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Lang Lang Takes On The Goldberg
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Topic: Sight Reading - How To Actually Do It?  (Read 3494 times)

Offline svensknavi

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Sight Reading - How To Actually Do It?
on: March 08, 2018, 12:14:42 AM
Hello all. I'm trying to actually get my sight reading skills up, and long story short, I'm really confused on how to actually do it.

As an example, a piece that I have here that I expect should be a fairly simple read is Bach's C Major prelude. As part of sight reading, I'm not looking down at the piano while playing. Thus brings up my first obstacle: by the time I'm having to change notes in the left hand, I'm not even sure where my hand is anymore. It's one thing when it's like the right hand where the notes are next to each other so I can see the movement, but half a bar apart, I'm not sure how I should actually managing that. And then in a similar boat, a recurring tip I've been told is to read ahead while playing, which make sit seem as though I'm temporarily memorizing notes before I play them, and then playing?

I'm not totally sure how to really explain where I'm lost in this, but maybe someone can relate, or has some advice beyond what you can easily find with a Google search. Thanks.

Offline ryoutak

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Re: Sight Reading - How To Actually Do It?
Reply #1 on: March 08, 2018, 12:58:51 AM
Hello all. I'm trying to actually get my sight reading skills up, and long story short, I'm really confused on how to actually do it.

As an example, a piece that I have here that I expect should be a fairly simple read is Bach's C Major prelude. As part of sight reading, I'm not looking down at the piano while playing. Thus brings up my first obstacle: by the time I'm having to change notes in the left hand, I'm not even sure where my hand is anymore. It's one thing when it's like the right hand where the notes are next to each other so I can see the movement, but half a bar apart, I'm not sure how I should actually managing that. And then in a similar boat, a recurring tip I've been told is to read ahead while playing, which make sit seem as though I'm temporarily memorizing notes before I play them, and then playing?

I'm not totally sure how to really explain where I'm lost in this, but maybe someone can relate, or has some advice beyond what you can easily find with a Google search. Thanks.

If the bars are far apart, it's ok to look at the keyboard for a while to locate your keys. And it is also ok if you've temporarily memorize the notes so you can remember where to position your hands/fingers.

This is the method that my teacher has asked me to practice since I started my second grade. In order to improve my sight reading, I immediately play a small bar of the piece with hands together for my first time, trying to get as many notes correct as possible. The idea of doing this is to train myself to get used to playing the notes correctly on first try whenever I look at the music sheet.

So far it has been effective and I have been using this method. Since I'm only an intermediate player, I've been using Joining the Dots for practice and also playing old pieces (which I've forgotten majority of the score), or played a lower grade piece which I've never seen. Not sure if it's helpful for you, but I've been doing this for more than a year. Sadly, as a result of this, I'm been getting lazier at memorizing pieces since I could sight-read better than a year ago.

Offline brogers70

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Re: Sight Reading - How To Actually Do It?
Reply #2 on: March 08, 2018, 06:54:22 PM
Here are a few thing that helped (or are helping) my sight reading.

1. Practice scales and arpeggios with your eyes closed.

2. Practice finding notes with your eyes closed, by feeling the black keys.

3. Play very, very simple pieces that are new to you without ever looking at your hands, very slowly.  This is a pain, and extreme, and only one approach among several.

4. Ease off from the previous exercise - play anything at all that you don't know, but play it slowly enough that you can keep it in rhythm with relatively few mistakes. Look at your hands if you need to. You aim to get through the piece without breaking the rhythm, but there's no need to be hyper dogmatic about it; lightening won't strike if you occasionally (but really only occasionally) stop and try again in the middle of a piece. Go slow enough that your brain won't explode when you try to look ahead to see what's coming up. Once you get to the point that you can get some feeling for the way the piece sounds by reading through it this way, it becomes fun just to read through lots of music. Start with simple this, Music for Millions Easy Classics to Moderns, Clementi Sonatinas, and then work up to gradually more difficult things.

5. My teacher also recommended the "just go for it" approach - pick something fairly hard, try to keep the rhythm and hit as many notes in the general vicinity of the right ones as often as you can. I found this completely unhelpful, at my level, anyway. But using the first four things listed above for 6-8 months maybe 20 minutes a day I've improved a good bit.

Offline pianoplunker

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Re: Sight Reading - How To Actually Do It?
Reply #3 on: March 08, 2018, 10:28:56 PM
Hello all. I'm trying to actually get my sight reading skills up, and long story short, I'm really confused on how to actually do it.

As an example, a piece that I have here that I expect should be a fairly simple read is Bach's C Major prelude. As part of sight reading, I'm not looking down at the piano while playing. Thus brings up my first obstacle: by the time I'm having to change notes in the left hand, I'm not even sure where my hand is anymore. It's one thing when it's like the right hand where the notes are next to each other so I can see the movement, but half a bar apart, I'm not sure how I should actually managing that. And then in a similar boat, a recurring tip I've been told is to read ahead while playing, which make sit seem as though I'm temporarily memorizing notes before I play them, and then playing?

I'm not totally sure how to really explain where I'm lost in this, but maybe someone can relate, or has some advice beyond what you can easily find with a Google search. Thanks.

