Sight reading

Technique, methods and advice for learners

Postby pianogal » Wed Aug 22, 2007 10:50 pm

How can I speed up my sight reading of music?

It just seems so hard to look at a note, think it over in your mind, then find it on the keyboard...

I don't get how musicians play a complete new song by just staring at the sheet music.

They are so talented!

I'm jealous, I know I can do it too someday, but where to start?
Don't ever give up piano, because you will like it someday
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Postby classicafila » Fri Aug 24, 2007 12:34 am

Hi,
I think that the more that you play the easier it will get for your to sight read. Try to play pieces that are at your level.
Then, as you get better, try to play more difficult pieces.
One thing that could help you read chords is to learn the chord progressions in the key that that song is in and then look for the chords in the various postions: root, 1st inversion, second inversion etc. That way it won't seem like a random chord, you will already know what it is. One book that is good for scales and other exercises is The Complete Book of Scales, Chords, Arpeggios, and Cadences . You can get it from sheetmusicplus.com, which is a great place to get music and other related items.
Maybe you could get a subscription to a magazine like Sheet Music Magazine or Piano Today and that way you would always have new songs every month to play and you could practice your sight reading that way.
Also, ledger lines can be difficult to sight read. I suggest that you get music flash cards to help you read the more difficult notes.
Sorry this is so long but I wanted to give you a good answer. I hope that it helps.
:D
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Postby pianogal » Fri Aug 24, 2007 1:55 pm

Oh no no, it's not long at all (I've seen much longer comments all over, haha).
Chords are even harder to read, I usually just play one note at a time until all notes are read, it takes much longer time. But thank you for the suggestions! I'll try them! :)
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Postby Tarnia » Tue Sep 11, 2007 10:05 am

Ok, so I am one of those people you hate :p I have always been told I am a good sight reader. Having said that, what has helped me was, strangely enough, playing popular music-e.g. the Phantom-or music I really enjoy playing at my grade level or above. It isn't work; I don't HAVE to learn it-it isn't my repertoire-BUT I have to put the effort into learning it all on my own. AND learn it fast so I can play to ppl:p

Also, playing something an octave above or below what is written-teaches me to be able to feel for/find say B quickly. ESP works for chords I find. Another 'trick'-playing with your eyes closed, to develop a feel for where the notes are in relation to one another. So, if you see a seventh written, you know how far you have to stretch from the note you are currently playing.

As a previous poster said, it really helps if you can identify the key, and look for basic chordal structures e.g. say moving through the notes of the chord (or a scale) to the dominant. I usually identify the key, and if it is minor I will go through the piece and mentally highlight the 6th and 7th notes. (This is if I am doing it as a test-when I am just playing I usually don't bother but I probably should :D). I also highlight any accidentals/changes of key/changes of clef. Then I look for PATTERNS. Do you read a lot? Books I mean. Here is an analogy: when ppl read, esp ppl that speed read, often we fill in words ourselves. For example, if you see the phrase 'I went to the store to', you prob will fill in the 'buy', or if you see 'by', you prob fill in 'a' or 'the'. Maybe not the best examples, but hopefully you get my point. To some degree, sight reading is similar-you can learn to expect certain patterns, and you can learn to always stay one bar ahead of your hands, so that you know what to play before you get to it. Did that make sense?

Hope this helps!
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Postby Tranquillo » Thu Sep 13, 2007 6:41 am

I agree with what classicafila had so say ... play pieces at your own ability ... Sightread SLOWLY ... so you have enough looking ahead time ...

In regards to looking at a note then finding it on the keyboard yes that can be tricky at first. I think what you have to do is start on small pieces with the five finger position. Then move on to something more difficult.
Whatever you do dont write the letter names beneath every note ... like thats going to help(sarcasm).

And dont begin with a piece in a tricky key!

One more other thing before you being to sightread OBSERVE ... look at the Key signature , the time signature the first note and position your hands to where they should be. Then begin. You'll find that his helps in knowing which dot corresponds to which key on the keyboard.

Hope that helped.




Edited By Becibu on 1195173656
Music is organised sound
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Postby Tranquillo » Sun Sep 16, 2007 11:00 pm

Also might I add, ... try seeing the patterns and see the intervals of the nots on which lines or space.
They are just afew things that made sightreading easier to me ,.,, but when ever sightreading always make sure you read SLOWLY. That way you have more looking ahead time.




Edited By Becibu on 1195173724
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