2017 was our 20th year online!

Welcome to the Piano World Piano Forums
Over 3 million posts about pianos, digital pianos, and all types of keyboard instruments
Join the World's Largest Community of Piano Lovers (it's free)
It's Fun to Play the Piano ... Please Pass It On!

Shop our online store for music lovers
SEARCH
Piano Forums & Piano World
(ad)
Wessell Nickel & Gross
PianoForAll
(ad)
Best of Piano Buyer
 Best of Piano Buyer
(ad)
Faust Harrison Pianos
Faust Harrison 100+ Steinway pianos
Who's Online Now
38 members (Burkey, clothearednincompo, almo82, dorfmouse, daz100, FloRi89, AZNpiano, 8 invisible), 356 guests, and 383 robots.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
(ad)
Estonia Pianos
Estonia Pianos
Previous Thread
Next Thread
Print Thread
Hop To
Page 4 of 4 1 2 3 4
Re: About sightreading.
Emigre #2992587 06/18/20 07:25 AM
Joined: Feb 2020
Posts: 259
U
Ubu Offline
Full Member
Offline
Full Member
U
Joined: Feb 2020
Posts: 259
Originally Posted by Emigre
The only drawback is this: one develops an insatiable appetite for books, and this gets very expensive very fast! I was able to borrow the PA books, but if I had to buy them I would be looking at $200 for just two weeks worth of playing! smile

True. There's the option of downloading scores from imslp and read them on your laptop. I use a laptop stand and is very useful. Some people uses tablets wich is also good.

Re: About sightreading.
jeffcat #2992589 06/18/20 07:29 AM
Joined: May 2015
Posts: 6,931
Silver Subscriber
6000 Post Club Member
Offline
Silver Subscriber
6000 Post Club Member
Joined: May 2015
Posts: 6,931
Originally Posted by jeffcat
Originally Posted by Emigre
I always sight read both hands together, have never practiced playing hands separately, because for me reading is a key component of playing; I don't want to play it if I can't read it.

You can train that way if you want to. It may work out fine for you since you're already familiar with musical notation. However, for newer people coming in to reading, there's NO REASON both hands have to be read simultaneously.

Just take the above few sentences, try reading two lines at once. You can do it at an ok pace, and yet you've probably never purposely read two lines of english. You can do it because you already know most of the words. The music notation form blocks of notes and chords similar to words, in time, that's how the brain perceives them. There's no critical need to read hands together right away from the beginning. In many cases, people learn to recognize blocks and chords faster by reading separately.


Try sight-reading music easy enough that you can play with both hands together. If you need to play hands separately, the music is probably too difficult. You should not be using music at your current level to Sight read.

If you are discussing reading new music at your current level, you may need to learn it hands separately— depending on the 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
"I never dreamt with my own two hands I could touch the sky" - Sappho

It's ok to be a Work In Progress
Re: About sightreading.
Nitrovaleric #2992789 06/18/20 10:46 PM
Joined: Nov 2004
Posts: 662
C
500 Post Club Member
Offline
500 Post Club Member
C
Joined: Nov 2004
Posts: 662
I am a weak sightreader compared to most amateur pianists, and an extremely weak sightreader compared to other pianists at my technical level. I actually only regret it for a single reason, but it's a very, very big one - it limits my rep.

I memorize extremely fast but I "learn" very slow because it takes me quite a while to trudge through reading a new piece while learning the notes. Lots of hands separate learning not because I can't play it, but rather because I can't read at a reasonable speed hands together when we're talking about something like a Chopin Etude. My level of sightreading at full tempo is probably somewhere around an easier Clementi work or a chorale or something.

While this has definitely slowed my expansion of rep and it's something I intend to continue working on, I do find some interesting things in my playing (for better or worse) as a result of my lack of sightreading and theory background. When I play, I generally have no concept of what key I am in or the harmonic structure of the work from an academic level (though if I focus on it I can tell you). It's really interesting to me that I rarely have memory slips (I'm much more prone to shaky hands from stage fright) but I never really know what key I'm in, even in stuff like Rachmaninov or Brahms. Every other pianist I talk to uses harmonic structure as a safety map or memory device. I think this is because of my slow sightreading - the fastest way for me to polish a work is just to memorize it ASAP, which I tend to do by phrasing, melody, and harmony feel as opposed to formal structure. Some harmony changes give me chills or make me want to cry, but when I'm playing I don't think of them as modulating to or from any specific key.

