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!

SEARCH
the Forums & Piano World

This custom search works much better than the built in one and allows searching older posts.
(ad 125) Sweetwater - Digital Keyboards & Other Gear
Digital Pianos at Sweetwater
(ad) Pearl River
Pearl River Pianos
(ad) Pianoteq
Latest Pianoteq add-on instrument: U4 upright piano
(ad) P B Guide
Acoustic & Digital Piano Guide
PianoSupplies.com (150)
Piano Accessories Music Related Gifts Piano Tuning Equipment Piano Moving Equipment
We now offer Gift Certificates in our online store!
(ad) Estonia Piano
Estonia Piano
Quick Links to Useful Stuff
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 Accessories
* 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
Page 2 of 3 < 1 2 3 >
Topic Options
#1775612 - 10/23/11 10:34 AM Re: You're either a good sightreader or you're not. [Re: debrucey]
chrisbell Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/11/07
Posts: 1356
Loc: Stockholm, Sweden
Originally Posted By: debrucey
Probably couldn't have put it much better. I would really love to see some proper research done on this.
amongst my literature in my studies of Music Psychology at Uppsala University; Andreas C. Lehmann and Reinhard Kopiez (The Oxford handbook of music psychology) have written a chapter about Sight-Reading.
Summary:
"Sight-reading provides a complex problem solving situation with an intricate interplay of bottom-up mechanisms (driven by the input stimulus of the score and auditory feedback) and top-down processes (driven by expectations and cognitions).
It is conceivable that limitations on the general playing of an instrument or a lack of technical proficiency exist that may consequentially impact the ability to sight-read: One can never sight-read beyond the level of rehearsed performance, but how close to it one sight-reads seems to be very much a matter of training.
Sight-reading ability at lower skill levels may partly emerge from general instrumental skill increase whereas expert sight reading necessitates extensive deliberate efforts to improve performance.
By engaging in many hours of related experience, for example as an accompanist (in the case of pianists), sight-readers develop particular cognitive adaptations, such as efficient encoding, building of expectations and plausible inferencing, and memory skills. These help them cope with the real-time demands of reconstructing on the fly the score along with a preliminary expressive interpretation.
_________________________

I never play anything the same way once.

https://soundcloud.com/chrisb/sets
https://www.youtube.com/user/djboing/videos

Top
Ad 800 (Pearl River)
Pearl River World's Best Selling Piano
#1775613 - 10/23/11 10:35 AM Re: You're either a good sightreader or you're not. [Re: Drunk3nFist]
Dave Horne Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/07/04
Posts: 5276
Loc: Vught, The Netherlands
If you want to become better at running up steps with a 50 lb. knapsack on your back, practice running up steps with a 50 lb. knapsack on your back.

That wasn't so difficult. smile
_________________________
website

mp3\wav files

AvantGrand N3, CP5

Top
#1775657 - 10/23/11 12:10 PM Re: You're either a good sightreader or you're not. [Re: Dave Horne]
pianoloverus Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/29/01
Posts: 19352
Loc: New York City
Originally Posted By: Dave Horne
If you want to become better at running up steps with a 50 lb. knapsack on your back, practice running up steps with a 50 lb. knapsack on your back.

That wasn't so difficult. smile
Better does not necessarily equal good.

Top
#1775667 - 10/23/11 12:34 PM Re: You're either a good sightreader or you're not. [Re: Dave Horne]
Drunk3nFist Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/11/08
Posts: 640
Loc: London
Originally Posted By: Dave Horne
If you want to become better at running up steps with a 50 lb. knapsack on your back, practice running up steps with a 50 lb. knapsack on your back.

That wasn't so difficult. smile


Not until you actually start doing it.
_________________________
Ravel - Une Barque Sur l'Ocean
Kapustin - Etude No. 7
Bach/Busoni - Chaconne

Top
#1775706 - 10/23/11 01:40 PM Re: You're either a good sightreader or you're not. [Re: Drunk3nFist]
cardguy Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/17/08
Posts: 977
"As experiences narrated in this thread alone have already shown, many good sight-readers have become good at it because 1) they worked at it and 2) they were often in situations where they had to do it. "

This seems pretty solid, and yet I think it worth examining because it seems to say that lots of practice will of necessity lead to great sight reading skill...as if that's the case for everyone.

