, unless it is a very simple melody, I couldn't really play anything straight off. Thanks for any input.

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Re: Sight Reading Basics [Re: MistyB] #2864732
07/01/19 11:52 AM
07/01/19 11:52 AM
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Originally Posted by MistyB

As far as I am aware it involves reading a new piece and playing it straight off without actually practicing it little by little? So how does one practice it? To be honest, unless it is a very simple melody, I couldn't really play anything straight off. Thanks for any input.


Therefore beginner sight-reading books start with melodies, which are very simple wink
Don`t be afraid of getting overhelmed. The sight-reading "pieces" (or exercises) are not as complex as the lesson pieces of the same (difficulty) level.

Just try it. There are several books that explain in detail how they should be used.



Last edited by Pinkiepie; 07/01/19 11:52 AM.
Re: Sight Reading Basics [Re: MistyB] #2864734
07/01/19 11:58 AM
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Originally Posted by MistyB
To be honest, unless it is a very simple melody, I couldn't really play anything straight off. Thanks for any input.

Unless you already have decent reading skills, you can't really sight-read. Just like you can't read a word like Pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis unless you're already very familiar with the alphabet, and can easily read easier words like "incomprehensible" wink .

So, my advice is: get used to reading both staves simultaneously, and playing hands together - very slowly, as slowly as you need. Remember, you get good at what you practice - practicing reading and playing hands separately means you'll never develop the ability to read both staves together - the first pre-requisite for sight-reading.


"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 Basics [Re: MistyB] #2864740
07/01/19 12:09 PM
07/01/19 12:09 PM
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Reading skills come before sight reading, which is a specialized skill that, for example, accompanists need to have. Some of the principles of sight reading are directly contrary to what one needs for acquiring basic reading skills. For example, if you are playing at tempo and skip the notes you don't know, and allow yourself to play wrong notes - how will you ever acquire the ability to read the right notes. And then also, in what role do you see sight reading?

In reading skills, if you see a note head on the middle line of the treble clef (that line going through the notehead) then your hand should immediately want to press the white key between the two blacks somewhat to your right (D5). The name is secondary. It should be as automatic as putting your foot on the brakes when you see a red light. You should be able to go anywhere on a page at random, and do that. ............. Also, if a note is on a line, and another note is on the line right next to it, the reflex should be to skip piano keys --- D, F for example. That part is often called "intervallic reading". .... You also want to have a rhythmic grasp: the half note last twice as long as a quarter note. You want to be able to work with these things. This is what I mean by "reading skills".

When would you use sight reading? Well, as an accompanist. If I work on a new piece of music and want to hear and feel how it goes, I will slowly "read" through the music, by playing the notes, mosty HT. But for working on a piece of music, you're breaking it apart, working on small sections, maybe turning broken chords into block chords mentally - maybe simplifying by removing notes and adding them later. All these kinds of activities will in turn broaden your grasp of notation, and indirectly improve your sight reading - through the broader familiarity it gives.

My problem with a lot of "sight reading books" was that they were so predictable that I was anticipating, not reading --- but combined with acquiring skills, I found these books can be useful.

Re: Sight Reading Basics [Re: Pinkiepie] #2864748
07/01/19 12:28 PM
07/01/19 12:28 PM
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Thank you Pinkiepie... I'm going to relax with sight reading attempts and without choosing anything difficult, see how I can approach it.

Benevis... Thanks! Interesting re reading and playing both staves. I hear a lot of conflicting advice on this one, some tell me to play one hand at a time which to me seemed sensible, yet when I think about it in a different way, it seems to make more sense to slow it right down to silly speed at first, and learn/play the tune as it is actually written. What I find hard about this is trying to work out the notes, timing, rhythm etc for both hands at the same time, its like that old trick of rubbing tummy and head simultaneously! But I think I'm definitely going to try this from now on.

keystring... Food for thought. Thank you for explaining! I sort of understand the skill of "reading," as opposed to learning and playing without allowing your impulses to do their job. I tend to find myself staring at the notes somewhat blankly at times, other times I feel I am actually reading them, occasionally wrongly, but getting a flow via the familiar patterns. It is hard and all depends on the tune. I would really like to improve recognising the notes faster so that my fingers will go to the keys without me having to stop for a few seconds to 'recall' the knowledge.. oh yes that is D.. for instance, then hitting the key.

Re: Sight Reading Basics [Re: keystring] #2864758
07/01/19 12:44 PM
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Originally Posted by keystring


My problem with a lot of "sight reading books" was that they were so predictable that I was anticipating, not reading .
Maybe there is software that creates note text randomly?

Re: Sight Reading Basics [Re: Nahum] #2864763
07/01/19 01:13 PM
07/01/19 01:13 PM
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Originally Posted by Nahum
Originally Posted by keystring


My problem with a lot of "sight reading books" was that they were so predictable that I was anticipating, not reading .
Maybe there is software that creates note text randomly?