Last edited by computerpro3; 06/18/20 10:51 PM.
Re: About sightreading.
Nitrovaleric #2993840 06/21/20 06:00 PM
Joined: May 2020
Posts: 148
D
Full Member
Offline
Full Member
D
Joined: May 2020
Posts: 148
Pretty interesting thread and nice contributions everyone. A couple of contributions from me.

First, in my native language (Italian) sightreading literally translate "reading and playing the as soon as you see the score, without having seen it before" (yes, Italian is a verbose language). So all the suggestions of "examining the score before" or of playing it a handful of times, sound really strange and contradictory to me.

Second (I am shocked nobody mentioned this before, at least not explicitly). Sight reading at the piano is akin to riding a bicycle, on a steep downhill, winding road - while juggling knives with your hands and balancing a pitcher full of water on your head. Well, perhaps I'm exaggerating a bit :-), but the point I want to make is that you need to do LOTS of things at the same time:

- reading the pitches for the RH
- reading the rhythm for the RH
- reading the pitches for the LH
- reading the rhythm for the LH
- correctly find the keys on the keyboard with the RH
- correctly find the keys on the keyboard with the LH
- correctly execute the rhythm with the RH
- correctly execute the rhythm with the RH

And I haven't even mentioned fingerings, pedaling, dynamics, articulation.... This is only vaguely similar to being able to read a written language such as English (or Italian), where you have to do only two things at the same time: reading the words and uttering them -- and most importantly in text there is no strict time constraints, unlike on the piano (yes, good readers do make inflections, but they can make pause longer or shorter, as they see fit -- especially for hard words). DocOc mentioned some of this, but made it even more complicated than it needed to be (as bennevis pointed out) and especially none of them did not mention the extremely important aspect of rhythm.

So back to my example of the bicycle: before you do all the things together, you must master them separately. If you can't juggle a ball when standing, how can you juggle knives when riding? Ditto with the other things. Some people (usually kids proceeding slowly) inadvertently learned these skills separately while thinking they are doing them "together": with pieces very simple e.g. a start could be 5-finger position music, with RH and LH going back-and-forth like in a conversation without ever playing at the same time. This is certainly possible, but excruciating slow and boring for those who can play more interesting music.
As an adult in this situation, I finally found my way, to learn the skills separately in a faster and more efficient way. Heck, out of desperation I even wrote a dedicated app on Android to help me with some things (I mulling to release it publicly).

Finally, let me also mention another important issue: concentration. To do all these things together, one ABSOLUTELY NEEDS perfect concentration. Some people are "natural" at that, but speaking with many friends I realized that for the vast majority of us the mind wanders around freely. I have found that meditation teaches my mind to have control on itself, and helps a lot with concentration. By meditation I simply mean becoming able to stop the stream-of-consciousness and focus one's attention to a specific task, without distractions. In meditation "exercises", the task is usually your own breath or heartbeat, but then one gains this important ability. Again to the bicycle example: if you can't ride your bike without hands on flat terrain.... good luck on that downhill

Re: About sightreading.
Del Vento #2993859 06/21/20 07:09 PM
Joined: May 2001
Posts: 28,126
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
Joined: May 2001
Posts: 28,126
Originally Posted by Del Vento
the point I want to make is that you need to do LOTS of things at the same time:

- reading the pitches for the RH
- reading the rhythm for the RH
- reading the pitches for the LH
- reading the rhythm for the LH
- correctly find the keys on the keyboard with the RH
- correctly find the keys on the keyboard with the LH
- correctly execute the rhythm with the RH
- correctly execute the rhythm with the RH
Anything can be broken down into many things if one wants. Reciting a written article could be broken down into many more things than you listed later in your post. For example, you didn't mention reading the letters(and many more things).

Re: About sightreading.
pianoloverus #2993984 06/22/20 08:49 AM
Joined: May 2020
Posts: 148
D
Full Member
Offline
Full Member
D
Joined: May 2020
Posts: 148
Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Anything can be broken down into many things if one wants. Reciting a written article could be broken down into many more things than you listed later in your post. For example, you didn't mention reading the letters(and many more things).

True, anything can be broken down in many things, but most of them are subconscious or unconscious and that's a huge difference.

For example for speaking I did not mention that to utter words you need to move your tongue, lips, diaphragm etc. Because these are subconscious movements that are mastered and never thought about. Same with moving arms and fingers when playing the piano. I did not mention them on purpose (even though for advanced technique one will need to think about those details too).