Look, there's a natural and understandable human tendency to want to think that hard work will always get rewarded. But let's ask the very best sight readers about their experiences as youngsters. (The only one I know of here is Jeffrey Jones, but I'm certain there are others). I'm guessing they were typically better sight readers than others of an equivalent age and experience to a noticeable degree.

My mind is open. I've no axe to grind here. If I'm wrong I'll be happy to admit it.

Edit: Just to add, none of this is to say of course that people can't become good sight readers with enough effort. I'm just saying that natural ability is a factor, especially for those who read superbly.


Edited by cardguy (10/23/11 02:07 PM)

Top
#1775737 - 10/23/11 02:56 PM Re: You're either a good sightreader or you're not. [Re: pianoloverus]
Morodiene Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 11942
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
Originally Posted By: pianoloverus
Originally Posted By: Morodiene
Originally Posted By: debrucey
Originally Posted By: Dave Horne
Every pianist can become a good sightreader! It's a proven fact.

Sightreading, just like any other piano skill, can be developed by mindful, correct practice.


+1


-1
I disagree.


Care to elaborate on why you disagree? It seems that most of the posters here are pretty much saying exactly what Dave Horne said.
I'm sure Debrussy will respond but my reply would be this.

There's a big difference between saying sight reading can be developed/improved vs. saying one can become "good". For starters, everyone will have a different definition fo "good".

Just like any other activity, natural ability has some role in how far once can go. Most people can improve in tennis with practice/instruction/knowledge, but not everyone can become a Roger Federer(or choose any level of ability instead).


Fair enough...how about "anyone can become a better sight reader"? And believe me, I am *not* talented at sight reading at all. I worked very hard and if you knew me as a child, I would have been a lost cause in most people's estimations.

But saying "either you are good at something or not" like the OP implies, that negates all the hard work that someone has put into something. You can say "Either you're a good tennis player or not" and claim that not everyone can be a Roger Federer discounts the fact that Federer works VERY hard over a period of years to get himself to this place, and continues to work hard to stay there. So I don't think that everyone can become a Horowitz, but that doesn't mean that someone with a 'lesser' ability or talent can't work hard and achieve some level of proficiency at the piano.


Edited by Morodiene (10/23/11 02:58 PM)
_________________________
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
#1775753 - 10/23/11 03:31 PM Re: You're either a good sightreader or you're not. [Re: Morodiene]
pianoloverus Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/29/01
Posts: 19352
Loc: New York City
Originally Posted By: Morodiene
Fair enough...how about "anyone can become a better sight reader"?
Yes, that's exactly what I said my post.


Originally Posted By: Morodine
But saying "either you are good at something or not" like the OP implies, that negates all the hard work that someone has put into something. You can say "Either you're a good tennis player or not" and claim that not everyone can be a Roger Federer discounts the fact that Federer works VERY hard over a period of years to get himself to this place, and continues to work hard to stay there. So I don't think that everyone can become a Horowitz, but that doesn't mean that someone with a 'lesser' ability or talent can't work hard and achieve some level of proficiency at the piano.
Again, exactly what I said. The OP's statement was wrong because it implied there are only two levels of sight reading rather than a continuum and because he implied that talent was the only thing that mattered. I included both natural ability and practice in my list of what determined sight reading skill.

The only thing I would say differently is that I think many people who are good sight readers never thought of learning this skill as hard work or practicing their sight reading. They wanted to hear and play piano music so they did a lot of sight reading.


Edited by pianoloverus (10/23/11 03:45 PM)

Top
#1775760 - 10/23/11 03:48 PM Re: You're either a good sightreader or you're not. [Re: cardguy]
pianoloverus Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/29/01
Posts: 19352
Loc: New York City
Originally Posted By: cardguy
Edit: Just to add, none of this is to say of course that people can't become good sight readers with enough effort. I'm just saying that natural ability is a factor, especially for those who read superbly.
I think talent is part of the equation in doing anything well unless the "anything" is something as simple as doing your laundry or boiling an egg.

