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Re: People who refuse to learn to read music
JJHLH #2974862 05/04/20 02:29 PM
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Originally Posted by JJHLH
Being able to play while looking at music, and not your hands, is fundamental. I can’t think of anything more important in learning to play the piano. It isn’t easy, but with time and effort the results slowly become more evident and satisfying. As a beginner I made the decision at the start to learn this.
Even the most advanced pianists look at their hands some of the time while playing with the score and not just for big jumps.

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Re: People who refuse to learn to read music
wszxbcl #2974865 05/04/20 02:36 PM
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Originally Posted by wszxbcl
I had a duet partner that couldn't read music. It was awful. She had to record me playing her part then she goes home with that recording to memorize the locations of the keys that need to be pressed. When I tried to teach her to read music, she got angry. Why?
Good thing you eventually ditched her.

You shouldn't let yourself be used like that.

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You can't go very far in classical music without knowing how to read music. I know a kid in Germany who told me the public school teaches how to read music. How cool! I see it as literacy.
My high school had Music Appreciation classes for all students where kids were given the music scores to follow with as the music was played, and pretty soon they learnt to read music, in a rudimentary manner. (They soon picked up that bar lines came regularly on the strongest beats, and that as the music's pitch rises, the notes go up etc).

That's how the whole school could learn and sing pieces like the Kyrie from Haydn's Nelson Mass for the end of term concert, in SATB.

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I don't understand why people proudly announce that they can't read music, or can't do algebra. It must be that they think classical music and math are for geeks? Maybe some people out there think this whole forum is full of geeks, hahaha...
No, it's just sour grapes. People are like that.......

My jazzer friend (who learnt piano entirely by ear when he was a kid, and never learnt to read music) is envious of my ability to read music as well as play by ear, but thinks old dogs can't learn new tricks. Or rather, he believes that for him, the rewards don't justify the effort involved.

He's probably right. He makes good pocket money from his easy-listening/pop/jazz gigs, playing with his band (all of whom play by ear). I make precisely zilch from my classical gigs.


"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: People who refuse to learn to read music
WeakLeftHand #2974874 05/04/20 02:46 PM
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Imagine having to learn to read and write as an adult. It would be a real choir. Because most of us learnt to do so at a young age we didn’t think of it as massive task. A lot of it was learnt naturally. I think the same can be applied to reading music- if someone can play by ear they maybe don’t want to put the work and time in that it takes

Re: People who refuse to learn to read music
WeakLeftHand #2974875 05/04/20 02:47 PM
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Originally Posted by WeakLeftHand
Originally Posted by Serge88
There are some good arguments but they all base on classical music. In the non-classical world of music, if you join a gig and can only play with sheet music, you will have a problem.

Are you speaking of jazz? Because with jazz, I totally understand. It's a different beast (with memorized chords and improv).

If we remove jazz and concentrate on classical and pop music only, this phenomenon still exists. There are many people who come on these forums and want to learn to play pop or classical and say, "Oh, but I don't read music and don't want to learn." And many of these are newbies. Even pop music is written down.


But at the end of the day, we all want to make music. It doesn't matter which path we take, sheet music, by ear or with synthesia, if it sounds good then it's good.



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- Robert Schumann

Re: People who refuse to learn to read music
WeakLeftHand #2974885 05/04/20 03:02 PM
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I actually see the opposite. There is far more out there that teaches how to read music. It seems most people advocate for learning to read music. Personally learning to play by ear and learning to read music is important to me. I want to have both skills.

Last edited by Pianonewbie27; 05/04/20 03:06 PM.
Re: People who refuse to learn to read music
WeakLeftHand #2974887 05/04/20 03:06 PM
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Originally Posted by WeakLeftHand
Originally Posted by Serge88
There are some good arguments but they all base on classical music. In the non-classical world of music, if you join a gig and can only play with sheet music, you will have a problem.

Are you speaking of jazz? Because with jazz, I totally understand. It's a different beast (with memorized chords and improv).

If we remove jazz and concentrate on classical and pop music only, this phenomenon still exists. There are many people who come on these forums and want to learn to play pop or classical and say, "Oh, but I don't read music and don't want to learn." And many of these are newbies. Even pop music is written down.

