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Can sight reading be taught - for real (Read 5325 times)

Offline pianoplunker

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Can sight reading be taught - for real
« on: October 05, 2014, 07:36:54 PM »
Hi,
Is there a technique for teaching sight reading ?  Everytime I have asked good sight readers how they learned or how they do it they just say "just do it" or " just read ahead "  . There must be more to it than that.  Is there such a thing as teaching sight reading with a prescribed technique ?  Have you ever had a student that just wanted to learn how to sightread ? 

Offline green

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Re: Can sight reading be taught - for real
«Reply #1 on: October 05, 2014, 07:46:49 PM »
1 Pulse
2 rhythm
3 notes
4 dynamics
5 articulation


Pulse is the foundation, like the cement foundation of a house.
Notes are your walls.
Rhythm the spacing or shape of things in the house.
And articulation/dynamics are the icing on the cake, the roof, the spice in the chili.

Students almost always start by placing their attention on one element, the notes, to the exclusion of pretty much everything else. So practice become about bringing their awareness to the other elements, so that gradually they begin to integrate, gel together.

Sight reading must be practiced in time, always come back to the pulse, the pulse is the ground from which all else is organized. (Funny that pulse is also no-thing ;) )

Use the ABRSM sight reading app, best app ever invented! Built in metronome, and bars disappear as it goes along.

This process is about drawing their attention to the 5 elements, how they build up, and how they CAN be built up and developed. When they all gel together, it is like a hologram, they become integrated  :)

Check it out, let us know how it goes!

Offline Mayla

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Re: Can sight reading be taught - for real
«Reply #2 on: October 06, 2014, 02:26:15 AM »
.
"The greatest thing in this world is not so much where we are, but in what direction we are moving"  ~Oliver Wendell Holmes

Offline kobethuy

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Re: Can sight reading be taught - for real
«Reply #3 on: October 09, 2014, 07:35:22 AM »
As mention above, pulse and rhythm is key. Believe me, when I learned how to tap out the beat, the melody just revealed itself magically. Same goes for the bass accompaniment.

Offline green

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Re: Can sight reading be taught - for real
«Reply #4 on: October 09, 2014, 10:04:56 PM »
Like learning to Juggle, first start with one or two, then gradually add other elements. The key here is doing it, come back to the pulse, that is the center of the mandala. ;)

Learning to read is a very interesting process, what we are looking for are emergent properties, the gelling together of the five elements. Respect the pulse, as kobethuy mentioned, it is like magic, it is a kind of alchemy, conjuring music from all that is indeed magical.  :)

Offline awesom_o

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Re: Can sight reading be taught - for real
«Reply #5 on: October 09, 2014, 10:10:17 PM »
Like learning to Juggle, first start with one or two, then gradually add other elements.

Y
A
Y

J
U
G
G
L
I
N
G
!

Offline j_menz

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Re: Can sight reading be taught - for real
«Reply #6 on: October 09, 2014, 10:51:34 PM »
Y
A
Y

J
U
G
G
L
I
N
G
!

Or when I try,

  G
 UYI
AYJGL  N   G  !
"What the world needs is more geniuses with humility. There are so few of us left" -- Oscar Levant

Offline awesom_o

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Re: Can sight reading be taught - for real
«Reply #7 on: October 10, 2014, 04:29:41 AM »
LOL! You have to just practice the flash while balancing on one foot, so you aren't walking around the room throwing balls every which way!  ;)

Offline pianoplunker

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Re: Can sight reading be taught - for real
«Reply #8 on: October 10, 2014, 07:11:19 AM »
Or when I try,

  G
 UYI
AYJGL  N   G  !

That is exactly what happens when I sight read. For some reason the Y always screws it up

Offline louispodesta

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Re: Can sight reading be taught - for real
«Reply #9 on: October 11, 2014, 10:29:06 PM »
Hi,
Is there a technique for teaching sight reading ?  Everytime I have asked good sight readers how they learned or how they do it they just say "just do it" or " just read ahead "  . There must be more to it than that.  Is there such a thing as teaching sight reading with a prescribed technique ?  Have you ever had a student that just wanted to learn how to sightread ? 
From my post of March 14th:  And, the answer is to your question is an unequivocal yes!  Except, you will never hear of this method used anywhere else.  Please note the paragraph on typing.