Top
#1775767 - 10/23/11 04:08 PM Re: You're either a good sightreader or you're not. [Re: Drunk3nFist]
Drunk3nFist Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/11/08
Posts: 640
Loc: London
Pianolover, my intention wasn't to narrow the so-called 'spectrum' if you will - Of course I understand that there will always be people of different abilities, and their strengths and weaknesses will be different. I simply used the term 'good' in order to make a general broad statement in the title of this thread. It wouldn't make sense to make the title 'You're either a better sightreader or you're not'. The talk about 'becoming better' is part of this topic of this thread, as you can see in the responses.

I understand that there will be different interpretations of the word 'good'. But I believe that the general belief of being a 'good' sightreader is one who can play a piece of music at first glance, with the correct rhythms and pitches at least half performance speed. Of course a few wrong notes is permittable.

But back to what I was saying, I totally welcome (and expect) mention of a whole 'spectrum' of ability on this thread.
_________________________
Ravel - Une Barque Sur l'Ocean
Kapustin - Etude No. 7
Bach/Busoni - Chaconne

Top
#1775785 - 10/23/11 04:43 PM Re: You're either a good sightreader or you're not. [Re: Drunk3nFist]
pianoloverus Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/29/01
Posts: 19352
Loc: New York City
Originally Posted By: Drunk3nFist
I understand that there will be different interpretations of the word 'good'. But I believe that the general belief of being a 'good' sightreader is one who can play a piece of music at first glance, with the correct rhythms and pitches at least half performance speed. Of course a few wrong notes is permittable.
Since the level of difficulty for "a piece of music" varies to highest degree imaginable, I don't see that as a reasonable definition of a good sight reader. Also, I don't know where you go the "at least half performance speed" part. There is no standard definition of a good sight reader.

Top
#1775798 - 10/23/11 05:14 PM Re: You're either a good sightreader or you're not. [Re: pianoloverus]
Drunk3nFist Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/11/08
Posts: 640
Loc: London
Originally Posted By: pianoloverus
Originally Posted By: Drunk3nFist
I understand that there will be different interpretations of the word 'good'. But I believe that the general belief of being a 'good' sightreader is one who can play a piece of music at first glance, with the correct rhythms and pitches at least half performance speed. Of course a few wrong notes is permittable.
Since the level of difficulty for "a piece of music" varies to highest degree imaginable, I don't see that as a reasonable definition of a good sight reader. Also, I don't know where you go the "at least half performance speed" part. There is no standard definition of a good sight reader.


Again as I said, many people will have different interpretations of what constitutes a 'good' sightreader. I never said that my definition was standard.
_________________________
Ravel - Une Barque Sur l'Ocean
Kapustin - Etude No. 7
Bach/Busoni - Chaconne

Top
#1775806 - 10/23/11 05:24 PM Re: You're either a good sightreader or you're not. [Re: Drunk3nFist]
pianoloverus Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/29/01
Posts: 19352
Loc: New York City
Originally Posted By: Drunk3nFist
Originally Posted By: pianoloverus
Originally Posted By: Drunk3nFist
I understand that there will be different interpretations of the word 'good'. But I believe that the general belief of being a 'good' sightreader is one who can play a piece of music at first glance, with the correct rhythms and pitches at least half performance speed. Of course a few wrong notes is permittable.
Since the level of difficulty for "a piece of music" varies to highest degree imaginable, I don't see that as a reasonable definition of a good sight reader. Also, I don't know where you go the "at least half performance speed" part. There is no standard definition of a good sight reader.


Again as I said, many people will have different interpretations of what constitutes a 'good' sightreader. I never said that my definition was standard.
You said "general belief". That's not the case.(And most would say general belief and standard are basically synonymous)I was the one who pointed out there are different definition of "good".

