Welcome to the Piano World Piano Forums
Over 2 million posts about pianos, digital pianos, and all types of keyboard instruments
Join the World's Largest Community of Piano Lovers (it's free)
It's Fun to Play the Piano ... Please Pass It On!

Gifts and supplies for the musician
SEARCH
the Forums & Piano World

This custom search works much better than the built in one and allows searching older posts.
Ad (Piano Sing)
How to Make Your Piano Sing
(ad) Pearl River
Pearl River Pianos
(ad 125) Sweetwater - Digital Keyboards & Other Gear
Digital Pianos at Sweetwater
(ad) Pianoteq
(ad) P B Guide
Acoustic & Digital Piano Guide
Who's Online
145 registered (AndreiN, accordeur, Auver, 36251, Alegretto, 49 invisible), 1658 Guests and 13 Spiders online.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
Quick Links to Useful Piano & Music Resources
Our Classified Ads
Find Piano Professionals-

*Piano Dealers - Piano Stores
*Piano Tuners
*Piano Teachers
*Piano Movers
*Piano Restorations
*Piano Manufacturers
*Organs

Quick Links:
*Advertise On Piano World
*Free Piano Newsletter
*Online Piano Recitals
*Piano Recitals Index
*Piano & Music Accessories
*Music School Listings
* Buying a Piano
*Buying A Acoustic Piano
*Buying a Digital Piano
*Pianos for Sale
*Sell Your Piano
*How Old is My Piano?
*Piano Books
*Piano Art, Pictures, & Posters
*Directory/Site Map
*Contest
*Links
*Virtual Piano
*Music Word Search
*Piano Screen Saver
*Piano Videos
*Virtual Piano Chords
(ad) Estonia Piano
Estonia Pianos
Page 1 of 2 1 2 >
Topic Options
#1273232 - 09/23/09 06:15 AM how important is sight reading?
jnod Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/04/09
Posts: 794
Loc: Toronto
My son has a great memory and I've suspected for a while that he's been learning his pieces mostly by memory and not be reading them off the page. This has gotten harder as the pieces themselve have become more complicated, leading to some frustration.

I tried writing notes on the staff and having him tell me what they are and found that he has to really puzzle through them for anything beyong middle C to G in the treble clef. Would it be helpful spending a little time each day doing memory work on this?

The alternative, letting him just learn his pieces is seeming a bit like learning how to ride a two-wheeler by starting with a Harley-Davidson. Any insights would be appreciated...
_________________________
Justin
-------
Bach English Suite #5
Scarlatti Sonata K141 . L422
Mozart Sonata K333
Schubert Impromptu opus 90 D899
Schubert Moment Musicaux opus 94 D780

Top
(ad) Piano & Music Accessories
piano accessories music gifts tuning and moving equipment
#1273271 - 09/23/09 08:12 AM Re: how important is sight reading? [Re: jnod]
Chris H. Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/14/05
Posts: 2919
Loc: UK.
I feel that the ability to read and understand music is very important. People who read music have a lot more choice as to what they might play. Imagine how limited you would be if you couldn't read or write! It's no different with music.

'Sight reading' is a different thing entirely. That is the ability to play music at first sight and IMO not very important at all. Sadly it's the one thing that people agonise over and get all worked up about.

If your son is only really able to read from middle C to G then it may be because most of the pieces he has played so far use only these notes. He needs to understand the grand staff as a whole and how it relates to the keyboard. Flash cards would help but get him to play the notes as well as name them. Teach him reference points like G and F clef and the position of all the C's on the stave. Show him how to manipulate the musical alphabet by reciting it forwards and backwards as well as skipping - C E G B D etc. Use rhymes and mnemonics to identify notes on lines and in spaces. Give him plenty of simple tunes to play which use a broader range on the stave rather than fixed in the middle because you want him to recognise melodic intervals as well as individual notes. Above all give it time! It doesn't happen overnight.
_________________________
Pianist and piano teacher.

Top
#1273283 - 09/23/09 08:31 AM Re: how important is sight reading? [Re: jnod]
Lollipop Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/28/09
Posts: 820
Loc: Georgia
It's not unusual for kids to have a weakness in one area when they are strong in another - kids who memorize well or who can play by ear often struggle with sight-reading, and I think you're smart to pay attention to this. It is only going to get harder. I've had several adults tell me they dropped out because they could play so well by ear that they never learned to read, and quit when it got hard.