Try just sight reading hands-separate .   Maybe your left hand just needs more work

Offline xdjuicebox

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Re: Sight Reading - How To Actually Do It?
Reply #4 on: March 09, 2018, 06:21:26 AM
Here are a few thing that helped (or are helping) my sight reading.

1. Practice scales and arpeggios with your eyes closed.

2. Practice finding notes with your eyes closed, by feeling the black keys.

3. Play very, very simple pieces that are new to you without ever looking at your hands, very slowly.  This is a pain, and extreme, and only one approach among several.

4. Ease off from the previous exercise - play anything at all that you don't know, but play it slowly enough that you can keep it in rhythm with relatively few mistakes. Look at your hands if you need to. You aim to get through the piece without breaking the rhythm, but there's no need to be hyper dogmatic about it; lightening won't strike if you occasionally (but really only occasionally) stop and try again in the middle of a piece. Go slow enough that your brain won't explode when you try to look ahead to see what's coming up. Once you get to the point that you can get some feeling for the way the piece sounds by reading through it this way, it becomes fun just to read through lots of music. Start with simple this, Music for Millions Easy Classics to Moderns, Clementi Sonatinas, and then work up to gradually more difficult things.

5. My teacher also recommended the "just go for it" approach - pick something fairly hard, try to keep the rhythm and hit as many notes in the general vicinity of the right ones as often as you can. I found this completely unhelpful, at my level, anyway. But using the first four things listed above for 6-8 months maybe 20 minutes a day I've improved a good bit.

This this this this this! I would add a little more to this - if you're going to be sightreading difficult material frequently, get that blindfold, put it on, and practice jumps blindfolded. It is incredibly frustrating, and I just started doing this myself, but it /is/ improveable.

If you watch Artur Rubenstein play the Chopin Ab polonaise, a lot of the time he doesn't even look down. Quite remarkable really, and there's a blind Japanese dude who can play La Campanella...so it's definitely doable!

I find having a mental image of the keyboard really helps, both in sightreading and in blindfolded playing.
I am trying to become Franz Liszt. Trying. And failing.

Offline reynolduk

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Re: Sight Reading - How To Actually Do It?
Reply #5 on: March 11, 2018, 02:51:25 PM
Sight-reading is part of learning to play the Piano. Playing the piano is the other part. How to start? Read-up theory of music! Itís well documented. Get a book on Theory of music. Start to appreciate what are the following markings on the music sheet:
1: What, Where is the Treble, Bass clef on the sheet music what is the composer of this sheet music telling your hands, play with right hand the following notes, play with the left the following notes. How fast should your playing be, what value is each note on the sheet worth with respect to a common time. Play each note, pitch for your rhythm to common time.
2: Analyse all the markings on the music sheet.
3: Learn theory, music theory away from the piano to then sight-read music sheet.
4: Understand music concepts, Time signature, Key Signature, Accidentals, Scales, Degree os scales in an Octave. What are the 7 pitches called? Tonic to Tonic notes. What is a chord? How is a chord denoted on the music sheet. What is Major scale? What is a Minor scale? How are the two modes related and identified? What is inversion of a chord? What is a chord progression? What is a harmony? What is a Melody? All these are noted on the music sheet. It is not written in English but in music symbol to mean how to play, express and play the note and for how long.
5: Take on sight-reading on one hand at a time, the treble clef (Top) for your right hand. Read the notes on the lines of space. A note on each line of space determines the keys to play. For example C, on line as a Middle C.
6: Repeat and practice reading until you read and play at the same time. It wonít come to you first time you try to read sheet music.
7:  Repeat Reading more each day
8: it will then become second nature once you understand Theory behind music, music notation and sheet music

Offline clouseau

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Re: Sight Reading - How To Actually Do It?
Reply #6 on: March 11, 2018, 07:13:54 PM
The method of becoming a good sight-reader is quite straightforward. Just do it every day for 10-20 minutes, and you will gradually improve.
If you are starting off, you have to put your ego aside and start with really easy stuff, like easy pieces from method books for children. One way to go is first book of Bartok's Mikrokosmos or Mozart's book for Nannerl (available on IMSLP). Then you can gradually increase the difficulty. Choose something manageable but not too easy.
They key is:
Play so slow, that you can maintain a steady tempo and play the notes right.

One good series, is "Improve your sight-reading!" from Paul Harris, with pieces of increasing difficulty. But you don't have to buy a book to learn to sightread, if you have easy material available.
"What the devil do you mean to sing to me, priest? You are out of tune." - Rameau

Offline bernadette60614

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Re: Sight Reading - How To Actually Do It?
Reply #7 on: April 29, 2018, 05:18:01 PM
I think the way to get better at reading, period, is to read.

At the end of every practice session, I spend about 15 minutes just playing through one of those big books of easy to intermediate piano classics.  I don't strive for absolute perfection, but I just play.

I need to improve in a lot of areas (according my teacher!) but my sightreading is probably my strongest skill...and it just comes from doing 15 minutes of easy sight reading daily..and then gradually moving up to intermediate reading.
 

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