On the other hand, one does NOT read letters when reciting a written article. See for example https://www.ecenglish.com/learnenglish/lessons/can-you-read

I am convinced of what I wrote, that reading an article is only TWO main tasks: reading WORDS (or even whole sentences) and uttering them, Whereas playing the piano is many more things, and not because I am breaking it down too much. For example, I did not say that sightreading is reading individual notes by counting staff lines (like reading English is not reading individual letters).

Last edited by Del Vento; 06/22/20 08:51 AM.
Re: About sightreading.
Del Vento #2994066 06/22/20 01:29 PM
Joined: May 2001
Posts: 28,126
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
Joined: May 2001
Posts: 28,126
Originally Posted by Del Vento
I am convinced of what I wrote, that reading an article is only TWO main tasks: reading WORDS (or even whole sentences) and uttering them, Whereas playing the piano is many more things, and not because I am breaking it down too much. For example, I did not say that sightreading is reading individual notes by counting staff lines (like reading English is not reading individual letters).
You may be convinced, but I'm not. I think that things that become automatic by the time one becomes a good reader have analogous things that become automatic when one become a good music sight reader. Similarly, steps in reading that are not automatic for beginners (including sounding out words by letters or syllables) have their analogies for beginning music sight readers.

Re: About sightreading.
Nitrovaleric #2994133 06/22/20 04:56 PM
Joined: May 2020
Posts: 148
D
Full Member
Offline
Full Member
D
Joined: May 2020
Posts: 148
Ok, you may be correct that for piano the skills are few and not many as I argue. Yet my main point remains.

For reading, a baby first learns to speak, then learns to read letters, words, sentence, and only in the end may learn to become a reader (say an unseen article in public). The various skills need to be mastered separately before one put them together. If one can't utter a word, there is no point in "practicing" reading a sentence.

For sightreading, the various (many or few) skills must be mastered separately before one can attempt to try them together. If one can't read and tap just the rhythm with the right hand alone, there is no point in trying to sightread an however easy piece hands together on the piano. It may sound obvious, but unfortunately for me, I did not realize that myself as a kid, and nobody told me. Even worse, everybody simply told me "take easy pieces and try to play them and you will learn easily". With that, I wasted lots of years trying to learn sightreading, with no success. Only now as a old man, having analyzed why that happened, I understand. And breaking down the process this way, in the last year alone I have made more progress than my whole lifetime before. Still quite a beginner, but at least improving.....

Re: About sightreading.
Nitrovaleric #2995021 06/25/20 09:26 AM
Joined: Jun 2020
Posts: 24
M
Full Member
Offline
Full Member
M
Joined: Jun 2020
Posts: 24
I’m just starting out in the piano and have been doing a lot of research about sight reading.

Pretty much everyone including pros (Tiffany Poon ???) say they struggle with sight reading.

I’m starting to think how important is being good at sight readings?

For sure you want to get better at it and continue practicing to improve but there is other factors at being a good pianist.

Re: About sightreading.
Mountains-and-Snow #2995027 06/25/20 09:54 AM
Joined: Oct 2010
Posts: 13,791
B
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
B
Joined: Oct 2010
Posts: 13,791
Originally Posted by Marc67
I’m just starting out in the piano and have been doing a lot of research about sight reading.

Pretty much everyone including pros (Tiffany Poon ???) say they struggle with sight reading.
Nobody ever boasts that she's good at sight-reading. Not even male virtuosi, generally not given to false modesty wink . Not even me, though I'm no virtuoso.....

But plonk down an unknown piece in front of them, and they'll sight-read it almost flawlessly (if you make them an offer they can't refuse). All students have had the experience where their teacher sight-reads some piece of music better than they can ever play after a year of practicing.

Kids learn by example. My first teacher used to play a classical piece for me after every lesson (she was my only source of classical music in my home country then, other than what I was learning) and always brought some volumes of music and asked me to pick a piece I wanted her to play. Naturally, I often chose pieces with funny titles, like "March of the Trolls" and "Bees' Wedding" and "Gardens in the Rain". And she would then play from the music - practically flawlessly, it seemed to me, even at high speed. OK, she's learnt many of the pieces before, but I was pretty sure not all, because some had no fingerings or any pencil marks in them, and she had to look through them for a minute or two first. (She was a stickler for getting fingerings right, and I noticed many of her own scores had her fingerings).

From her example, I knew that excellent sight-reading skills was one of the most valuable one to have (next to actually having the requisite skills to able to play them properly, of course).

Quote
I’m starting to think how important is being good at sight readings?