Yes, I use www.sightreadingfactory.com. I don't remember how much I paid, but it is relatively cheap and it definitely has helped my sight reading.


across the stone, deathless piano performances

"Discipline is more reliable than motivation." -by a contributor on Reddit r/piano
"Success is 10% inspiration, and 90% perspiration." -by some other wise person
"Pianoteq manages to keep it all together yet simultaneously also go in all directions; like a quantum particle entangled with an unknown and spooky parallel universe simply waiting to be discovered." -by Pete14
Re: Sight Reading Basics [Re: Tyrone Slothrop] #2864770
07/01/19 01:28 PM
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Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop

Yes, I use www.sightreadingfactory.com. I don't remember how much I paid, but it is relatively cheap and it definitely has helped my sight reading.
Thanks , Tyrone , I will try.

Re: Sight Reading Basics [Re: MistyB] #2864781
07/01/19 01:56 PM
07/01/19 01:56 PM
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I like the ABRSM sightreading app; I use it on my iPad: ABRSM SIght Reading Trainer. I tend to be lazy about looking at new music before I start playing. Using the app for a few minutes a day reinforces better habits: basic stuff such as: noticing what key I'm supposed to be playing in, tempo and dynamics, etc.


”Mister Upright,” Yamaha YUS5.
Re: Sight Reading Basics [Re: MistyB] #2864784
07/01/19 01:59 PM
07/01/19 01:59 PM
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Originally Posted by MistyB
Thank you Pinkiepie... I'm going to relax with sight reading attempts and without choosing anything difficult, see how I can approach it.


Absolutley.
The s.r.-exercises must definitely be lighter than the pieces you are practicing.

It is not only playing the right notes, but about playing with the correct rythm as well. Recognizing dynamics, playing with the correct touches...and so on.
That's why you start only with a few different notes at first. Otherwise there would be too much information to process.

btw: most beginner books start with one-handed playing first. This is very common. So you do not have to be able to play independently with both hands before you can start doing sight-reading exercises.



Last edited by Pinkiepie; 07/01/19 02:07 PM.
Re: Sight Reading Basics [Re: Nahum] #2864818
07/01/19 03:31 PM
07/01/19 03:31 PM
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Originally Posted by Nahum
Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop

Yes, I use www.sightreadingfactory.com. I don't remember how much I paid, but it is relatively cheap and it definitely has helped my sight reading.
Thanks , Tyrone , I will try.
I signed up for the site and immediately sent the idea of ​​marking colored dots above and below the note text - to direct the view; to gradually move from looking at the individual notes to the simultaneous reading of entire bars or more. In printed notes I indicated this with a pencil.

Last edited by Nahum; 07/01/19 03:33 PM.
Re: Sight Reading Basics [Re: Pinkiepie] #2864830
07/01/19 04:01 PM
07/01/19 04:01 PM
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MistyB Offline OP
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Originally Posted by Pinkiepie
Originally Posted by MistyB
Thank you Pinkiepie... I'm going to relax with sight reading attempts and without choosing anything difficult, see how I can approach it.


Absolutley.
The s.r.-exercises must definitely be lighter than the pieces you are practicing.

It is not only playing the right notes, but about playing with the correct rythm as well. Recognizing dynamics, playing with the correct touches...and so on.
That's why you start only with a few different notes at first. Otherwise there would be too much information to process.

btw: most beginner books start with one-handed playing first. This is very common. So you do not have to be able to play independently with both hands before you can start doing sight-reading exercises.



Thank you. I will start gently. I do not understand why my teacher has not encouraged this outside of my learning course. Maybe not all teachers recommend it. I do want to give it a try. Thank you.

Re: Sight Reading Basics [Re: Nahum] #2864832
07/01/19 04:04 PM
07/01/19 04:04 PM
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Tyrone Slothrop Online content
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Originally Posted by Nahum
Originally Posted by Nahum
Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop

Yes, I use www.sightreadingfactory.com. I don't remember how much I paid, but it is relatively cheap and it definitely has helped my sight reading.
Thanks , Tyrone , I will try.
I signed up for the site and immediately sent the idea of ​​marking colored dots above and below the note text - to direct the view; to gradually move from looking at the individual notes to the simultaneous reading of entire bars or more. In printed notes I indicated this with a pencil.

That's a great idea. I hope the developer will do it. He does have a feature with disappearing measures, but that is already too late when a measure disappears!


across the stone, deathless piano performances

"Discipline is more reliable than motivation." -by a contributor on Reddit r/piano
"Success is 10% inspiration, and 90% perspiration." -by some other wise person
"Pianoteq manages to keep it all together yet simultaneously also go in all directions; like a quantum particle entangled with an unknown and spooky parallel universe simply waiting to be discovered." -by Pete14
Re: Sight Reading Basics [Re: MistyB] #2864888
07/01/19 06:52 PM
07/01/19 06:52 PM
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Originally Posted by MistyB
I do not understand why my teacher has not encouraged this outside of my learning course. Maybe not all teachers recommend it. I do want to give it a try. Thank you.

