Piano Forum



Chopin Competition Aftermath: Breakfast with Tony Yang
Many have enjoyed the Chopin Competition performances live and via streaming and the “now factor” has been very well provided for. But what about after-Warsaw? During his visit to Warsaw, Patrick Jovell had a breakfast talk with laureate 2015 Tony Yang, the youngest prize winner ever – in the history of the competition. Read more >>

Topic: Good music to develop sight reading from scratch?  (Read 5312 times)

Offline goalevan

  • PS Silver Member
  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 241
Good music to develop sight reading from scratch?
on: April 12, 2004, 06:00:13 AM
I'm at a university and have access to an incredible variety of sheet music via the campus library. Shelves and shelves and shelves of catalogued sheet music. Are there any good collection of pieces that would be recommended to a student trying to improve sight reading. Thanks

Offline faulty_damper

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 3929
Re: Good music to develop sight reading from scrat
Reply #1 on: April 12, 2004, 11:17:49 AM
A long while back ago, in some school districts in California, USA, they experimented with a different reading technique called "whole language".  The traditionaly approach was to learn the sounds of each letter and combined letters' sounds - phonetically.  Whole language was different by learning language, not phonetically, but by relating to all aspects of language - reading, writing, speaking, and listening.  Phonetically, students would recognize the letters within a word, pronounce them sequentially, and put the sounds together to form the word.  Whole language students, when reading an unfamiliar word, could not pronounce it because they did not know how the letters were pronounced.  What this led to was the inability for the young students to read at higher levels in upper grades causing their academics to suffer immensely because they were always lagging behind in reading skills.


What is the point of mentioning this?  

Did you learn how to read by looking at words in a novel by Dostoyevsky or did you learn the individual sounds of the alphabet and then put them together to say simple words - dog, cat, hat - and then as your skills improved you were able to pronounce more difficult words - lion, tigger, happy, ..., piano, automobile, motorcycle, violin?  

Most of us took the latter path.  This is also the path that is the most effective for sight-reading music.  Learning the sounds of the keys, the placement of the keys on the keyboard,... then more advanced: the duration of notes, playing two notes simultaneuosly, then chords...

If you can read this, that is because you spent many many years reading since childhood.  You even know how to write now!  Simply amazing!  And because there are words written all over - on signs, store names, book titles - your ability of reading was further re-inforced.  Now, there is very few words that you can not read but learning them is very simple.

So what is the answer to your question?  You must first start with the absolute simplist instruction books - and Master them by sight!  Once mastered, you can then move on to more difficult material - and master those as well.  Once mastered, you can continue on to more advanced material and ultimately, you'll be able to sight-read music the way you are able to pick up a book and read aloud in continuous flow and not stop to try to figure out how to pronounce the words (notes within a chord).

But since music is not as common as language words, it will be difficult to read the music; another problem, even if there were music written all over town, the piano, unfortunately, isn't an instrument that can be put into your pocket and taken out to play the music you read at any given time.  As a result, you must spend countless hours a day looking at the music AND playing it.

The huge library you refer to is useless to your goals if you do not have the fundamental skills to utilize it.

Offline goalevan

  • PS Silver Member
  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 241
Re: Good music to develop sight reading from scrat
Reply #2 on: April 12, 2004, 02:42:46 PM
I definately have the ability to sight read the easier method books fairly easily, the reason I said "from scratch" is because a vast majority of the sheet music on those shelves is waay too advanced for me to play.. I'm looking for some of the very easy pieces that I can continue from the easy method books, because I need some more easy songs to play that I haven't practically memorized :)

Offline newsgroupeuan

  • PS Silver Member
  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 180
Re: Good music to develop sight reading from scrat
Reply #3 on: April 12, 2004, 03:03:05 PM
Quote
I definately have the ability to sight read the easier method books fairly easily, the reason I said "from scratch" is because a vast majority of the sheet music on those shelves is waay too advanced for me to play.. I'm looking for some of the very easy pieces that I can continue from the easy method books, because I need some more easy songs to play that I haven't practically memorized :)


I had a book of easy-intermediadiate/advanced piano transcriptions of orchestral pieces which was really good.