"When I was young, I could memorize any new piece for my next lesson, so I never learned how to properly sight read.  When I was in music school, the very best accompanist in the U.S. could not teach me how to read.

So, at the age of 50, I made up my mind that I could do it, and I did.  Mind you, I am not a great sight reader, but I improved well enough to read through 44 piano concertos in 5 years.

Therefore, you need to realize that the hand/eye motor skill of basic sight reading is exactly the same as learning how to type.  It is familiarity with the keyboard, so you can get around without looking down.

The first book you get is "You Can Sight Read Vol. I," by Lorina Havill who taught it at Juilliard for years.  It has exercises where you play single notes, double notes, triads, and then seventh chords up and down the piano in octave sections.  You start out as slow as you can in order to obtain accuracy.  Even though it doesn't seem possible at first, if you practice this every day for just a few minutes, you eventually get to where you can feel your way around.

Next, there is a ten book series entitled "Four Star Sight Reading and Ear Tests, Daily Exercises For Piano Students," by Boris Berlin.  These are very short paperback books that contain very short pieces at various levels of sight reading.  They have a mixture of all genres, including church hymnal scores.  Also, they have sight singing drills and rhythmic practice sections, which are essential to sight reading. 

I recommend that you get volumes 7-10.  They are very inexpensive.

Set the metronome at the lowest possible setting where you can read without stopping, and then read for about 20 minutes a day, and no more.  If you go more than that, it will turn into drudgery and you will hate it.  A great idea is start every practice session by practicing your sight reading.

After you have read through to volume 10 at a slow and steady speed, then you go back to volume number seven, slightly increase the tempo, and then read through to volume 10.  This is the text they have used at the Royal College of Music forever because it works!

In about a year or two, your sight reading will have improved by about 300%.  A good basic yardstick is being able to sight read through Mozart or Haydn piano sonatas at a moderate tempo.  From there, you can decide on whether you want to study accompanying and increase your ability accordingly.

So, practice the first book to develop your ability to get around the keyboard without looking down, and then the Four Star series to practice actual reading.

Good luck to you, and remember, if I could do it, anybody can do it."

Offline kalirren

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Re: Can sight reading be taught - for real
«Reply #10 on: October 19, 2014, 05:05:09 PM »
My teacher taught me very effectively to sight-read by playing duets with me that I had never seen before.

He instructed me to minimize any looking down at the keys and not to stop playing.  If I did stop, he would just keep going, unless I was completely and truly lost.

I don't know -why- it worked, but it worked like a charm.  I studied with him for 3.5 years as a teenager, and I went from not being able to sight-read an easy rendition of a Mozart Minuet to being able to sight-read Beethoven string quartet transcriptions over that time.
Beethoven: An die Ferne Geliebte
Franck: Sonata in A Major
Vieuxtemps: Sonata in Bb Major for Viola
Prokofiev: Sonata for Flute in D Major

Offline louispodesta

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Re: Can sight reading be taught - for real
«Reply #11 on: November 10, 2014, 12:05:40 AM »
My teacher taught me very effectively to sight-read by playing duets with me that I had never seen before.

He instructed me to minimize any looking down at the keys and not to stop playing.  If I did stop, he would just keep going, unless I was completely and truly lost.

I don't know -why- it worked, but it worked like a charm.  I studied with him for 3.5 years as a teenager, and I went from not being able to sight-read an easy rendition of a Mozart Minuet to being able to sight-read Beethoven string quartet transcriptions over that time.
If you have a dedicated teacher who is willing to spend the enormous amount of time necessary to do this (and the money!), then this method works just as well.

Offline jgallag

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Re: Can sight reading be taught - for real
«Reply #12 on: November 16, 2014, 04:18:22 PM »
I cannot speak to it myself as I have yet to try it, but I have found a technique in A Piano Teacher's Legacy: Selected Writings by Richard Chronister. It's on the top of my list of things to try in my lessons this week.

