Piano Forum



Who's in Charge? - Masterclass in Conducting from the Piano
The list of renowned pianists who have also conducted is long; Barenboim, Schiff, Ushida, Pletnev, Kahane, Anda, Solti and Bernstein. Is conducting from the piano "real conducting”, and what training do you need to be able to do it? The new project ”Conducting from the Piano” by the Géza Anda Foundation in Zurich offers masterclasses and rehearsals with orchestra for pianists wanting to take on the double role of soloist and conductor. Read more >>

Topic: Sight Reading Hell..p  (Read 2972 times)

Offline Sekoul

  • PS Silver Member
  • Jr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 61
Sight Reading Hell..p
on: January 16, 2005, 07:44:06 PM
Im so ashamed... i can play college level pieces and my sight reading is probably not even good enough to pass a grade 3 test... is there anything that could help? i want to be able to sight read pieces so id be able to play music at bars.. is this somehow possible? what do i have to do??

Offline dlu

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 404
Re: Sight Reading Hell..p
Reply #1 on: January 16, 2005, 08:35:48 PM
What do you have to do? Practice, my friend....

Offline goalevan

  • PS Silver Member
  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 241
Re: Sight Reading Hell..p
Reply #2 on: January 16, 2005, 08:58:26 PM
Below are a bunch of topics gathered up by Bernhard referring mostly to Richman's Super Sight Reading Secrets. From what I know from experience and hear from others from this board Richman's book is the best choice.

(below from https://pianoforum.net/smf/index.php/topic,5411.0.html)


Have a look here:

https://pianoforum.net/smf/index.php/topic,1871.msg14384.html#msg14384
(Reading notation – Richmann’s book – Cambridge word scramble example)

https://pianoforum.net/smf/index.php/topic,1976.msg15962.html#msg15962
(Sight reading – discussion of Richmann’s book)

https://pianoforum.net/smf/index.php/topic,2713.msg23282.html#msg23282
(full explanation for the grand staff)

https://pianoforum.net/smf/index.php/topic,2751.msg23710.html#msg23710
(detailed explanation of the sight-reading process)

https://pianoforum.net/smf/index.php/topic,2757.msg23890.html#msg23890
(Sight reading techniques)

https://pianoforum.net/smf/index.php/topic,2763.msg25148.html#msg25148
(music to develop sight reading from scratch)

https://pianoforum.net/smf/index.php/topic,3205.msg28255.html#msg28255
(how not to look at the keys – discussion of Richmann’s reviews)

https://pianoforum.net/smf/index.php/topic,3334.msg29381.html#msg29381
(Detailed discussion of Richmann’s book)

https://pianoforum.net/smf/index.php/topic,4461.msg41580.html#msg41580
(Looking at the keys: Good or bad?  exercises to help finding notes by touch. Good contributions by Chang).

https://pianoforum.net/smf/index.php/topic,4506.msg42967.html#msg42967
(accompanying as the best way to teach/learn sightreading)

https://pianoforum.net/smf/index.php/topic,5090.msg48850.html#msg48850
(the score is tabs for piano)

(Sight reading is a very popular subject on PF – this is just the tip of the iceberg :P)

Best wishes,
Bernhard


best of luck

Offline Ludwig Van Rachabji

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 502
Re: Sight Reading Hell..p
Reply #3 on: January 16, 2005, 09:41:25 PM
How do you improve your sight reading?

JUST DO IT!

I remember when I was 12 years old. I had just learned the Pathetique, but my sight reading was a disaster. Well... I started getting caught up in Beethoven Sonatas. I just starting sight reading them. Soon, I was sight reading the Hammerklavier! My teacher told me that my sight reading was the best that she had ever seen in her life (and she had studied at the Royal School of Music), and moved me up from what was considered 'advanced' sight reading books to sight reading Chopin etudes. By the time I was 13 I started sight reading the Rach 3, Gaspard de la Nuit, Opus Clavicembalisticum, etc..

You see, all you have to do is work at it. Every day, as part of your regular practice time, pick up a book and sight read. It doesn't matter how difficult it is. In fact, it's probably better if you pick something that is beyond your ability. That is what I did, and surprisingly, rather than ruining my technique, it helped it.

Give it a try. Good luck!
Music... can name the unnameable and communicate the unknowable. Leonard Bernstein

Offline Etude

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 908
Re: Sight Reading Hell..p
Reply #4 on: January 16, 2005, 11:59:37 PM
Wow, you sight-read OC?;)  It'd take me a fortnight each to learn a few lines at a time :P.  Anyway, at least it's easier to sightread than to get your hands on the score.  The only copy at the RNCM has actually gone missing from the library.  ;)

Offline richard w

  • PS Silver Member
  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 200
Re: Sight Reading Hell..p
Reply #5 on: January 17, 2005, 12:30:51 AM
Etude_de_Concert, are you at the RNCM?

Offline Etude

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 908
Re: Sight Reading Hell..p
Reply #6 on: January 17, 2005, 01:14:56 AM
Etude_de_Concert, are you at the RNCM?