Here are some things I do, and I'm sure other teachers here will have more ideas.

1. Teach him to keep his eyes on the music. Even when he doesn't need the music, he needs to make that connection from the page to his eyes to his fingers. If he has a tendency to watch his hands, cover them with a book.

2. 7 days; 7 notes -- Every day choose a different note to find. Every day take a different piece of music (an old page in his lesson book, or something else entirely - something that he's not working on) and have him circle all the G's one day, B's the next day, etc. Finding a certain note over and over helps him to keep saying mentally (G - second line, G - second line...)

When I assign this task to students, I have them mark down each day which note they are seeking and which page they used, so I can check it.

3. Speed tests. My students love them. There are some printable worksheets on the Internet, or make your own. Time the student naming (writing) one line of notes. Each week time them again and look for improvement.

4. Make flashcards. Copy a piece of music that he is currently playing, so the notes are the same size as what he is currently reading. Cut the notes apart, and glue on index cards. Again, you can time him, Or see how many he can get right in a row. Or he can just go through them himself (you didn't mention how old he is - different ages will prefer different approaches.)

5. Sight-read often. Choose a short line of music he hasn't seen before. Teach him to read with his eyes before he plays a single note. Notice everything from the clef to time signature to rhythm and dynamics, and of course the notes. The goal is to play the line of music accurately the first time.

6. Buy him a "for fun" book - not something that he uses at his lesson, or that has any goals attached, but simply something he wants. If he is willing to try new pieces just because he wants to, he will practice sight-reading all by himself.

_________________________
piano teacher

Top
#1273317 - 09/23/09 09:30 AM Re: how important is sight reading? [Re: Lollipop]
John v.d.Brook Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7417
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
One skill which good sight readers have is the ability to read intervalicly. This is somewhat analogous to reading using phonics. Learning to read by recognizing intervals speeds the reading process immensely. It's a skill I find very valuable. For the student, less time is wasted in the initial learning of a piece, for a professional, it allows you to play new material on command. Although I am generally in 100% agreement with Chris' posts, we do differ, perhaps a bit, on the importance of sight reading.
_________________________
"Those who dare to teach must never cease to learn." -- Richard Henry Dann
Full-time Private Piano Teacher offering Piano Lessons in Olympia, WA. www.mypianoteacher.com
Certified by the American College of Musicians; member NGPT, MTNA, WSMTA, OMTA

Top
#1273326 - 09/23/09 09:55 AM Re: how important is sight reading? [Re: John v.d.Brook]
GardeningPianolady Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/23/06
Posts: 26
Sight reading ability has blessed me greatly, and is worth working on to be the best sight reader you can be. I think it is very important, as many real life music situations require the ability to play on short notice (if any), little practice, and the ability to work with others. This is very difficult if you cannot sight read. Plus, there's nothing more fun that being able to sit down and read music correctly the first time!
_________________________
FT Private Piano Instructor/Organist/Accompanist
Petrof PIV
Schimmel 118T
Conn 901 Organ

Top
#1273331 - 09/23/09 10:03 AM Re: how important is sight reading? [Re: GardeningPianolady]
Morodiene Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 12215
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
I think sight reading is important, like John said. While there is a difference in sight reading and general reading ability, those who are betters sight readers are better readers in general, because they recognize patterns faster and thus can learn pieces faster.

I encourage you to try as many different angles to reading notes as possible. Lollipop has some good suggestions. Also, you can go to some online sites like www.musictheory.net . You don't mention your son's age, so I'm not sure if this site is too mature for him. I'm sure there are others around that are appropriate for kids.
_________________________
private piano/voice teacher - full time
MTNA member
www.valeoconservatory.com
Petrof 9'2 Concert, Yamaha G3, Roland FP-7, Yamaha MOX6, Kawai MP11

Top
#1273345 - 09/23/09 10:22 AM Re: how important is sight reading? [Re: Morodiene]
sotto voce Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/15/06
Posts: 6163
Loc: Briarcliff Manor, NY, USA
I'm not a teacher, but I agree with Morodiene that sightreading skill correlates strongly with score-reading generally. I think sightreading is important in its own right, too; it enables all the opportunities that GardeningPianoLady mentioned and opens up a whole world of music that can be explored on the fly just by sitting down and reading through it.

As a child, I was a voracious sightreader of anything I could get my hands on: anthologies of classical and popular music, show tunes, hymnals. I think it had great impact on my musical ability, confidence and enjoyment.