For sure you want to get better at it and continue practicing to improve but there is other factors at being a good pianist.
Become absolutely fluent with reading what's on the sheets first (i.e. instant recognition from what you see to what key you need to press, and how long for), before worrying about 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: About sightreading.
Mountains-and-Snow #2995134 06/25/20 04:26 PM
Joined: May 2001
Posts: 28,126
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
Joined: May 2001
Posts: 28,126
Originally Posted by Marc67
I’m just starting out in the piano and have been doing a lot of research about sight reading.

Pretty much everyone including pros (Tiffany Poon ???) say they struggle with sight reading.

I’m starting to think how important is being good at sight readings?

For sure you want to get better at it and continue practicing to improve but there is other factors at being a good pianist.
If Tiffany Poon says she is a poor sight reader, she is probably comparing herself to other top professional pianists. Most PW members would be amazed how well most professional pianists can sight read.

Re: About sightreading.
Nitrovaleric #2995152 06/25/20 04:58 PM
Joined: Sep 2005
Posts: 881
N
500 Post Club Member
Offline
500 Post Club Member
N
Joined: Sep 2005
Posts: 881
Sorry I didn't follow every posts here. But sometimes a "measure" can run the length of the page (especially in piano concertos), and there are many incidentals. How do the top pianists remember which notes were affected and play it at high speed (also think atonal when you can't tell what's right and what's wrong)?

Last edited by newport; 06/25/20 05:05 PM.
Re: About sightreading.
pianoloverus #2995155 06/25/20 04:59 PM
Joined: May 2015
Posts: 6,931
Silver Subscriber
6000 Post Club Member
Offline
Silver Subscriber
6000 Post Club Member
Joined: May 2015
Posts: 6,931
Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Originally Posted by Marc67
I’m just starting out in the piano and have been doing a lot of research about sight reading.

Pretty much everyone including pros (Tiffany Poon ???) say they struggle with sight reading.

I’m starting to think how important is being good at sight readings?

For sure you want to get better at it and continue practicing to improve but there is other factors at being a good pianist.
If Tiffany Poon says she is a poor sight reader, she is probably comparing herself to other top professional pianists. Most PW members would be amazed how well most professional pianists can sight read.

Even my piano teacher sight reads quite well.
Why become a good sight reader? It helps in reading new music quicker, it allows you to play music you have never seen, even if that is just Christmas carols.


"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

It's ok to be a Work In Progress
Re: About sightreading.
Mountains-and-Snow #2995159 06/25/20 05:25 PM
Joined: Aug 2007
Posts: 8,936
8000 Post Club Member
Online Happy
8000 Post Club Member
Joined: Aug 2007
Posts: 8,936
Originally Posted by Marc67
I’m just starting out in the piano and have been doing a lot of research about sight reading.

Why? You don't need to worry about sight reading yet. Real sight reading start to occur about 6 months into lessons, and you'll only be sight reading stuff in quarter notes and half notes. Maybe.

Originally Posted by Marc67
Pretty much everyone including pros (Tiffany Poon ???) say they struggle with sight reading.

I do a lot of sight reading for my job, so sight reading is really easy for me. The hard part is getting the piece polished enough for performance level.

Originally Posted by Marc67
I’m starting to think how important is being good at sight readings?

For you, at your current level, sight reading has no importance. It will, though, start to be important, and you do need to keep up your sight reading skills concurrently with your repertoire; otherwise, there is going to be a wider and wider gap, one that is almost impossible to bridge further down the line.


Private Piano Teacher and MTAC Member
Re: About sightreading.
Nitrovaleric #2995248 06/26/20 12:29 AM
Joined: May 2020
Posts: 46
E
Full Member
Offline
Full Member
E
Joined: May 2020
Posts: 46
There is a difference between reading notation and sight reading. Namely, sight reading means playing the piece at first sight with no interruptions.

I'm not a good sight reader; I haven't (yet) trained the skill of reading ahead, and any unexpected changes throw me. However, this year I brought up my reading skill -- a lot from where I was a year ago.

Although my goal is not necessarily to sight read well, I have made it my mission to read well. To that end, I sight read new pieces every day as an exercise to improve my reading.

The difference for me is in approaching a new piece. I now typically play it through (even with a few interruptions) on the first go; previously it would take a long time of laboriously working through the notation to play it.

All the above on my primary instrument, the classical guitar where I'm at grade 7.