Top
#1775809 - 10/23/11 05:34 PM Re: You're either a good sightreader or you're not. [Re: pianoloverus]
Drunk3nFist Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/11/08
Posts: 640
Loc: London
Originally Posted By: pianoloverus
Originally Posted By: Drunk3nFist
Originally Posted By: pianoloverus
Originally Posted By: Drunk3nFist
I understand that there will be different interpretations of the word 'good'. But I believe that the general belief of being a 'good' sightreader is one who can play a piece of music at first glance, with the correct rhythms and pitches at least half performance speed. Of course a few wrong notes is permittable.
Since the level of difficulty for "a piece of music" varies to highest degree imaginable, I don't see that as a reasonable definition of a good sight reader. Also, I don't know where you go the "at least half performance speed" part. There is no standard definition of a good sight reader.


Again as I said, many people will have different interpretations of what constitutes a 'good' sightreader. I never said that my definition was standard.
You said "general belief". That's not the case.(And most would say general belief and standard are basically synonymous)I was the one who pointed out there are different definition of "good".


Opinion is opinion. But ok, pretend you see someone who is trying to sightread a piece of music and they can barely play with the right rhythms, let alone tempo (or even half). Could you call them 'good'?
_________________________
Ravel - Une Barque Sur l'Ocean
Kapustin - Etude No. 7
Bach/Busoni - Chaconne

Top
#1775844 - 10/23/11 06:44 PM Re: You're either a good sightreader or you're not. [Re: Drunk3nFist]
Morodiene Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 11942
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
Originally Posted By: Drunk3nFist
Originally Posted By: pianoloverus
Originally Posted By: Drunk3nFist
Originally Posted By: pianoloverus
Originally Posted By: Drunk3nFist
I understand that there will be different interpretations of the word 'good'. But I believe that the general belief of being a 'good' sightreader is one who can play a piece of music at first glance, with the correct rhythms and pitches at least half performance speed. Of course a few wrong notes is permittable.
Since the level of difficulty for "a piece of music" varies to highest degree imaginable, I don't see that as a reasonable definition of a good sight reader. Also, I don't know where you go the "at least half performance speed" part. There is no standard definition of a good sight reader.


Again as I said, many people will have different interpretations of what constitutes a 'good' sightreader. I never said that my definition was standard.
You said "general belief". That's not the case.(And most would say general belief and standard are basically synonymous)I was the one who pointed out there are different definition of "good".


Opinion is opinion. But ok, pretend you see someone who is trying to sightread a piece of music and they can barely play with the right rhythms, let alone tempo (or even half). Could you call them 'good'?


What if they were trying to play something impossibly hard like most saxophone sonata accompaniments? They might be good and doing better than many.

So really it comes down to what is it that *you* wish to accomplish in being able to sight read? At which level would you like to be fluent to consider yourself "good"?
_________________________
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
#1775854 - 10/23/11 07:01 PM Re: You're either a good sightreader or you're not. [Re: cardguy]
wr Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/23/07
Posts: 7850
Originally Posted By: cardguy


Look, there's a natural and understandable human tendency to want to think that hard work will always get rewarded. But let's ask the very best sight readers about their experiences as youngsters. (The only one I know of here is Jeffrey Jones, but I'm certain there are others). I'm guessing they were typically better sight readers than others of an equivalent age and experience to a noticeable degree.



I'm not among the very best, but I used to be decent at sight reading.

I think the age at which people learn to read music probably makes a big difference, too. I learned the basics of how to read music when I was five, before I learned how to read words, and because of that, I think it just always seemed to be nothing special to be fairly comfortable with it. It was just something I knew how to do, like tying my shoelaces or anything else you learn early. I didn't know any other kids my age who were learning piano, so can't really compare their skills to mine.

The first school I attended was a small rural one, and we had "assembly", which meant that all the kids in the school (around a couple of dozen of them, aged 6-14) would get together in the auditorium. One activity during assembly was singing, mostly out of a book of folk and popular songs. I was accompanying these songs, usually just sight-reading them, before I was big enough to reach the pedals. And that would include doing an introduction of some sort, or, if the song was unfamiliar, I'd play through the tune first so we could get an idea of how it went. I don't really remember my exact age when I started doing that, but it was probably around 7-8 years old. Looking back, I imagine that was sort of unusual, but I don't actually know. Neither do I know how well I did it, other than well enough to do the job.