Steven
_________________________

"There are two means of refuge from the miseries of life: music and cats."
—Albert Schweitzer

Chopin: Allegro de Concert Op. 46
Schumann: Toccata Op. 7
Fauré: Ballade Op. 19

Top
#1273370 - 09/23/09 10:53 AM Re: how important is sight reading? [Re: sotto voce]
dumdumdiddle Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/16/06
Posts: 1267
Loc: California
Some children are visual learners, some are aural learners. It's great that your child has a good ear and can memorize music easily; there are students who struggle to memorize even simple pieces. I had one student in particular who needed at least a month and a half to memorize a 2-3 page piece. I actually prefer students who have good ears and lack sight reading skills to those who can sightread but can't 'figure out a song' on the piano. Ear training is more difficult as kids get older; sight reading can be developed.

I agree with what others have posted. The way you develop sight reading skills is basically to sight read regularly. Pick some books that are 1-2 levels below where your child is at and have him play every day. There are sight reading books you can buy that may be helpful:

http://www.fjhmusic.com/piano/sightreading.htm

http://www.lllmusic.com/
_________________________
Music School Owner
Early Childhood Music Teacher/Group Piano Teacher/Private Piano Teacher
Member of MTAC and Guild

Top
#1273419 - 09/23/09 12:00 PM Re: how important is sight reading? [Re: dumdumdiddle]
Diane... Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/16/06
Posts: 3450
Loc: Western Canada
Last year I pulled the sight reading books. But his year, I decided to bring them back! The ones I like are called "Four Star Sight Reading and Ear Tests" by Boris Berlin and Andrew Markow. Frederick Harris Music!

Sight reading has value, but I also want the students to understand what key they are playing in, and what chords are associated with it. Just learning to sight read what's on the page is good, but isn't enough. Getting the students to evaluate what's going on is important! Sometimes analyzing a sight reading piece, or all pieces they are playing; chords, patterns, inversions, et, in general, helps them to understand how music is built. And this encourages them to make up a piece on their own.
_________________________
http://www.pianoworld.com/Uploads/files/goldsparkledress.jpg
Diane
Jazz/Blues/Rock/Boogie Piano Teacher


Top
#1273461 - 09/23/09 12:51 PM Re: how important is sight reading? [Re: Diane...]
Betty Patnude Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/11/07
Posts: 4896
Loc: Puyallup, Washington
If it's Key Signature recognition you want them to have first:

C Major uses white keys of the piano (natural notes, there are no #'s or b's in the Key Signature.

The # keys move clockwise around the circle of 5ths and progress by adding one new # at a time.

The # appears on the 7th degree of the major scale.

An easy way to think of that is to look at the last # in the Key Signature and label the letter name of the note a half step above. This identifies the Key Signature you are playing in.

Order of # keys: G-D-A-E-B-#F
Key of G = 1 # (#F)(The # is the 7th degree of the scale)
Key of D = 2 # (#F inherited, and the new #C)
Key of A = 3 # (#F,#C inherited, and the new #G)
Key of E = 4 # (#F,#C, #G inherited, and the new #D)
Key of B = 5 # (#F,#C, #G, #D inherited, and the new #A)
Key of #F= 6# (#F,#C, #G, #D, #A inherited, and the new #E)
Key of #C= 7# (#F,#C, #G, #D, #A, #E inherited,and the new #B)
Simplicity allows you to see the last # and a half step above is the Key Signature name.

The b keys F-Bb-Eb-Ab-Db-Gb-Cb have the b on the 4th degree of the major scale.
Flat keys move counterclockwise around the Circle of 5ths and progress by adding one new b at a time.
Example: Calculating the 4th degree in the Key of C, F is the 4th degree and the new b will be on it's 4th degree.
Order of the b Keys:
Key of F = 1 b (Bb)(The b is the 4th degree of the scale)(The new scale will start on this note)
Key of Bb = 2 b (Bb, inherited, and the new Eb)
Key of Eb = 3 b (Bb,Eb inherited, and the new Ab)
Key of Ab = 4 b (Bb,Eb, Ab inherited, and the new Db)
Key of Db = 5 b (Bb,Eb, Ab, Db inherited, and the new Gb)
Key of Gb = 6 b (Bb,Eb, Ab, Db, Gb inherited, and the new Cb)
Key of Cb = 7 b Bb,Eb, Ab, Db, Gb, Cb inherited, and the new Fb)
Simplicity allows you to calculate that the name of the next scale is the same name as the b your have just added.