Offline dj

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 296
Re: Good music to develop sight reading from scrat
Reply #4 on: April 17, 2004, 06:09:51 AM
the clementi sonatinas work quite well also, as they are a stepping stone into the larger world of classical sonatas
rach on!

Offline donjuan

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 3139
Re: Good music to develop sight reading from scrat
Reply #5 on: April 17, 2004, 07:47:38 PM
Sight reading comes with time...lots of it.  ??? the most productive and enjoyable thing to do is choose a piece of music much MUCH more difficult than you would normally do.  

Make a point to learn one or two bars of the music everyday. By "learn" I mean play through the notes anyway you can, leave the piano for an hour or two, come back and work at it more...etc...,

It might take months to finish the work, but upon finishing a difficult piece, anything easier by any margin will seem sooooo much easier to sightread and learn.  

My sightreading is already 300% better than last year.
Try it out, let me know if it works for you too. ;)

Offline DarkWind

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 729
Re: Good music to develop sight reading from scrat
Reply #6 on: April 17, 2004, 11:54:12 PM
Basically what Don Juan said. I was able to sight read the Moonlight Sonata, third movement, and then everything seemed to a degree, easier. It also boosts up your self esteem and your confidence in playing. I had tried playing the Moonlight Sonata once before, to no luck. I practiced a bunch of harder songs, at least sight reading, and came back to Moonlight, was easier. Try the Trascendental Etudes, for one. Thats make for some difficult sight reading. Hardest piece I ever think I sight read really well was Funerailles, on my first go. Also, Ravel's music is sight reading nightmare. There are more sharps, double sharps, flats, double flats, and confusing chords than you can handle. Those are great for sight reading development though. Then, choose something fast, and you'll be king in no time! ;)

Offline goalevan

  • PS Silver Member
  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 241
Re: Good music to develop sight reading from scrat
Reply #7 on: April 18, 2004, 12:09:18 AM
I disagree, I think that reading music that's much too tough forces you to go too slow, without actually making much progress with the actual process of learning. I was unsuccessful trying to learn sight reading from a couple chopin mazurkas and waltzes... I could play them just fine because I played such small parts at a time that it just forced me to memorize them. After that I noticed no noticeable change in my sight reading skills.

Offline donjuan

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 3139
Re: Good music to develop sight reading from scrat
Reply #8 on: April 18, 2004, 12:41:20 AM
Quote
I disagree, I think that reading music that's much too tough forces you to go too slow, without actually making much progress with the actual process of learning. I was unsuccessful trying to learn sight reading from a couple chopin mazurkas and waltzes... I could play them just fine because I played such small parts at a time that it just forced me to memorize them. After that I noticed no noticeable change in my sight reading skills.


Hi goalevan,

hmmm...my situation is a little different.  When I try difficult pieces for me (eg. Liszt - Tarantella), my standard goes up.  Like I said before, it takes a hell of a long time to notice any change.  If someone is in grade 5 piano and all of a sudden expects to be able to play Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto NO.3, they will try once and feel sick with defeat.  HOwever, if they "chipped away" at Rach 3 over the next year, they will become accustomed to playing difficult music.  People don't get better at playing piano by playing music at their own level.  

Offline BonnieMacD

  • PS Silver Member
  • Newbie
  • ***
  • Posts: 2
Re: Good music to develop sight reading from scrat
Reply #9 on: April 23, 2004, 05:53:41 PM
I met an amazing pianist while my family and I were on tour in earlier this year. He started playing at age 12, and often during his teen years he took pieces of music and wrote the letter of each note next to the note. After many times of going through new pieces and writing all the notes, he would recognize much more quickly each note, and be able to sight reading much faster.

Offline donjuan

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 3139
Re: Good music to develop sight reading from scrat
Reply #10 on: April 23, 2004, 07:18:07 PM
Hi BonnieMac,
that's how almost everyone first begins to sightread.  I wrote in every note only 5 years ago.  The music wasn't even that difficult- a simplified version of Pachelbel's Canon in D- that was very long and tedious work, but it was the only way I could learn.  