This ability to read well paid off heaps for me just now as I recently started playing the piano. Today marks 3 weeks since my shiny new P515 arrived, and I first sat down with Piano Adventures Primer. 3 weeks later, I'm 4 pieces short of completing Book 5, having read my way through all the lesson books as well as 3A performance. There is no way I could have worked through this volume -- dozens of pieces -- in such a short time if my reading skills weren't what they are.

Of course, a person new to music is facing a steep learning curve on many fronts so the tendency to de-prioritise reading is understandable, I myself didn't take it seriously until recently. But the benefits are clear.

Re: About sightreading.
pianoloverus #2995309 06/26/20 07:05 AM
Joined: Jan 2008
Posts: 365
Full Member
Offline
Full Member
Joined: Jan 2008
Posts: 365
Originally Posted by pianoloverus
If Tiffany Poon says she is a poor sight reader, she is probably comparing herself to other top professional pianists. Most PW members would be amazed how well most professional pianists can sight read.

Indeed. What concert pianists might consider poor, may be the holy grail for your average pianist.

https://youtu.be/5Pk8xFEptkU?t=290

She struggles more with Bach later in the video, but then, it's Bach and look at the piece she's trying to sight read. I wouldn't rate even that attempt as poor. In fact I'd say you have to have very good sight reading skills to play it that well on a first attempt.


Ex-member. As there's no delete account option, feel free to quote my posts but there will be no response.
Re: About sightreading.
AZNpiano #2995816 06/27/20 10:33 AM
Joined: Jun 2020
Posts: 24
M
Full Member
Offline
Full Member
M
Joined: Jun 2020
Posts: 24
I started lessons (8 weeks ago) and my teacher started me on scales , arpeggios and sight reading right away.

I am very very slowly getting better at sight reading complete beginner stuff.
I do it everyday as well as practice scales and arpeggios.

When I first contacted my teacher I told him my goal was to sight read and learn techniques.
Eventually learn classical songs.
He was happy to hear that because he feels that is where you start because most beginner wanting to quickly learn pop songs.

At my age (53) my goal is to achieve moderate levels at techniques, sight reading and classical songs.

I am in no rush, I expect to get there in 7- 10 years.

I am pretty sure in 2 years I will be decent beginner.

I am loving it so far. Practice 1-2 hours every day tired or not :-).

I appreciate everyone input!!!

Page 4 of 4 1 2 3 4

Moderated by  Brendan, Kreisler 

Link Copied to Clipboard
(ad)
Pianoteq
PianoTeq Karsten Collection
(ad)
PianoDisc

PianoDisc
(ad)
Piano Life Saver - Dampp Chaser
Dampp Chaser Piano Life Saver
(ad)
Mason & Hamlin Pianos
What's Hot!!
News from the Piano World
Our October 2020 Free Piano Newsletter is Here!
---------------------
3,000,000+!
------------------
Posting Pictures on the Forums
-------------------
Forums RULES & HELP
-------------------
ADVERTISE on Piano World
New Topics - Multiple Forums
Estonia L225 loses tune very quickly
by M_albert - 10/20/20 01:49 AM
Piano Safari Christmas collection
by ebonykawai - 10/19/20 08:59 PM
Another "beginner" piece w/twist
by MilesAbbott - 10/19/20 08:58 PM
Sostenuto Pedal....in an upright?
by Duaner - 10/19/20 06:38 PM
Download Sheet Music
Virtual Sheet Music - Classical Sheet Music Downloads
Forum Statistics
Forums41
Topics202,315
Posts3,015,355
Members98,949
Most Online15,252
Mar 21st, 2010
Please Support Our Advertisers


Faust Harrison 100+ Steinways

Dampp Chaser Piano Life Saver

 Best of Piano Buyer

PianoTeq Bechstein
Visit our online store for gifts for music lovers

Virtual Sheet Music - Classical Sheet Music Downloads



 
Help keep the forums up and running with a donation, any amount is appreciated!
Or by becoming a Subscribing member! Thank-you.
Donate   Subscribe
 
Our Piano Related Classified Ads
| Dealers | Tuners | Lessons | Movers | Restorations | Pianos For Sale | Sell Your Piano |

Advertise on Piano World
| Subscribe | Piano World | PianoSupplies.com | Advertise on Piano World |
| |Contact | Privacy | Legal | About Us | Site Map | Free Newsletter |


copyright 1997 - 2020 Piano World ® all rights reserved
No part of this site may be reproduced without prior written permission
Powered by UBB.threads™ PHP Forum Software 7.7.4