All of the diagramming is to support the construction of the major scale system and the circle of 5ths. All of this information is not needed to name the Key Signature. The simple version of naming Key Signatures are the blue and red color codes seen above.

So key words are # 7th degree; and b 4th degree.

Calculations of this time are good brain workouts for students from about age 10 and above. You may see them using their fingers to encourage keeping track of their calculations. I encourage that idea. The same calculations could be made by using pencil and paper and making a row the musical alphabet starting with C as it is the 0 position on the circle of 5th clock.

Starting from C: The new scale for #'s is on the 5th degree of the current scale moving clockwise on the circle of 5ths. The new # is on the 7th degree. (Continue to repeat)

Starting from C: The new scale for b's is on the 5 degree of the current scale moving counterclockwise on the circle of 5ths. The new b is on the 4th degree. (Continue to repeat)

Anyway.....

Top
#1273464 - 09/23/09 12:58 PM Re: how important is sight reading? [Re: Betty Patnude]
Diane... Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/16/06
Posts: 3450
Loc: Western Canada
Betty,

Tell me you don't teach that to them in the first lesson! grin

Very impressive Betty! Thank you for all that!
_________________________
http://www.pianoworld.com/Uploads/files/goldsparkledress.jpg
Diane
Jazz/Blues/Rock/Boogie Piano Teacher


Top
#1273602 - 09/23/09 04:30 PM Re: how important is sight reading? [Re: Betty Patnude]
Gyro Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/24/05
Posts: 4533
Your post hits home on a major problem
with classical piano lessons. Today
students are taught to play as though
they are all going to become concert
pianists. So memorization is stressed
above all else, and naturally, many
students will begin to play by memory
only, letting their reading skills
deteriorate to zero.

However, only handful of students can
ever become concert pianists, where
you must be able to play a mammoth
repertoire of lengthy pieces note perfect
from memory in front of thousands of
people. The rest fall by the wayside
at various points along the way, because
the demands on their memories becomes
too great. 90+% falter in high school,
and can't even make it into a college
as a performance major. And of the
performance majors only a few make
it to the concert stage, and these
are increasingly from outside of the
US, because of the lack of world-class
instruction here. Note the audition
repertoire for the top conservatories
here: a WTC piece, a Classical Era sonata,
a Romantic Era piece, a 20th cent.
piece, and a fast etude. You probably couldn't
even get into a jr. high program in
China or Russia with that kind of
repertoire. Moreover, there is
apparently an extensive screening
procress for piano talent in those
countries, and the selected students
then recieve world-class, Olympic-style
training in the best schools. Such
a screening process could never fly in
the US, because if a youngster has
superior memory, etc., parents want
that used for med school, not "wasted"
on piano.

So what of those students whose memories
start to be overtaxed in high school?
They're in a predicament. Their
memories are burned out, and so they can't
learn anything new. But what's even
worse is that they have let their reading
skills lapse to zero, and so they
can't even learn anything new with
the score. This is a very common
situation, and is why so many classical
students quit in high school, and then
restart as adults after not playing
for many yrs. There are many such
restarters on these forums.

Top
#1273614 - 09/23/09 04:42 PM Re: how important is sight reading? [Re: Gyro]
Gyro Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/24/05
Posts: 4533
If there is a "quick fix," of sorts,
for this problem, it is to always
play with the score in front of
you, even after you have the piece
memorized. This way you're forced
to read the music and at least
don't let your reading lapse to
non-existent (note that you might
be able to read and play certain
difficult sections of a piece
only long after you have them
memorized).

Top
#1273709 - 09/23/09 08:10 PM Re: how important is sight reading? [Re: Gyro]
jnod Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/04/09
Posts: 794
Loc: Toronto
Some very useful and thoughtful suggestions - thanks everyone. I think the problem with learning to read the staff is that at first you have to read it and the habit of counting up or down in spaces and lines is tedious and makes playing an instrument a really big drag. Anyone who can sight read well, or even just pick their way comfortably through a new piece so as to identify the challening parts and come up with a strategy for learning it, doesn't actually read the notes but rather recognizes them instantly. That is they memorize them.