Pop music does not need to be played as written music. It can easily be played by ear and improvised. IMO, this often creates superior arrangements.


"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: People who refuse to learn to read music
Qazsedcft #2974891 05/04/20 03:10 PM
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Originally Posted by Qazsedcft
Because it's hard and people are lazy.

Bingo!!

Add to that: Undisciplined.


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Re: People who refuse to learn to read music
WeakLeftHand #2974894 05/04/20 03:17 PM
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I just started learning how to read music a few years ago when I started the Duane Shinn 52 Week Crash Course.

Today, it's the most tedious, time consuming, difficult, depressing, and mentally exhausting thing that I do musically. I literally hate it. I SUCK at it. Excuse my language.

Here is an example. I had to play a hymn from the Duane Shinn Praise and Gospel Course (that I just started) 72 times before I could memorize it and didn't have to look at the music anymore. I can't look at the music and play with fluidity at the same time. My brain just can't do it yet.

I often wonder if it's worth putting in the time to learn. If I'm still alive in 10 years and I'm only marginally better at reading music than I am now, wouldn't the time have been better spent focusing on some other aspect of music? That's the big question that I wrestle with.

For now I'm going to keep learning songs as written from the hymnal first and then arranging them per the Praise and Gospel course. I'll evaluate my reading progress in the future to decide if it's worth putting the time in to learn. Learning how to read music feels like the right thing to do right now even though I hate it.

God Bless,
David


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Re: People who refuse to learn to read music
Qazsedcft #2974897 05/04/20 03:22 PM
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Originally Posted by Qazsedcft
Because it's hard and people are lazy.
I think they're also really intimidated and so they won't even try. It's too bad. Anything learned slowly and methodically is doable.


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Re: People who refuse to learn to read music
WeakLeftHand #2974906 05/04/20 03:38 PM
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It’s too bad this thread was not used to listen to people who do not read music. Rather we label them as ‘lazy’ ‘undisciplined’ among other pejorative descriptions. No wonder they won’t try to explain.


"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

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Re: People who refuse to learn to read music
WeakLeftHand #2974910 05/04/20 03:42 PM
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Originally Posted by WeakLeftHand
Originally Posted by Qazsedcft
Because it's hard and people are lazy.

I think this is definitely the reason for some people, but not all. I don't think reading music is all that hard to learn. It really is just a couple of lines and a couple of dots, and a few other symbols scattered throughout. I don't think it's comparable to learning to read a new language, for example, which I think is a lot more difficult.
My post was rather short wink so let me explain a bit more.

I do think it's hard. You're learning the proper way following a curriculum, reading things at your level and not rushing forward, so your perspective is different. But now imagine that instead of playing beginner pieces you were able to play, say, Clair de lune by copying someone and memorizing which keys to press. Now after doing a bunch of nice sounding pieces like this you open the score and try to read them. You will quickly realize that reading such pieces as a beginner would be even harder than looking at synthesia because of the sheer number of symbols and things to take into account. Go open the score for any level 10 piece right now and see how easy it is to translate all the accidentals and all the rhythms into something that sounds like the piece. So after having had the experience of playing advanced music going back to beginner pieces with the perspective that it will take you several years before you can play such nice sounding pieces from the sheet is quite daunting.

The resistance you mentioned to is a defense mechanism. People don't like being pointed out their laziness, so they pretend that they do in fact have good reasons for not wanting to learn to read music and get angry when you don't buy into it.

Re: People who refuse to learn to read music
WeakLeftHand #2974912 05/04/20 03:47 PM
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Well, they aren't obligated to explain themselves. To each his own! I really do think it's intimidating for a lot of adults, though, it's easier to learn as a child.


Lisa

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"I tell my piano the things I used to tell you." - Frederic Chopin
Re: People who refuse to learn to read music
bennevis #2974916 05/04/20 03:51 PM
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Originally Posted by bennevis
Originally Posted by wszxbcl
I had a duet partner that couldn't read music. It was awful. She had to record me playing her part then she goes home with that recording to memorize the locations of the keys that need to be pressed. When I tried to teach her to read music, she got angry. Why?
Good thing you eventually ditched her.