A couple of years ago, I had a long and interesting conversation with someone I knew back in middle and high school, with whom I had not had contact for around forty years, and who had been a professional classical musician for a good portion of those years. His recollection of me as a teen was that I had been, in his words, "like some kind of genius sight-reader, able to play Chopin etudes on sight" but that I lacked the discipline to go on to thoroughly master the pieces I played. He was exaggerating my skill, but it does tell me that I was probably better at sight reading than most of my peers. He definitely was not exaggerating about my lack of discipline, which was a sadly accurate assessment, and is a problem I've heard that some other good sight-readers have.

Top
#1775883 - 10/23/11 07:48 PM Re: You're either a good sightreader or you're not. [Re: Morodiene]
argerichfan Offline
8000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/15/06
Posts: 8889
Loc: Pacific Northwest, US.
Originally Posted By: Morodiene

What if they were trying to play something impossibly hard like most saxophone sonata accompaniments? They might be good and doing better than many.

Funny you mention saxophone. The Creston Sonata is very difficult for the pianist, but it was the slow movement I sightread with a saxophonist -he was very impressed- and because of that initial encounter we eventually performed the entire piece. The outer movements I could not have sightread, and indeed they took a lot work on my part.

Back in the old uni days my teacher took us into the studio and talked about the Schonberg Piano Concerto. What a great piece of music we were told -Emperor's clothes on overtime I should think- and then the four of us were put on the hot seat to sightread. I was first.

I sightread the opening piano statement almost perfectly and damn near up to speed (which isn't very fast, okay.) My classmates gasped as did my teacher. No one else touched me. This was a big moment, I have to admit. And I got a date out of it.

So be it. You people can talk about 'talent' in sightreading all you wish (the good Lord hardly gave me any talent as a concert pianist), but almost from the very beginning, I have had a voracious appetite for reading through new music.

IMO, no magic to sightreading, one just needs to 'do it'. Look at a new piece of music, scan it through, identify 'problem' areas where notes need to be left out, and go for it. And another thing I have found helpful: look at a piece of music away from the piano, and visualize how your hands would encompass those notes.

Just my experience here.
_________________________
Jason

Top
#1776054 - 10/24/11 06:33 AM Re: You're either a good sightreader or you're not. [Re: Drunk3nFist]
Ilinca Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/19/10
Posts: 30
Loc: Chisinau, Moldova
Wow, I didn't visit PW since yesterday morning and I was amazed to see how much you quoted and debated my following phrases:

Every pianist can become a good sightreader! It's a proven fact.

Sightreading, just like any other piano skill, can be developed by mindful, correct practice.


I totally agree that 'good' is a relative term. That's why I used it! I certainly did not say 'great' or 'genius' smile. 'Good' means being satisfied with what you can do - it means being able to read at first sight fairly complicated piano pieces (for example, a Nocturne or even an Etude by Chopin, a Sonata by Beethoven etc. - certainly not atonal music! LOL) in a reasonable tempo (but not too fast) and with minimum stops, being able to grasp at least to a certain degree the meaning, the atmosphere and the character of the piece. Yes, all this is relative, but so is art itself! That's why it's so important to determine for ourselves if our sightreading capacity satisfies us or not.

Originally Posted By: Morodiene

But saying "either you are good at something or not" like the OP implies, that negates all the hard work that someone has put into something. You can say "Either you're a good tennis player or not" and claim that not everyone can be a Roger Federer discounts the fact that Federer works VERY hard over a period of years to get himself to this place, and continues to work hard to stay there. So I don't think that everyone can become a Horowitz, but that doesn't mean that someone with a 'lesser' ability or talent can't work hard and achieve some level of proficiency at the piano.


It's absolutely true!!!

Most of the time, we see a person who's excellent at what he/she is doing (piano, tennis etc.) and we think that they are simply 'good at it'. It's not true! They simply know what they want, they know how to get there and they make little steps every day for achieving their goal (instead of sitting in front of the TV and complaining about their lack of talent)!

There is one more aspect to this idea: Passion towards a certain activity transforms HARD work into ENJOYABLE smart work!