Offline bernhard

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 5078
Re: Good music to develop sight reading from scrat
Reply #11 on: April 24, 2004, 03:19:08 AM
Start very easy:

1. Collection of grade 1 pieces.
2. Edna Mae Burnam "A dozen a day". Start with volume one and go through the whole series in order.
3. Bartok's Mikrokosmos: start with volume 1 and go through the whole series.
4. Minimalist music (Einaudi, Phillip Glass). The patterns are so repetitive that soon you will get the hang of reading patterns rather than notes.
5. Get Howard Richman's "Sight reading secrets" and follow his plan.

Best wishes,
Bernhard.
The music business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs. There's also a negative side. (Hunter Thompson)

Offline newsgroupeuan

  • PS Silver Member
  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 180
Re: Good music to develop sight reading from scrat
Reply #12 on: April 24, 2004, 02:01:17 PM
Quote


Hi goalevan,

hmmm...my situation is a little different.  When I try difficult pieces for me (eg. Liszt - Tarantella), my standard goes up.  Like I said before, it takes a hell of a long time to notice any change.  If someone is in grade 5 piano and all of a sudden expects to be able to play Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto NO.3, they will try once and feel sick with defeat.  HOwever, if they "chipped away" at Rach 3 over the next year, they will become accustomed to playing difficult music.  People don't get better at playing piano by playing music at their own level.  


I agree.

Offline DarkWind

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 729
Re: Good music to develop sight reading from scrat
Reply #13 on: April 24, 2004, 07:13:04 PM
Quote
I met an amazing pianist while my family and I were on tour in earlier this year. He started playing at age 12, and often during his teen years he took pieces of music and wrote the letter of each note next to the note. After many times of going through new pieces and writing all the notes, he would recognize much more quickly each note, and be able to sight reading much faster.


I used to do something similar, except it was with accidentals. Boy, those used to confuse me!

Offline Antnee

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 535
Re: Good music to develop sight reading from scrat
Reply #14 on: April 26, 2004, 12:00:16 AM
One thing that has helped me Tremendously is listening to the recording while reading the sheet music. Since you're relatively new to the piano, listening and reading it can relly help you're rythm and help you picture what it will look like playing it. Try it, it helps.

-Tony-
"The trouble with music appreciation in general is that people are taught to have too much respect for music they should be taught to love it instead." -  Stravinsky

Offline aileigc

  • PS Silver Member
  • Newbie
  • ***
  • Posts: 24
Re: Good music to develop sight reading from scrat
Reply #15 on: April 30, 2004, 07:39:29 PM
Quote
One thing that has helped me Tremendously is listening to the recording while reading the sheet music. Since you're relatively new to the piano, listening and reading it can relly help you're rythm and help you picture what it will look like playing it. Try it, it helps.

-Tony-


I second Tony. Also, what best helped me in sight reading is something I didn't see in any of the previous posts. For a few years in my life, I thought it was really fun to do conversions of my sheet musics to computer versions. I used a text-only editor and later switched to a graphic editor. Especially in this second stage, you can't imagine how much I improved on my sight-reading. My favourite to adapt was Toccata and Fugue in Dm by Bach, the most famous one (although I never know the BWV). I also composed a little with it, and when you do basses and such suddenly you learn to recognize exotic notes at a glance.

Alex

Offline tomclear

  • PS Silver Member
  • Jr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 44
Re: Good music to develop sight reading from scrat
Reply #16 on: April 30, 2004, 11:45:55 PM
I went a different path: starting when I was very young, I got ahold of musicals and operas; I'd play through them, then listen to a recording, then play again.
I started being a rehearsal pianist when I was 15.
For more information about this topic, click search below!
 

Logo light pianostreet.com - the website for classical pianists, piano teachers, students and piano music enthusiasts.

Subscribe for unlimited access

Sign up

Follow us

Piano Street Digicert