I'm actually in the junior RNCM.  I'm in my first year there but after this one I only have two more years before I leave and go on to University or whatever.

Offline Brian Healey

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 454
Re: Sight Reading Hell..p
Reply #7 on: January 17, 2005, 03:57:46 AM
I find Bach chorales to be excellent for sight-reading practice. If you're a beginner, and you have trouble sight-reading the full chords, then try doing just one hand at a time for a little while. If you can get to the point where you can sight read a chorale at tempo, then you'll be a decent sight-reader, and surprisingly, it doesn't take long. It's also important to get used to not needing to look at your hands when you play, because the more you have to take your eyes off the music, the more it will slow you down. Good Luck!


Peace,
Bri

Offline Bob

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 16335
Re: Sight Reading Hell..p
Reply #8 on: January 17, 2005, 04:11:07 AM
Brain, what edition do you recommend for the Bach chorales?  Is there a certain group of them?

I worked a little out of a Bach chorale book I checked out of the library.  I don't remember how complete is was.... Is it possible to get them all?  This book I looked at was about 3-4 inches thick.

Church hymnals are also another good way to improve your sight-reading.
Favorite new teacher quote -- "You found the only possible wrong answer."

Offline Brian Healey

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 454
Re: Sight Reading Hell..p
Reply #9 on: January 17, 2005, 05:43:54 AM
The book I have is the Riemanschneider edition published by Schirmer. It's actually very good. It's got all 371 of the Bach harmonized chorales in a book that's about half an inch think. It's enough to keep you sight-reading for quite a long time without repeating anything. The print is obviously much smaller than usual, but I personally have no trouble reading it. They usually fit about 4-5 chorales on each page. Riemanschneider also provided notes for all the chorales in the back, so if you ever stage a chorale concert, you've got most of your program notes right there.

Now, Bach did compose more than 371 chorales, although he only harmonized 371 of them (not including his organ chorale preludes). The book also contains 69 of his unharmonized chorale melodies with figured bass notation, but that probably won't help you much. Basically, all the chorales that you need for sight-reading purposes are represented.

Peace,
Bri

Offline whynot

  • PS Gold Member
  • Sr. Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 466
Re: Sight Reading Hell..p
Reply #10 on: January 17, 2005, 06:18:43 PM
Yeah, Bach chorales all the way.  I'm very intrigued by Bernhard's list and want to check that out.  I'm actually the best sightreader I've ever met (NOT the best pianist, to be sure), and the following are what I've done to get more comfortable reading music.  I know that people who don't read well have differing problems, so I think it's helpful to try to nail down exactly what's hard for you.  Even if it ends up being all the following elements, that's still useful to know. 

Many people blow off rhythm until they know the notes, but the rhythm is part of the note.   Since rhythmic combinations are pretty consistent within genres, you could go through, say, the Beethoven slow movements as someone suggested (subdivision upon subdivision!) and just figure out the hardest looking rhythms.  You would quickly see that they're very similar to one another.  I would be very very precise about this, because once you crack that code, everything will look easier right away. 

Others who don't read well just don't read BASS clef well.  And they sightread and memorize the right hand first, which reinforces reading top-to-bottom, instead of bass-up or, as I do, just a big chunk all at once.  If you tend to pay the most attention to the right hand, you might try reading the bass chords in the chorales WITHOUT STOPPING and a ton of other left hand parts for two weeks.  Then try to start seeing the shapes of chords, as if it were a drawing, instead of the names of each note.  I never think note names while I'm playing, even as a kid I felt it took too much time.     

When I was younger, I decided one summer that I was sick of looking down at my hands all the time.  I felt it was slowing down my reading and thought if I could only keep looking at the music, I'd read a lot better.  And it was true.  I spent that summer playing rags with stride left hand, or just making up my own stride patterns.  When I learned how to jump around accurately without looking in C major, I started working in all 12 keys.  It wasn't tedious at all, it was fascinating.  I've never had to work on that again, it went so deep into my memory.  If you haven't done this before, you have to be brave.  It takes courage to fly through the air blindly knowing you'll land in strange places for a while.  But even when it's wrong, it's helpful, because you'll see tendencies right away that will tell you something.   

One more quick thing, sorry this is so long, but I think sightreading well is such a pleasure and asset, I hope some of this helps a little...  how's your transposition?  If you play some really easy things (not your normal repertoire) IN EVERY KEY, you start to experience harmonic relationships in a deeper way, and then you can read in "difficult" keys without anxiety.  For me, there are no difficult keys because music works the same way in every key.  I guess I've said enough for now!  Best of luck.

     

Offline Sekoul

  • PS Silver Member
  • Jr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 61
Re: Sight Reading Hell..p
Reply #11 on: January 18, 2005, 02:08:01 AM
the problem is that i sit down and i try to figure out notes one by one. Of course some just make sense... in the treble mostly... but sum in the bass cleff and the lines under and over just totally confuse me and i have to count relative to notes i know its really retarded.. so u can imagine how long it took me to learn something like rachmaninoff prelude op3 no2...

