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#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.
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#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: 1567
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

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