The key to success (no matter if we talk about piano playing, tennis or something else) is enjoying what you do! Passion and a positive attitude have the amazing power of accelerating our progress beyond anything we could imagine!

In the end, it's all a question of passion and goals: if you enjoy sightreading and exploring the amazing piano repertoire, if you KNOW the difference between correct and incorrect practice, if you do it repeatedly and mindfully (as opposed to mechanically), if you are relaxed and calm in the process - you'll INEVITABLY get better at it!

Yes, experience also matters. If you play piano since you were 6, it's logical that by the age of 20 you have all the chances of becoming not a good, but an excellent sightreader. On the other hand, how can you compete with someone of your age who started to play piano at 18?

Of course it all depends on your particular situation, on your predilections, on how much you love to play piano and so on.

But the bottom line remains the same: if you really want to achieve something and if you make small mindful steps every day in that direction - you'll certainly reach your goal!

Smart work, determination, passion, perseverance and a positive and confident state of mind can truly move mountains! wink

P.S. Our mind is extremely powerful. Sadly, most of the time we are not aware of this smile.
_________________________
PianoCareerAcademy.com - Holistic Piano Coaching

Top
#1776070 - 10/24/11 07:26 AM Re: You're either a good sightreader or you're not. [Re: Drunk3nFist]
Numerian Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/04/05
Posts: 1075
Ouch! I recognize myself in wr's description of the good sight reader who just isn't disciplined enough to learn a piece thoroughly. I've always been able to read unfamiliar piano music easily, accompany signers or play in duets with competence without knowing the music, and fake my way through the difficult passages. I'm also the anti-Debrucey, able to solve crossword puzzles or sudoku quickly, see the jumbled word pop out immediately, enjoy chess, etc. Of course, the more you do these things, the easier they get, like sight reading music.

The downside is that I'm not very good at memorizing, so I don't have an established repertoire. I always have to travel around with the music on hand in order to perform publicly. Fortunately, I am not a professional musician required to play by memory. Even more fortunately, I know a large amount of repertoire competently, though not at a professional level, if I have access to the music. The older I get, the more I appreciate this. Most of my piano playing is not work - it is fun, exploring new repertoire or visiting old friends. I'll never have a tag line showing all the pieces I am learning, because I am never "learning" anything. I guess I can say I am learning everything I can get my hands on, which is why I am always exploring book sales and printing up interesting music off imslp. I am just never learning it in the traditional way, polishing it off completely all at once.

I guess I wouldn't trade sight reading ability for the memorizing skills of a professional artist, which I will never be anyway. If I have a fancy, I can pull out the Songs Without Words and play them all, or play all of the Annees de Pelerinage (except for the Dante Sonata, which I don't like), for the musical enjoyment of playing this music. I'll just never post any of it in the Members Recording section.

Top
#1776081 - 10/24/11 07:55 AM Re: You're either a good sightreader or you're not. [Re: Numerian]
landorrano Online   content
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/26/06
Posts: 2469
Loc: France
Originally Posted By: Numerian
Most of my piano playing is not work - it is fun, exploring new repertoire or visiting old friends. I'll never have a tag line showing all the pieces I am learning, because I am never "learning" anything. I guess I can say I am learning everything I can get my hands on, which is why I am always exploring book sales and printing up interesting music off imslp. I am just never learning it in the traditional way, polishing it off completely all at once.


Excellent!

Originally Posted By: Numerian

I guess I wouldn't trade sight reading ability for the memorizing skills of a professional artist, which I will never be anyway.


Excellent !

Originally Posted By: Numerian
If I have a fancy, I can pull out the Songs Without Words and play them all, or play all of the Annees de Pelerinage (except for the Dante Sonata, which I don't like), for the musical enjoyment of playing this music.


Excellent!