I'll summarize it very briefly. One of the basic skills of sight-reading is to look ahead, as you said. You need to perceive music in shapes and chunks. Chronister also asserts that the real definition of sight-reading is not reading something new, it is reading what you've already seen hundreds of times, just put together in different contexts. Here's the exercise he recommends:

Choose a piece your student knows extremely well. Rewrite out phrases of the music on individual cards/slips of staff paper. Perhaps two measure groupings. Have the student mix them up, then play. As in regular sight-reading, they may not choose a slow tempo (faster is even better), and they may not have time to study the new order before playing. Depending on how long the chunks you chose are, you're now training their eyes to take in the next 2(3,4...) measures while playing the current chunk. Of course, not all combinations will make sense. This is an opportunity to discuss how music is put together, and why certain orders of chunks may be more appropriate than others.

Of course, this exercise would ideally be done alongside the normal sight-reading assignment of, well, lots of sight-reading. Students could take home the chunks and be asked to mix them up and play them in a different order each day. Two of my students are currently working with off-staff notation, but I will be trying this exercise with the rest and seeing what happens, though I suspect I'll have to keep at it for a few weeks to see the real benefit.

Offline timothy42b

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Re: Can sight reading be taught - for real
«Reply #13 on: November 17, 2014, 03:46:11 PM »

Sight reading must be practiced in time, always come back to the pulse, the pulse is the ground from which all else is organized. (Funny that pulse is also no-thing ;) )


That is my opinion too. 

The pulse can be as slow as necessary but you must never lose it. 
Tim

Offline cwjalex

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Re: Can sight reading be taught - for real
«Reply #14 on: December 09, 2014, 11:08:24 AM »
you learn to sight read the same way you learned to read: by constantly doing it with new material. 

Offline timothy42b

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Re: Can sight reading be taught - for real
«Reply #15 on: December 09, 2014, 08:09:44 PM »
you learn to sight read the same way you learned to read: by constantly doing it with new material. 

I believe that is not only not true, but can be counterproductive. 
Tim

Offline cwjalex

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Re: Can sight reading be taught - for real
«Reply #16 on: December 09, 2014, 08:25:47 PM »
I believe that is not only not true, but can be counterproductive. 

how can sight reading regularly with new material be counter productive? 

Offline timothy42b

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Re: Can sight reading be taught - for real
«Reply #17 on: December 09, 2014, 09:43:02 PM »
how can sight reading regularly with new material be counter productive? 

Think about it a little, especially in terms of previous posts.
Tim

Offline j_menz

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Re: Can sight reading be taught - for real
«Reply #18 on: December 09, 2014, 10:11:49 PM »
Think about it a little, especially in terms of previous posts.

I'm assuming you have a point, but I'm missing it too. Please explain for those of us still on our first coffee.
"What the world needs is more geniuses with humility. There are so few of us left" -- Oscar Levant

Offline timothy42b

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Re: Can sight reading be taught - for real
«Reply #19 on: December 10, 2014, 01:51:46 AM »
Because sight reading is not a single skill, but a cluster of contributing factors, and mindlessly reading novel material does little to improve it.  As many here can testify, having tried it. 

Reading novel material of reasonably low difficulty is probably a good way for a novice to learn keyboard geography.  And at the slow beginner level, keyboard geography probably is sight reading. 

But it's a very small part of good sightreading at higher levels, and should have been mastered long ago anyway.

If it has not been, STOP!  Get that piece thoroughly learned.  Then go back to sightreading, intelligently this time, and figure out where your gaps are.  And work on them one at a time. 
Tim

Offline cwjalex

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Re: Can sight reading be taught - for real
«Reply #20 on: December 10, 2014, 02:58:20 AM »
Because sight reading is not a single skill, but a cluster of contributing factors, and mindlessly reading novel material does little to improve it.  As many here can testify, having tried it.  

Reading novel material of reasonably low difficulty is probably a good way for a novice to learn keyboard geography.  And at the slow beginner level, keyboard geography probably is sight reading.  

But it's a very small part of good sightreading at higher levels, and should have been mastered long ago anyway.

If it has not been, STOP!  Get that piece thoroughly learned.  Then go back to sightreading, intelligently this time, and figure out where your gaps are.  And work on them one at a time.  

for me getting better at sight reading was as simple as doing it on a regular basis with new material.  of course you can analyze things deeper, create strategies to improve efficiency and hasten the learning process, but i'm willing to bet the majority of people struggle with it just because they don't do it enough.  when you suck at sight reading it's a chore to regularly put new music in front of your eyes that force you to read rather than remember.  

for the people out there that regularly sight read new music, but still struggle with improving their sight reading ability, by all means call me out and tell me i'm wrong.  i have a hard time believing that sight reading new material regularly is as useless as you claim.