Several of you have suggested the slow and steady approach - learning as you go - and this seems sensible. But I also like the idea of making games out of recognition of positions on the staff. THis kind of 'belt and suspenders' approach seems mostly likely to work to me. Anyway, a helpful discussion so thanks again.
_________________________
Justin
-------
Bach English Suite #5
Scarlatti Sonata K141 . L422
Mozart Sonata K333
Schubert Impromptu opus 90 D899
Schubert Moment Musicaux opus 94 D780

Top
#1273787 - 09/23/09 09:56 PM Re: how important is sight reading? [Re: jnod]
Betty Patnude Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/11/07
Posts: 4896
Loc: Puyallup, Washington
Jnod said: "....first you have to read it and the habit of counting up or down in spaces and lines is tedious and makes playing an instrument a really big drag."

I wouldn't recommend that way at all - in fact my teaching involves not naming the note at all to find it's location on the piano. We have the spatial relationships available to us because of the line/space structure which can be read by distance and direction from the previous note.

Letter names are needed to find starting notes, or to confirm notes when changing postions asked for within the music.

If beginning lessons contain the thinking process of making associations and relationships between each note known, the student learns to "dance" the keyboard in a choreography that finds every note he needs without a glance to the keyboard to do it. He learns to gesture and measure distance with an extended hand and a decided speed at which he travels to the note as well as the arc he makes to get there.

The keyboard is a kinesthetic obstacle course in a way. The piano played learns to navigate it using physical motions like the dancer uses choreography.

Don't inch along unconfidently and interupting yourself when you can learn to be a gazelle!

Betty

Top
#1273995 - 09/24/09 09:23 AM Re: how important is sight reading? [Re: Betty Patnude]
Morodiene Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 12215
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
jnod, as Betty said, reading the notes is important for certain things, but the best and quickest way is to identify the interval by sight: line to the next space is a 2nd (up or down), line to next line or space to next space is a 3rd, line to space further apart than a 2nd is a 4th, etc. recognizing these relationships to where you are is so much easier, because rather than counting lines or space or trying to "read" the note, you simply ask "up, down or repeat? If up/down, how far?" This is much faster.

I did decide to get my students started on the "400 sight reading club" idea. We'll see how that goes and I'll let you all know their progress. I have a few who are poor readers (more ear-oriented) and I'm curious to see if this helps motivate them to learn to read better. For those who are beginners, they are doing 2-3 lines of music per day, and the intermediate ones are 2-3 pages per day.
_________________________
private piano/voice teacher - full time
MTNA member
www.valeoconservatory.com
Petrof 9'2 Concert, Yamaha G3, Roland FP-7, Yamaha MOX6, Kawai MP11

Top
#1280487 - 10/04/09 11:24 AM Re: how important is sight reading? [Re: Betty Patnude]
musiclady Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/19/05
Posts: 431
Loc: Toronto, Canada
Very important, especially when you have to play a new piece on short notice. Many of the most successful musicians are good sight-readers.

Meri
_________________________
Clarinet and Piano Teacher based out of Toronto, Canada.Web: http://donmillsmusicstudio.weebly.com

Top
#1281545 - 10/06/09 03:11 AM Re: how important is sight reading? [Re: musiclady]
btb Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/21/04
Posts: 4263
Loc: Pretoria South Africa
There is a bizarre keyboard perception that with perseverance, prima vista sight-reading is possible ... but IMHO merely a case of "hope springs eternal".

Some respected piano teachers duck this sight-reading impossibility with
"Sight-reading is a different thing entirely.
That is the ability to play music at first sight and IMO not very important at all".

Like phantasmagorical ghost-stories, all the accounts of astonishing Liszt-like prima vista piano playing have never been fully chased down by Ghostbusters Inc.

My lifetime research shows conclusively that quality piano playing is only possible when initial sight-reading (individual note identification and correct fingering) is supplemented through dedicated practice, by muscle and aural memory.

My suggestion to ipod is to harness the memory talent of his son by being judiciously supportive ... in steadily identifying the individual sight-reading notes, which presently bug progress.

Top
#1281574 - 10/06/09 05:07 AM Re: how important is sight reading? [Re: btb]
Studio Joe Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/28/07
Posts: 1803
Loc: Decatur, Texas
Sight reading (prima vista) is important for a good church accompanist.

I had that job for 25 yrs and many times a guest singer would hand me sheet music that I had not seen nor heard before with no time to rehearse. I considered it rude on the singer's part, but it happened far too often.