You shouldn't let yourself be used like that.

Yes I ditched her. And you were perceptive to note that I was being used. I am a nice gal who likes to help people. But she was using me to hide her inability to read music. She should not have signed up to play if she can't do it. You can imagine how difficult it was to rehearse: we keep having to start over from the very beginning!

Re: People who refuse to learn to read music
David B #2974922 05/04/20 04:09 PM
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Originally Posted by David B
I just started learning how to read music a few years ago when I started the Duane Shinn 52 Week Crash Course.

Today, it's the most tedious, time consuming, difficult, depressing, and mentally exhausting thing that I do musically. I literally hate it. I SUCK at it. Excuse my language.

Here is an example. I had to play a hymn from the Duane Shinn Praise and Gospel Course (that I just started) 72 times before I could memorize it and didn't have to look at the music anymore. I can't look at the music and play with fluidity at the same time. My brain just can't do it yet.

I often wonder if it's worth putting in the time to learn. If I'm still alive in 10 years and I'm only marginally better at reading music than I am now, wouldn't the time have been better spent focusing on some other aspect of music? That's the big question that I wrestle with.

For now I'm going to keep learning songs as written from the hymnal first and then arranging them per the Praise and Gospel course. I'll evaluate my reading progress in the future to decide if it's worth putting the time in to learn. Learning how to read music feels like the right thing to do right now even though I hate it.

God Bless,
David

Thanks for responding. Based on your completion of the Duanne Shinn 52 Week Crash Course over a 3 year period (please correct me if I misremembered), it is clear as day that you are neither lazy nor undisciplined. In fact, I'm pretty sure I don't have the discipline or the dedication that you have. And yet, you say that you might not want to spend the time to learn to read music anymore because you're not getting any better. But I thought that your course required you to read music. I think you're better than you think. We're not talking about "sight-reading" here, where you read it the first time and play it without any fault. We're just talking about learning to read music in a basic way, such that you know what the composer wants you to play and how (i.e., pitch, rhythm, dynamics, etc.).


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Re: People who refuse to learn to read music
wszxbcl #2974923 05/04/20 04:12 PM
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Originally Posted by wszxbcl
Originally Posted by bennevis
Originally Posted by wszxbcl
I had a duet partner that couldn't read music. It was awful. She had to record me playing her part then she goes home with that recording to memorize the locations of the keys that need to be pressed. When I tried to teach her to read music, she got angry. Why?
Good thing you eventually ditched her.

You shouldn't let yourself be used like that.

Yes I ditched her. And you were perceptive to note that I was being used. I am a nice gal who likes to help people. But she was using me to hide her inability to read music. She should not have signed up to play if she can't do it. You can imagine how difficult it was to rehearse: we keep having to start over from the very beginning!

Number 1. I have no idea how bennevis knew you ditched her. I re-read your post and nowhere in your post said that. I think bennevis is psychic. wow

And number 2. I totally get your frustration.


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Re: People who refuse to learn to read music
WeakLeftHand #2974927 05/04/20 04:18 PM
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I don't consider Faber Adult All-in-One Book 1 or Alfred's Adult All-in-One Book 1 to be difficult books to go through. After either of these books, an adult student has basically learnt the basics of reading music. I'm not convinced it's such a difficult thing to do. I suspect the mental aspects are more difficult to overcome than the task itself. If it's intimidating or embarrassing, one can certainly buy one of these books and read it behind closed doors!


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Re: People who refuse to learn to read music
Jethro #2974928 05/04/20 04:19 PM
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Originally Posted by Jethro

He had George Martin helping him out. It was still necessary, he just wasn't doing it himself.

We made music for countless millennia before we had paper, let alone a codified musical notation system to write it down. But now we do and the way modern music-making works makes it pretty important.

If you don't read music, it becomes that much harder to collaborate with other musicians, unless you're ALL on the same wavelength.

And forget about playing classical music.

On the one hand, I can 100% appreciate that I don't know how hard it is to learn to read music as an adult. It's probably similar to how I feel about the prospect of learning Arabic or Chinese starting from not even being able to read the alphabet. But on the other hand, if I was not able to read music, I would not be doing what I do. It would just simply be too hard without the help of someone who was expert enough to SHOW ME the music by rote. The amount of outside help I would need would mean that it wasn't really my achievement anymore.