Offline j_menz

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Re: Can sight reading be taught - for real
«Reply #21 on: December 10, 2014, 05:32:17 AM »
Because sight reading is not a single skill, but a cluster of contributing factors, and mindlessly reading novel material does little to improve it.  As many here can testify, having tried it. 

Perhaps you should have done it mindfully from the start.

I agree that there are multiple skills involved, but I do not see how practicing all of them won't improve them.

If it has not been, STOP!  Get that piece thoroughly learned.  Then go back to sightreading, intelligently this time, and figure out where your gaps are.  And work on them one at a time. 

Reading material you have learnt is not sightreading.
"What the world needs is more geniuses with humility. There are so few of us left" -- Oscar Levant

Offline pianoplunker

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Re: Can sight reading be taught - for real
«Reply #22 on: December 10, 2014, 05:58:14 AM »
you learn to sight read the same way you learned to read: by constantly doing it with new material. 

Actually when it comes to reading text I have always been very advanced. Even know how to speed read. No problem, but that is because text does not widen or contract or have sharps or flats. It is all on one line at a time. If I could read and play music as well as I can read text would be fantastic. I originally learned to read text by reading the SAME material over and over.

Offline j_menz

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Re: Can sight reading be taught - for real
«Reply #23 on: December 10, 2014, 06:09:42 AM »
I originally learned to read text by reading the SAME material over and over.

Really? Similar material makes sense - the same material  would explain why some people don't learn.

The same means you can memorise it, and so don't advance the reading skill. Similar means you are encountering material that is somewhat familiar, but has to be read.
"What the world needs is more geniuses with humility. There are so few of us left" -- Oscar Levant

Offline cwjalex

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Re: Can sight reading be taught - for real
«Reply #24 on: December 10, 2014, 12:30:44 PM »
I originally learned to read text by reading the SAME material over and over.

weren't you constantly reading new material when you were watching television, reading signs outside, looking at labels, etc?  kids are bombarded with new text everywhere whether they are looking at their refrigerator, their clothing, or in a book.

a difficult aspect about learning to sight read is that it is very easy to avoid.  having played through a piece i believe you can get around or avoid sight reading in at least 3 different ways:

1) note memory - remembering which notes to play
2) muscle memory - remembering how your fingers move
3) aural memory - remembering what it sounds like

the more you use any type of memory the less you sight read. as soon as you play through a piece once it is impossible not to remember something about it and at the very least you will develop muscle memory.  people with brain damage who are physically unable to form memories are still able to improve at tasks/puzzles through repetition using procedural or implicit memory, which strongly indicates that the second time you play a piece you are not 100% sight reading but are also using some form of memory.  this is why it is important to consistently use new material that you haven't heard to ensure that you are actually sight reading and not relying on some form of memory.




Offline timothy42b

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Re: Can sight reading be taught - for real
«Reply #25 on: December 10, 2014, 01:33:22 PM »


Reading material you have learnt is not sightreading.

My error.  I used the word piece, and of course that would more likely refer to a piece of music than a piece of the whole sightreading picture, which is what I intended.

I don't sightread well on piano, BECAUSE my overall skill is limited, and one can only sightread well within your skill boundaries.  I sightread very well on my other instruments and voice, and have often done so in performance. 

What I meant by stop and master that piece, is use sightreading of any novel material to identify specific weaknesses and then work them until mastered.  For a beginner, it's going to be keyboard geography.  I'm got my finger on C, next note is A, where the heck is A without looking? 

Many people think advanced sightreading is just doing that faster.  It is not; that is beginner level sightreading only.  The process of sightreading is more complex than recognizing a visual pattern and transforming it into a muscle movement.  There are steps in between. 

After keyboard geography, many people will struggle with rhythmic figures.  Well, stop and fix that.  Don't depend on sightreading novel material to add that skill, because that's the least efficient way to do it.

Much sightreading depends on recall of fragments of various size from the memory banks.  These fragments tend to be specific to styles of music, and that is why intermediate sightreaders tend to crash and burn with an unfamiliar genre of music that is well below the difficulty level of stuff they sightread easily.  There is an overlap here with general skill.  Much of piano skill depends on mastering specific difficulties, which is why we work a progression through graded repertoire of various composers. 