Edited by Studio Joe (10/06/09 05:10 AM)
_________________________
Joe Whitehead ------ Texas Trax

Top
#1281584 - 10/06/09 06:01 AM Re: how important is sight reading? [Re: Studio Joe]
btb Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/21/04
Posts: 4263
Loc: Pretoria South Africa
Too true Joe,

But then, as church accompanist, you used a familiar key against a steady beat for that "rude" singer ... and hammed your way through the song, concentrating on matching the treble melody , but leaving out most of the notes.

Classical masterpieces are a different ballgame.

Top
#1281597 - 10/06/09 07:07 AM Re: how important is sight reading? [Re: btb]
Studio Joe Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/28/07
Posts: 1803
Loc: Decatur, Texas
Originally Posted By: btb
Too true Joe,

But then, as church accompanist, you used a familiar key against a steady beat for that "rude" singer ... and hammed your way through the song, concentrating on matching the treble melody , but leaving out most of the notes.

Classical masterpieces are a different ballgame.



How do you know? You weren't there. And I didn't play the melody, I played the accompaniment, leaving the melody for the singer.I think I did it very well considering the situation. And I don't claim to be able to sight read a classical masterpiece.


Edited by Studio Joe (10/06/09 07:08 AM)
_________________________
Joe Whitehead ------ Texas Trax

Top
#1281629 - 10/06/09 09:05 AM Re: how important is sight reading? [Re: btb]
Chris H. Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/14/05
Posts: 2919
Loc: UK.
Originally Posted By: btb
There is a bizarre keyboard perception that with perseverance, prima vista sight-reading is possible ... but IMHO merely a case of "hope springs eternal".

Some respected piano teachers duck this sight-reading impossibility with
"Sight-reading is a different thing entirely.
That is the ability to play music at first sight and IMO not very important at all".


That looks like my quote.

I'm not ducking anything. Reading ability is just one part of playing the piano. Everyone can sight read prima vista to a certain extent but it's going to have to be music below your general level of competence. Of course there are times when musicians need to do this but what they are asked to sight read is usually well within their grasp. Also, if you are called upon to sight read like this regularly then you will get better at it. Most people don't need to do this and yet it seems like the pianists Holy Grail.

"I would love to be able to just sit down and play anything"

You have no idea how many times I hear people say this. It's just not realistic and it doesn't really matter. Who cares if it takes a week or even a month to learn a piece? Not me.

But this doesn't mean that reading is not important. If you can't read then you can't work things out for yourself. The quicker your reading the easier it will be to learn new pieces. Improving your reading is something all pianists should try to do and the only way to do it is practice. As you get better you will be able to sight read music below your level which for quite some time is probably not going to be very satisfying. When you reach an advanced standard you will be able to sight read some good music and hopefully learn more advanced works in a shorter space of time. That's something to work towards.
_________________________
Pianist and piano teacher.

Top
#1281652 - 10/06/09 09:40 AM Re: how important is sight reading? [Re: Chris H.]
Matt H Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/26/07
Posts: 170
Loc: Indiana
In support of what Chris says above, I think OP's question isn't really about sight reading anyway, but about the importance of learning to read music (vs. memorizing everything).

Top
#1282107 - 10/07/09 12:30 AM Re: how important is sight reading? [Re: Matt H]
btb Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/21/04
Posts: 4263
Loc: Pretoria South Africa
"I would love to be able to just sit down and play anything"

ChrisH writes off the above comment, with

"You have no idea how many times I hear people say this.
It's just not realistic and it doesn't really matter.
Who cares if it takes a week or even a month to learn a piece?
Not me."

So prima vista playing is not realistic to ChrisH (unless dumb-ed down) .

But WHY?

Top
#1282125 - 10/07/09 01:01 AM Re: how important is sight reading? [Re: btb]
currawong Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/15/07
Posts: 5976
Loc: Down Under
So btb, can you just sit down and play anything with your fancy new notation system? At first sight? If the fault is with the conventional notation system as you so often imply, then you've solved the problem if you can play a Liszt transcendental etude at first sight written in btb-notation. Good on you.

If you actually read Chris's post you'll see he is not saying prima vista reading is impossible. He's saying that no-one can just sit down and play *anything at all no matter what the difficulty* prima vista. But he also advocates working on sight reading - "When you reach an advanced standard you will be able to sight read some good music and hopefully learn more advanced works in a shorter space of time. That's something to work towards."
_________________________
Du holde Kunst...