Maybe for the same reasons that I opted out of the idea as a student once I understood more? I am now quite good at sight reading. But I can also find that D - and the right D - that is on some random spot on the page - and made sure I could.

Re: Sight Reading Basics [Re: MistyB] #2865593
07/03/19 01:33 PM
07/03/19 01:33 PM
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Some beginner's books contain easy 1 note at a time pieces. The melody is split between the L & R so some of the time you play with the L hand and some of the time with the R without overlapping. There are easy pieces with a lot of repetitions so once you learned some kind of pattern, the notes fall into place.

My sight-reading is not as good as it should be although it is already much better since I started. Just need to keep playing through new pieces so that you are not regurgitating pieces you already know from memory.

Re: Sight Reading Basics [Re: MistyB] #2866922
07/07/19 09:45 AM
07/07/19 09:45 AM
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Originally Posted by MistyB
Originally Posted by Pinkiepie
Originally Posted by MistyB
Thank you Pinkiepie... I'm going to relax with sight reading attempts and without choosing anything difficult, see how I can approach it.


Absolutley.
The s.r.-exercises must definitely be lighter than the pieces you are practicing.

It is not only playing the right notes, but about playing with the correct rythm as well. Recognizing dynamics, playing with the correct touches...and so on.
That's why you start only with a few different notes at first. Otherwise there would be too much information to process.

btw: most beginner books start with one-handed playing first. This is very common. So you do not have to be able to play independently with both hands before you can start doing sight-reading exercises.



Thank you. I will start gently. I do not understand why my teacher has not encouraged this outside of my learning course. Maybe not all teachers recommend it. I do want to give it a try. Thank you.
.

Your teacher is not suggesting sight reading because you have only been taking lessons two months . Give it a rest until you can fluently read music.


"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
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Re: Sight Reading Basics [Re: MistyB] #2870600
07/19/19 10:54 AM
07/19/19 10:54 AM
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Agree with all points above but wanted to add a couple of things.

Prima vista sight reading is usually how the term is used. That is, sight reading of pieces that are easier than you can play and that you have never seen before. Once you start to get the hang of things,you'll want to play them without stopping.
Some people say it's bad to make mistakes but you're probably going to make some no matter what and instead of correcting them, just keep going.

Learning to read music is a bit like learning to read. Try to find pieces that you find interesting. A lot of sight reading books have really dull stuff, like first grade readers and it's hard to be interested in boring material.

But once you start to get a decent grasp of music reading, you should sightread pieces that are a little harder than what you can play and then play them over again even if you don't intend to learn the pieces for your repertoire. Play the pieces slowly and as accurately as you can. All reading practice is good provided it's not too far advanced because that can be discouraging.

And if you can get a partner to play duets with, play those from sight. That can really be a lot of fun and you will learn a lot. You will make a lot of mistakes but you will be having such a good time, you won't care.

Re: Sight Reading Basics [Re: MistyB] #2870605
07/19/19 11:17 AM
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One more thing. You can take a casual approach to sightreading. There are plenty of "rules" but you don't have to follow them. If you have some simple piano pieces that you think would be interesting, try them. Play the melody alone with your right hand if the rest of it seems too difficult. It's all about learning how to read music but more than that, it's about enjoying yourself, not just about eating spinach because you're heard it's good for you.

Re: Sight Reading Basics [Re: MistyB] #2872446
07/25/19 12:41 AM
07/25/19 12:41 AM
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Tyrone Slothrop Online content
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I came across a new dissertation on learning sight reading for beginners, where the author compares different instructional methods for learning sight-reading. Because the paper concerns the pedagogy of sight-reading, I thought I would just link it here in this piano teacher's forum thread since it might be of interest to teachers.


across the stone, deathless piano performances

"Discipline is more reliable than motivation." -by a contributor on Reddit r/piano
"Success is 10% inspiration, and 90% perspiration." -by some other wise person
"Pianoteq manages to keep it all together yet simultaneously also go in all directions; like a quantum particle entangled with an unknown and spooky parallel universe simply waiting to be discovered." -by Pete14
Re: Sight Reading Basics [Re: Nahum] #2872447
07/25/19 12:47 AM
07/25/19 12:47 AM
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Originally Posted by Nahum
Originally Posted by keystring


My problem with a lot of "sight reading books" was that they were so predictable that I was anticipating, not reading .
Maybe there is software that creates note text randomly?

Just go to more modern music, such as Microcosmos, for sight reading practice material, problem solved smile

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