Those fragments have to be learned well enough to be recalled, and this is the problem with reading too much novel material.  It doesn't embed the elements for recall.  You can sightread a lot of Bach chorales, and it will teach you to sightread Bach chorales very well, and that will not transfer at all to jazz or pop.  But if you only sightread Bach chorales, and don't spend the time to master a few along the way, your progress will be much slower than it needs to be.  I think the optimum path would be to specialize in sightreading a lot of Bach for a while, including more thoroughly learning at least a few of those pieces, and then move on to a different type of sightreading and do the same thing.  Making the mix too diverse is likely to confuse you.
Tim

Offline cwjalex

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Re: Can sight reading be taught - for real
«Reply #26 on: December 10, 2014, 03:33:06 PM »
My error.  I used the word piece, and of course that would more likely refer to a piece of music than a piece of the whole sightreading picture, which is what I intended.

I don't sightread well on piano, BECAUSE my overall skill is limited, and one can only sightread well within your skill boundaries.  I sightread very well on my other instruments and voice, and have often done so in performance.  

What I meant by stop and master that piece, is use sightreading of any novel material to identify specific weaknesses and then work them until mastered.  For a beginner, it's going to be keyboard geography.  I'm got my finger on C, next note is A, where the heck is A without looking?  

Many people think advanced sightreading is just doing that faster.  It is not; that is beginner level sightreading only.  The process of sightreading is more complex than recognizing a visual pattern and transforming it into a muscle movement.  There are steps in between.  

After keyboard geography, many people will struggle with rhythmic figures.  Well, stop and fix that.  Don't depend on sightreading novel material to add that skill, because that's the least efficient way to do it.

Much sightreading depends on recall of fragments of various size from the memory banks.  These fragments tend to be specific to styles of music, and that is why intermediate sightreaders tend to crash and burn with an unfamiliar genre of music that is well below the difficulty level of stuff they sightread easily.  There is an overlap here with general skill.  Much of piano skill depends on mastering specific difficulties, which is why we work a progression through graded repertoire of various composers.  

Those fragments have to be learned well enough to be recalled, and this is the problem with reading too much novel material.  It doesn't embed the elements for recall.  You can sightread a lot of Bach chorales, and it will teach you to sightread Bach chorales very well, and that will not transfer at all to jazz or pop.  But if you only sightread Bach chorales, and don't spend the time to master a few along the way, your progress will be much slower than it needs to be.  I think the optimum path would be to specialize in sightreading a lot of Bach for a while, including more thoroughly learning at least a few of those pieces, and then move on to a different type of sightreading and do the same thing.  Making the mix too diverse is likely to confuse you.

you seem to be combining sight reading with overall piano skill.  thoroughly learning pieces, while invaluable for technique, will do nothing to improve sight reading ability.  you say, "use sight reading to identify specific weaknesses and then work them until mastered", but sight reading itself is the weakness. this thread is specifically about sight reading and it's obvious one needs the technical ability to play a piece in order to sight read it.  

when you say "sight read new material" it is redundant because if you are sight reading it is for all intents and purposes, new.  curiously, you seem to be saying that to improve sight reading, don't do it and that doing it too much will actually have a negative effect.  i can imagine a scenario where this is true, but 99% of people who struggle with sight reading are struggling because they aren't doing it enough, not because they do it too much.

Offline awesom_o

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Re: Can sight reading be taught - for real
«Reply #27 on: December 10, 2014, 03:35:43 PM »
you seem to be combining sight reading with overall piano skill.

I haven't met anyone who has either one of these things but not both. I know a ton of people with both, and a ton of people with neither, but NOBODY with just one.  :)

Offline timothy42b

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Re: Can sight reading be taught - for real
«Reply #28 on: December 10, 2014, 03:53:32 PM »
you seem to be combining sight reading with overall piano skill.  thoroughly learning pieces, while invaluable for technique, will do nothing to improve sight reading ability.  you say, "use sight reading to identify specific weaknesses and then work them until mastered", but sight reading itself is the weakness. this thread is specifically about sight reading and it's obvious that you need the technical ability to play the piece in order to sight read it. 