Top
#1282140 - 10/07/09 01:51 AM Re: how important is sight reading? [Re: currawong]
sotto voce Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/15/06
Posts: 6163
Loc: Briarcliff Manor, NY, USA
btb,

When you wrote that "quality piano playing is only possible when initial sight-reading (individual note identification and correct fingering) is supplemented through dedicated practice, by muscle and aural memory," you were correct as regards pieces that are technically challenging to a given pianist. However, it's not true for what any of us finds technically "easy," i.e., a few levels or grades below what we are able to play proficiently with dedicated practice over time.

The more advanced one's technique is, the more complex the music that one will be able to be play prima vista; to that extent, it's not so astonishing for Liszt if he was able to sit down and sightread masterpieces such as the Grieg concerto or Chopin's etudes (as he's reputed to have done).

There's nothing astonishing or mythical about a musician who has the skill to learn advanced repertoire being able to sightread intermediate-level compositions. It happens all the time. It may not be a musically "finished" rendering with the most efficient fingerings and all the subtleties in place that would be the polished product of studying the piece through focused practice—but it's not expected to be. That's not what sightreading is about.

Steven
_________________________

"There are two means of refuge from the miseries of life: music and cats."
—Albert Schweitzer

Chopin: Allegro de Concert Op. 46
Schumann: Toccata Op. 7
Fauré: Ballade Op. 19

Top
#1282143 - 10/07/09 02:04 AM Re: how important is sight reading? [Re: sotto voce]
btb Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/21/04
Posts: 4263
Loc: Pretoria South Africa
Hi currawong,
ChrisH’s thoughts on prima vista playing were covered in mentioning "dumb-down" in brackets ... the gruesome process of presumably gaining confidence by playing below one’s sight-reading capacity .

My comment on "hope springs eternal" is picked up in your ChrisH quote

"When you reach an advanced standard you will be able to sight read some good music and HOPEFULLY learn more advanced works in a shorter space of time. That's something to work towards."
(But do they ever?)

But thanks for engaging ... presently unable to download a Liszt transcendental etude from IMSLP to respond to your challenge .

Top
#1282148 - 10/07/09 02:21 AM Re: how important is sight reading? [Re: btb]
btb Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/21/04
Posts: 4263
Loc: Pretoria South Africa
Hi sv,

That Liszt story of the playing the Grieg PC in A has got whiskers ...
we need more evidence of prima vista playing by mortals.

You say

"It may not be a musically "FINISHED" rendering with the most efficient fingerings and all the subtleties in place that would be the polished product of studying the piece through focussed practice — but it's not expected to be.
That's not what sight-reading is about."

Sounds like hamming to me ...but where are all the boasted prima vista maestros?

Top
#1282159 - 10/07/09 02:59 AM Re: how important is sight reading? [Re: btb]
currawong Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/15/07
Posts: 5976
Loc: Down Under
Originally Posted By: btb
Sounds like hamming to me ...but where are all the boasted prima vista maestros?
Where they've always been every other time you asked a similar question. I've lost count of the number of "can you sight read this?" questions we've had from you. And people answer "yes, I can" and you don't believe them. So I wouldn't hold my breath waiting for answers this time, old chappie.
I don't know about "maestro", but I'm a good sight reader. But then I've said this before, haven't I.
(Sorry for the world-weary tone - I'd rather be actually sight reading than trying to convince someone on the internet that I can.)
_________________________
Du holde Kunst...

Top
#1282241 - 10/07/09 08:33 AM Re: how important is sight reading? [Re: btb]
sotto voce Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/15/06
Posts: 6163
Loc: Briarcliff Manor, NY, USA
Originally Posted By: btb
Sounds like hamming to me ...but where are all the boasted prima vista maestros?

I'm a proficient sightreader ... but I don't like to boast. smile

Anyway, I don't know how you define maestro. Skilled pianists who can fluently sightread music of intermediate difficulty are all around us. Uber-virtuosos who can sightread advanced repertoire in the manner of Liszt (with or without whiskers smile ) are not.

I'm not sure why you singled out my use of the word finished for emphasis, as one doesn't expect details like fingering, dynamics, articulation to be "perfect"; they're not supposed to be. Accuracy of the notes and rhythm is far more important. Accompanists or church musicians can create the illusion that they're not playing a piece of music for the first time, but it's irrelevant otherwise.