Re: People who refuse to learn to read music
WeakLeftHand #2974932 05/04/20 04:35 PM
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I don't have a choice when it comes to learning to read music. I took music class in high school with a group of string players (bass, cello, viola & violin) and reading music was part of the curriculum. I've been a reader for many years and assumed that the only way to make music is to play off a piece of paper. Otherwise I'd be playing tunes from memory. Didn't have any concept of improvise music until much later.

A few years ago, I met a retired man at a friend's party. The friend moved out of town and left him an upright that was passed down from her parents. The man started learning on his own. He focused on the only piece he heard his father played many years ago: Debussy "Clair de Lune". His father had a degree in music years ago and assumed to be a reader. The son on the other hand spent hours watching online videos demos showing finger sequences & hand gestures.

The last time I met him was more than a year ago. At the time he managed to master 5 pieces by ear (what he remembered a piece should sound like) or by online demos. Everybody who heard him thought he had been playing piano for at least 10 years when he only played for a year. The only thing is that he couldn't get himself into learning new pieces and would make excuses he doesn't like specific composers or styles of music. When the topic of reading music came up he would say it's too difficult like a foreign language. Maybe he took music lessons when he was young and had bad experiences learning to read.

I asked him about getting a teacher. The more we talked, the more I found there were issues in his life including financial that prevented him from getting a teacher. He said that he can't work with a teacher because he'd be forced to read music. I'm not sure why somebody would be so paranoid about learning to read. There maybe other personal issue the man wasn't willing to discuss including learning disability.

We both like to play music but impossible to be close friends. He would avoid a lot of things many of us would do: reading music, learning new pieces, playing pieces by other composers including Beethoven, Bach, Mozart, etc., playing trills and other ornaments. I thought he would like to know the biography of Debussy and the reason behind composing "Clair de Lune" (the piece he'd play everyday). Not interested. Talking to him was like talking to a wall.

Re: People who refuse to learn to read music
pianoloverus #2974934 05/04/20 04:40 PM
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Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Originally Posted by JJHLH
Being able to play while looking at music, and not your hands, is fundamental. I can’t think of anything more important in learning to play the piano. It isn’t easy, but with time and effort the results slowly become more evident and satisfying. As a beginner I made the decision at the start to learn this.
Even the most advanced pianists look at their hands some of the time while playing with the score and not just for big jumps.

I agree. But the most advanced pianists don’t have to look at their hands. Sometimes they do, but it’s not required. A blind pianist has won a gold medal at the Cliburn.

As an example this past January I had a front row seat in a small venue (280 seat) for a Stephen Hough concert. All the pieces he played were difficult. He started out with the Bach Chaconne and it didn’t get any easier from there. I could see his face perfectly and about half the time or more his eyes were closed or he was looking up or straight ahead. Interestingly, he only used sheet music when he played one of his own Sonatas. He explained to the audience with a wry grin that he did this to separate him the composer from him the player.

I don’t mean to suggest that looking at ones hands every once in a while is bad, but trying to develop the ability where it’s not necessary seems like a worthwhile goal.


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Re: People who refuse to learn to read music
WeakLeftHand #2974937 05/04/20 04:48 PM
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Originally Posted by WeakLeftHand
But I thought that your course required you to read music. I think you're better than you think. We're not talking about "sight-reading" here, where you read it the first time and play it without any fault. We're just talking about learning to read music in a basic way, such that you know what the composer wants you to play and how (i.e., pitch, rhythm, dynamics, etc.).

Believe me, I'm terrible at it. Even after eight lesson books with the Duane Shinn Course and leaning to play hundreds of songs the way they were written first, I'm still at the point where I have to look at each individual dot (one at a time) and figure out where each finger goes (one at a time) in a slow and painful process. We're talking weeks to learn a single hymn.

It's incredibly humiliating to try and read music in front of anybody. It's like I'm literally retarded. No offense to anyone with learning disabilities.

God bless,
David

Last edited by David B; 05/04/20 04:54 PM.

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