You are 100% convinced your understanding is not only correct but the only possible one.

I have suggested there is another way to look at it that offers some more concrete suggestions than "just do a lot of it."  It may not be correct in part or in whole, but looking at it from this vewpoint has been useful.

Your mind is closed pretty tightly, I'm sorry to say.

Quote
thoroughly learning pieces, while invaluable for technique, will do nothing to improve sight reading ability.
  Nothing?  Really?  Let's take a very simple example.  I play a lot of hymns.  Many are in the key of D.  All hymns in the key of D will have at least one spot where the left hand plays (first note always lowest) two notes together as D-A, A-A, A-G.  First time i sight read that I came pretty close.  But I recognized that as a common pattern, and worked on it until it was solid.  Now when I see it I play it automatically without having to prima facie sight read it, no decisions about fingering, etc.  It is retrieved from a well learned section of the memory banks, rather than being invented on the fly; this is 100 times faster and easier.  Is that really sightreading?  Maybe not by your definition, but it is the basis of how the good sightreaders make it look easy.  Pattern recognition is one of the main keys to sightreading, and pattern retrieval is the best way for rapid sightplaying. 

Quote
but sight reading itself is the weakness
I do not believe sightreading is a monolithic skill, but rather a collection of separate skills.  Therefore your assertion does not make sense.  There are people who have good keyboard geography skills but don't understand syncopated rhythms.  When they attempt to read a big band piece they will get their fingers in the right spots at the wrong times.  They have just identified something to work on that will greatly improve their sightreading ability - for big band pieces, pop, contemporary, some jazz.  Probably there will be zero improvement on a 4/4 hymn.  Once they thoroughly learn complex rhythms they no longer have to count them.  And that's why just reading novel material doesn't always help, as many threads on piano forums attest.  You have to do the same material enough times to learn it (same fragments anyway) for it to be retrievable. 

Can you play the same SATB piece on two staves just as easily when it's on four, with the parts separated?  Why not, the notes are the same, the keyboard is the same?  If sightreading were purely one skill, this wouldn't be a problem.  But it is for most of us, at first.  It is also easily solvable with some practice.  But it would be directed practice at that type of material. 
Tim

Offline cwjalex

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Re: Can sight reading be taught - for real
«Reply #29 on: December 10, 2014, 04:49:34 PM »
You are 100% convinced your understanding is not only correct but the only possible one.

I have suggested there is another way to look at it that offers some more concrete suggestions than "just do a lot of it."  It may not be correct in part or in whole, but looking at it from this viewpoint has been useful.

Your mind is closed pretty tightly, I'm sorry to say.

not at all. i am open to all kinds of suggestions. i believe you are the one that started this by shooting down my suggestion to simply sight read regularly with new material. i pretty much just echoed what most people who are good at sight reading give for advice while comparing it to learning written language.

in your hymn example you describe how mastering a short sequence of notes improved your reading ability, but mastering a few common patterns or measures is different from thoroughly learning an entire piece.  the majority of time spent mastering an entire piece would not yield much improvement in sight reading and would not nearly be as effective as simply sight reading an unfamiliar piece.

@ awesome_o - really?  i've met a lot of people who have amazing playing ability but can't sight read at all.  when i had been playing piano for about 6 months i could play grade 7-8 pieces but i probably had the sight reading level of grade 1. also, every blind piano player falls into this category.  

the guy in this vid is amazing.  he's blind, perfect pitch, can play anything back after only hearing it once and can play anything in any key.



on the other hand, i've never met someone who can sight read well that can't also play well.  

Offline pianoplunker

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Re: Can sight reading be taught - for real
«Reply #30 on: December 10, 2014, 05:08:42 PM »
Really? Similar material makes sense - the same material  would explain why some people don't learn.

The same means you can memorise it, and so don't advance the reading skill. Similar means you are encountering material that is somewhat familiar, but has to be read.

 I find I do sightread much better if I am familiar with the style of the music.  But still with glaring weaknesses. In sightreading, when the notes get farther apart it becomes difficult to execute on time.

Offline awesom_o

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Re: Can sight reading be taught - for real
«Reply #31 on: December 10, 2014, 05:11:00 PM »

@ awesome_o - really?  i've met a lot of people who have amazing playing ability but can't sight read at all.   