Steven
_________________________

"There are two means of refuge from the miseries of life: music and cats."
—Albert Schweitzer

Chopin: Allegro de Concert Op. 46
Schumann: Toccata Op. 7
Fauré: Ballade Op. 19

Top
#1282292 - 10/07/09 09:49 AM Re: how important is sight reading? [Re: sotto voce]
Chris H. Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/14/05
Posts: 2919
Loc: UK.
I sight read all the time and over the years have got a lot better at it. As a child I was the worlds worst sight reader and played everything by ear and from memory. Then when I went to college I took the opportunity to get involved with accompanying whenever possible. I played for performance classes, recitals and exams. I still do quite a bit of accompanying as well as sight reading pieces that my students bring to their lessons.

There are limits though. Last week I had a student bring along the prelude and fugue no.14 in F# minor from WTC1. It's not one I have ever played and there was no way I was going to sight read it. Fortunately it hasn't taken more than a few hours work to become familiar with it so this weeks lesson will be fine.
_________________________
Pianist and piano teacher.

Top
#1282294 - 10/07/09 09:51 AM Re: how important is sight reading? [Re: sotto voce]
kevinb Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/18/09
Posts: 1565
I think that whether you use the term sight-reading `correctly' or `incorrectly', both interpretations of `sight-reading' are improved by regular practice of prima-vista sight reading. I'm not convinced that you need always to practice prima-vista sight reading at performance speed -- unless you're really wanting to improve your skill as an accompanist. But I'm open to argument on that one. I try to practice both slowly with a view to getting decent accuracy, and fast with a view to getting to the end of the piece without screwing it up completely.

But I'm not a maestro, either. If you were to put a piece of piano music in front of me of, say, grade 3 ABRSM standard, I couldn't promise not to play a note wrong, even though I'd probably describe such a piece as `easy'. I'd probably play many of the notes right, unless it's in a style I'm not familiar with. The closer it is to baroque, the greater the likelihood that I'll make an accurate job of it, just because I'm most familiar with music of that era, and there are certain correspondences between composers and pieces.

When I go wrong when sight-reading, what usually happens is not a failure of sight-reading as such -- it's not that I get to a note or a sign and think `What the heck's that?' Or play an E when it should be an F. Usually what happens is that I find I don't have a finger in the right place to get on the note. If I'm accompanying, I just skip the note. In fact, if I'm accompanying I sometimes skip more than a few notes smile

Top
Page 1 of 2 1 2 >

Moderator:  Ken Knapp 
What's Hot!!
Christmas Header
- > Gift Ideas for Music Lovers < -
From PianoSupplies.com a division of Piano World.
-------------------
The December Free Piano Newsletter
-------------------
Forums Rules & Help
-------------------
ADVERTISE
on Piano World

The world's most popular piano web site.
-------------------
PIANO BOOKS
Interesting books about the piano, pianists, piano history, biographies, memoirs and more!
(ad) Yamaha CP Music Rest Promo
Yamaha CP Music Rest Promo
(ad) HAILUN Pianos
Hailun Pianos - Click for More
Ad (Seiler/Knabe)
Knabe Pianos
(125ad) Dampp Chaser
Dampp Chaser Piano Life Saver
(ad) Lindeblad Piano
Lindeblad Piano Restoration
(ad) Piano Music Sale - Dover Publications
Piano Music Sale
Sheet Music Plus (125)
Sheet Music Plus Featured Sale
New Topics - Multiple Forums
Silent pianos
by emg
4 minutes 1 second ago
scales are a struggle
by LarryShone
30 minutes 16 seconds ago
forum extremely slow?
by wouter79
Today at 04:54 PM
Why do we play?
by Jytte
Today at 04:14 PM
Need Help About Accidentals
by Batuhan
Today at 03:29 PM
Forum Stats
77354 Members
42 Forums
159994 Topics
2349549 Posts

Max Online: 15252 @ 03/21/10 11:39 PM
Gift Ideas for Music Lovers!
Find the Perfect Gift for the Music Lovers on your List!
Visit our online store today.

Visit our online store for gifts for music lovers

 
Help keep the forums up and running with a donation, any amount is appreciated!
Or by becoming a Subscribing member! Thank-you.
Donate   Subscribe
 
Our Piano Related Classified Ads
|
Dealers | Tuners | Lessons | Movers | Restorations | Pianos For Sale | Sell Your Piano |

Advertise on Piano World
| Subscribe | Piano World | PianoSupplies.com | Advertise on Piano World | Donate | Link to Us | Classifieds |
| |Contact | Privacy | Legal | About Us | Site Map | Free Newsletter | Press Room |


copyright 1997 - 2014 Piano World ® all rights reserved
No part of this site may be reproduced without prior written permission