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#1019520 - 06/05/08 12:18 PM Re: How to practice sight reading (help)
Coolkid70 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/27/08
Posts: 378
Loc: Irvine, CA
Of course.

I wasn't saying that you would not improve sight reading by improving your technique. My sightreading has definitely improved as I've progressed with the piano.

Gyro's claim was that you could only improve sightreading if you improve your technical ability, which was obviously false.
Kawai K-3 (2008)

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#1019521 - 06/06/08 05:13 AM Re: How to practice sight reading (help)
Jamie147 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/05/08
Posts: 212
Loc: England, UK
I read this post yesterday off line at home at I want to thank the contributors in particular Betty for the fantastic and easy to absorb advice. You're posts eliminate the need to buy expensive music books. \:D

There were lots of details I never knew and techniques to make retaining the information easier. Just what I need at a time when I'm finding it increasingly harder to put fingers to keys.

Thanks! \:\)
We are the melodies and the notes of your opus. We are the music of your life.

#1019522 - 06/06/08 01:12 PM Re: How to practice sight reading (help)
Betty Patnude Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/11/07
Posts: 4896
Loc: Puyallup, Washington
Zazen said: "I have to admit I'm now a bit confused. Betty, I understand what you're saying about staying 'in the present moment' so to speak (hehe) and not reading ahead, but I can't help thinking that a little reading ahead is probably good (if not unavoidable).

For example, if I know I have an alberti bass line that alternates between the I and inversions of IV or V (common with easier pieces, as you know), it seems to really help to quickly look at the whole measure and see what the arpeggiation is so that I can concentrate on reading the melody in the RH. Same thing for the RH when the melody is simply a scalar run... would you agree that it's good to see these things a little ahead of time, perhaps reading one measure at a time? Or maybe, if I can read one measure at a time, is the piece too easy and I need to find something more challenging?"

Betty: My answer from my point of view is "Nope!"

But, please do it the way it works for you!

I can think of several different remedies that would help you adapt to what I'm suggesting.

Jamie147 said: "I read this post yesterday off line at home at I want to thank the contributors in particular Betty for the fantastic and easy to absorb advice. You're posts eliminate the need to buy expensive music books.

There were lots of details I never knew and techniques to make retaining the information easier. Just what I need at a time when I'm finding it increasingly harder to put fingers to keys. Thanks!"

Betty: Yes, learn them, do them, retain them. Train your fingers. I'm glad you found my posting helpful!

To those who thanked me for my posts: I appreciate hearing from you, and I'm glad it's helping.

Just to set the record straight, the things and the way I say them are not in any "book" that I know of. It just has not been universally discovered yet that there are many ways to say the same thing and some just are more effective in this century than others. ;\)


#1019523 - 06/09/08 07:42 AM Re: How to practice sight reading (help)
Zazen Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 06/02/08
Posts: 13
Ok, so after practicing sight-reading almost exclusively and reading these forums for a week, I have a few observations.

First off, naturally, thanks to all that have responded - I can definitely see a little improvement and I'm very thankful for that. Whether it was the advice specifically or simply being inspired to play, it's working \:\)

As for sight-reading... from what I can tell, I was playing too much in my "comfort zone" even when it appeared as though I was working hard. What I mean by this is that I played through pieces over and over, but was not focused on making things 100% accurate. As such, I reached a certain plateau of accuracy that never improved even with repetition since the learning had basically stopped. So, it seems to me that gaining skill in sight reading depends a great deal on playing accurately. There is a danger in repeating the same mistake in the same way. Not that I didn't already know that I needed to "slow down and play it right", but the perspective I've gained shows me a bit more of just how true this is when it comes to learning.

In fact, I think this same philosophy can be extended to building technique as well. There again, the focus is on building correct habits. For example, I'm working on Chopin's Prelude in G (very simple RH, challenging LH played quickly and softly). The A major arpeggiation in particular is difficult and something that I have only made progress in when I slowed it down to a crawl and hit it in exactly the way that I wanted - fingering, timing, dynamics, etc.

I've heard before (I think it was Glen Gould... I can't remember) that one of the famous pianists used to practice at one note per second when preparing for concerts. This may be overkill... but it may also be a speed that ensures that muscle memory helps very little, thus encouraging better memorization.

Anyway, the beauty in all of this for me is that I feel as though I understand better how to learn to gain sight-reading skill. That was my stumbling block before, so I am grateful to have insight into that now.

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