Maybe their abilities weren't as amazing as you thought they were? Hard for me to say that, cause I haven't heard these people you speak of.... but how do you know they had amazing ability but couldn't read at all? What defines amazing ability, and how could you be sure they couldn't read well? Being able to play a few advanced pieces without being able to read simple stuff well doesn't constitute amazing ability at an instrument.

Blind people who play wonderfully (and there are many such people out there) COULD sightread if their vision allowed it.... sight-reading is about how well you know the keyboard by FEEL, and anyone who can play well without their vision has this level of musical knowledge.

Offline cwjalex

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Re: Can sight reading be taught - for real
«Reply #32 on: December 10, 2014, 05:24:41 PM »
Maybe their abilities weren't as amazing as you thought they were? Hard for me to say that, cause I haven't heard these people you speak of.... but how do you know they had amazing ability but couldn't read at all? What defines amazing ability, and how could you be sure they couldn't read well? Being able to play a few advanced pieces without being able to read simple stuff well doesn't constitute amazing ability at an instrument.

Blind people who play wonderfully (and there are many such people out there) COULD sightread if their vision allowed it.... sight-reading is about how well you know the keyboard by FEEL, and anyone who can play well without their vision has this level of musical knowledge.

i'm saying people can physically play an instrument well, meaning they can produce nice music, without knowing theory or being able to sight read.  You keep leaving out the key word "playing" when i say amazing playing ability.  take yanni for instance, if given a beautiful classical piece i'm sure he could perform it well and produce nice sound even though he can't even read music let alone sight read.  

I don't think it's fair to say that every amazing blind piano player would be able to sight read at a high level if they could see.  sight reading isn't only about feel.  you have to be able to translate what is on the paper to the piano.

Offline awesom_o

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Re: Can sight reading be taught - for real
«Reply #33 on: December 10, 2014, 07:13:53 PM »
you have to be able to translate what is on the paper to the piano.

Which ultimately means you have an amazing feel for the instrument!

 ;)

Offline j_menz

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Re: Can sight reading be taught - for real
«Reply #34 on: December 10, 2014, 10:27:49 PM »
I don't sightread well on piano, BECAUSE my overall skill is limited, and one can only sightread well within your skill boundaries. 

This is undoubtedly true. Clearly one can't sightread what one struggles to play.

I'm not suggesting that one doesn't need to also develop technical skills. But that will only improve one's reading if one also practices reading.

I find I do sightread much better if I am familiar with the style of the music.  But still with glaring weaknesses. In sightreading, when the notes get farther apart it becomes difficult to execute on time.

This is part of the above, in part.

Aside from that, some things are easier or harder to read independently of whether or not the are difficult to play once one is familiar with them.

Multiple staves, unfamiliar rhythms, unfamiliar harmonies, long bars with lots of accidentals going on and off, and simply awfully printed (or handwritten) scores will always present extra challenges. That list isn't meant to be exclusive, either - just some recent peeves.
"What the world needs is more geniuses with humility. There are so few of us left" -- Oscar Levant

Offline timothy42b

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Re: Can sight reading be taught - for real
«Reply #35 on: December 11, 2014, 02:52:12 AM »
and off, and simply awfully printed (or handwritten) scores will always present extra challenges.

Hate hate hate those manuscript scores, especially for a musical where the notes themselves are challenging enough.

When given time I take them home and type them into notation, despite the copyright violation.
Tim

Offline pianoplunker

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Re: Can sight reading be taught - for real
«Reply #36 on: December 11, 2014, 04:50:06 AM »
This is undoubtedly true. Clearly one can't sightread what one struggles to play.

I'm not suggesting that one doesn't need to also develop technical skills. But that will only improve one's reading if one also practices reading.

This is part of the above, in part.

Aside from that, some things are easier or harder to read independently of whether or not the are difficult to play once one is familiar with them.

Multiple staves, unfamiliar rhythms, unfamiliar harmonies, long bars with lots of accidentals going on and off, and simply awfully printed (or handwritten) scores will always present extra challenges. That list isn't meant to be exclusive, either - just some recent peeves.

One of my peeves is when sharps or flats are marked when I already new it was a sharp or flat. That slight extra thought about "why" it is marked throws me,