Offline Sekoul

  • PS Silver Member
  • Jr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 61
Re: Sight Reading Hell..p
Reply #12 on: January 18, 2005, 03:13:33 AM
i just found the chorales... how do you play these pieces?? each hand seperately or all 4 at the same time or wut:S:S:S...
https://wso.williams.edu/cpdl/sheet/bwv-254a.pdf

Offline Brian Healey

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 454
Re: Sight Reading Hell..p
Reply #13 on: January 18, 2005, 03:35:54 AM
Quote
i just found the chorales... how do you play these pieces?? each hand seperately or all 4 at the same time or wut:S:S:S...
https://wso.williams.edu/cpdl/sheet/bwv-254a.pdf

That's going to be hard, because they're in chorale format (4 staves). You need to get an edition where the four parts are condensed to a grand staff (2 staves, like a regualr piano score). The Riemannschneider edition by Schirmer is a good one to get.

Although, if you're already a good sight-reader (looking your way, whynot), you could use the four stave chorales to help further your sight reading skills. I'm talking about reading four different staves at once. I had a theory teacher in college who was an amazing sight-reader (and overall pianist). She could sight-read an orchestral score and pare it down to a decent piano reduction on the spot. Never seen anything like it.

Peace,
Bri

Offline DarkWind

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 729
Re: Sight Reading Hell..p
Reply #14 on: January 18, 2005, 05:44:18 AM
Liszt Etudes are great for sightreading. Them and some other pieces boosted my sight reading skills significantly. Recently, I rather succesfully sight read most of the Le Festin d'Esope, save for the really, extremely, fast parts. I also got to sight read the Menuet from his Symphony for Solo Piano, not much of an etude, since it's actually not too difficult. But, it's a great piece, one of my favorites.

Offline Sekoul

  • PS Silver Member
  • Jr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 61
Re: Sight Reading Hell..p
Reply #15 on: January 19, 2005, 12:01:11 AM
lol im learning campanella... im over the first half... and im having trouble reading it while ur talkin abt sight reading it lol... that's how bad i am

Offline IllBeBach

  • PS Silver Member
  • Jr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 40
Re: Sight Reading Hell..p
Reply #16 on: January 19, 2005, 05:53:14 PM
Reading Chorales is a good idea, but if that's too hard get a graduated piano method that you've never studied and start with the first book (see if you can borrow a set from a piano teacher or friend).  Play straight through it until you start having trouble--that will give you an idea of where you stand.  Look for collections of easy minuets/classical teaching pieces/songs, etc. that seem about the same level as this and read through one or two each day.

Also watch how you read--if you just read by letter name, it's much slower than reading by interval or chord.  Try to get fluent at reading letter names to start with, then move as quickly as you can to reading by interval.  Once you are fluent at reading by intervals, then try begin reading by chord as well.

The benefits of interval reading works on the the same principle as a computer language, that is, by information compression.  If you read by letter name, you are acquiring only one bit of information at a time; if you read by interval you are acquiring 2 bits of information at a time--thus doubling the rate at which you read.  Seeing the intervals grouped into chords increases your reading even more.
Soli Deo Gloria

Offline Piazzo22

  • PS Silver Member
  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 145
Re: Sight Reading Hell..p
Reply #17 on: January 21, 2005, 04:39:40 AM
I have a question?
When you are sightreading, do you use comfortable fingerings?
Is it possible to use correct fingerings while sight-reading? Otherwise is not very much useful on learning a new piece, is it?
August Förster (Löbau) owner.

Offline Ludwig Van Rachabji

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 502
Re: Sight Reading Hell..p
Reply #18 on: January 21, 2005, 04:40:50 AM
When you develop your technique to a high enough level, you will know what the fingering has to be without even reading it.
Music... can name the unnameable and communicate the unknowable. Leonard Bernstein

Offline brsmpianist

  • PS Silver Member
  • Jr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 37
Re: Sight Reading Hell..p
Reply #19 on: January 28, 2005, 01:14:22 AM
Bach chorales, Schubert songs, Mozart songs... practice sightreading these every single day.  I too am a pretty horrible sightreader (for someone at my level) so i try to put in at least thirty mins of sr every day.  My music school requires a sr class so got lots of pointers from there yay!  ;D

Offline Dikai

  • PS Silver Member
  • Jr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 55
Re: Sight Reading Hell..p
Reply #20 on: January 28, 2005, 01:54:41 AM
when i was younger, i learned sight reading in the church actually.  in our church, the people just call the hymn number, we turn to that page, and we play it.  naturally i was under a lot of pressure.  but after a while, it just became natural.  it feels good to be able to sight read fast eh, because when you see a piece of music, you know what's going on.  another thing is, try to familiarze yourself with the scales and variations of the keys (like c, d-flat, a, etc., is "key" the english word for it??  my english is not very good), you'll find that useful.  especially for the clasical period, when things were still quite "standard", if you know a key really well, you're pretty much set.  because all the notes are gonna flow in some form of variation of that particular key...  but it can get tricky if you want to sight read 20th century or impressionistic music though, it's not just the notes anymore, it's got interesting rythms and etc to worry about//
 

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