Edited by landorrano (10/24/11 07:57 AM)

Top
#1776085 - 10/24/11 08:07 AM Re: You're either a good sightreader or you're not. [Re: Ilinca]
pianoloverus Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/29/01
Posts: 19352
Loc: New York City
Originally Posted By: Ilinca

I totally agree that 'good' is a relative term. That's why I used it! I certainly did not say 'great' or 'genius' smile. 'Good' means being satisfied with what you can do - it means being able to read at first sight fairly complicated piano pieces (for example, a Nocturne or even an Etude by Chopin, a Sonata by Beethoven etc. - certainly not atonal music! LOL) in a reasonable tempo (but not too fast) and with minimum stops, being able to grasp at least to a certain degree the meaning, the atmosphere and the character of the piece. Yes, all this is relative, but so is art itself! That's why it's so important to determine for ourselves if our sightreading capacity satisfies us or not.
Not only is "good" a relative term without specific meaning...so is "great","genius", "fairly
complicated","reasonable","minimum","certain degree".etc.. The definition of "good" you gave is completely your own and could easily be far different from someone else's definition.

Top
#1776087 - 10/24/11 08:10 AM Re: You're either a good sightreader or you're not. [Re: Drunk3nFist]
RonaldSteinway Online   content
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/11/08
Posts: 1491
Everybody can improve through practice and hard work, but eventually one will not grow beyond his or her own limiting factors. It is crazy to think that everybody will be able to play, say, ALL chopin etudes well if he or she practices very hard.

Top
#1776128 - 10/24/11 09:30 AM Re: You're either a good sightreader or you're not. [Re: Drunk3nFist]
Varcon Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/15/04
Posts: 1931
Loc: Mount Vernon, Georgia 30445
I'll admit I'm NOT a good sight-reader and I admire those who are. I will defer to anyone who is better than I am. I had played the Liszt Eb Concerto for my senior recital in high school and was surprised by gifts and accolades the next day. I entered college and was to accompany a singing group. The conductor gave me a score at the rehearsal and all I could do was look at it--I was stymied because I always worked my way through a piece laboriously note by note and measure by measure. To just play it at sight was not possible.

I played for Sunday school but the leader always gave me the hymns on Wednesday so I could get them ready. Later, after college and more experience I began to get better but even now, with that pressure of playing for services, I don't feel very comfortable being asked to play much more than a simple hymn at sight. I have improved tremendously from the early college and high school but, as I said, will defer to anyone when sightreading is done. I have worked on it so I'm not so bad when I am alone and surprise myself sometime. My high school teacher could sight read almost anything and told me she was several measures ahead of where she was playing. I have NO IDEA how she did that. She was a Juilliard graduate (Samaroff) and the one who taught me the Liszt. A marvelous musician and pianist, I still feel she was as good as any subsequent teacher I've had. She insisted on a change after high school but kept tabs on me all time.

Top
#1776151 - 10/24/11 10:18 AM Re: You're either a good sightreader or you're not. [Re: Drunk3nFist]
leemax Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/16/10
Posts: 501
Loc: pacific nw, usa
I play a number of instruments and I'm a really good sight-reader on the ones that are not polyphonic. The polyphonic ones (piano and classical guitar) for some reason give me a lot of problems. I think it's just something in the way my brain works that makes it harder for me to read multiple notes at once. A pattern-recognition thing or something. I don't know. I started on piano lessons when I was about 4 or 5, and trumpet when I was probably 10, so I had much more polyphonic reading "practice", and I know many techniques of improving sight reading, but there is still just something that doesn't "click" for me. My dad was a pianist and a really good sight-reader. I tried to play hymns and such, and even familiar ones with really easy chord progressions were not easy to read. There is just something different about the processing of polyphonic and monophonic lines for me. Maybe others are the same.
_________________________
Lee

Top
#1776152 - 10/24/11 10:19 AM Re: You're either a good sightreader or you're not. [Re: RonaldSteinway]
argerichfan Offline
8000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/15/06
Posts: 8889
Loc: Pacific Northwest, US.
Originally Posted By: RonaldSteinway
Everybody can improve through practice and hard work, but eventually one will not grow beyond his or her own limiting factors. It is crazy to think that everybody will be able to play, say, ALL chopin etudes well if he or she practices very hard.

No disagreement there. I've sight-read through all of the Chopin etudes (only seriously studied 3 or 4 of them) and came to the depressing conclusion that many of them I would never get up to speed, not to mention accurate.
_________________________
Jason

Top
#1776170 - 10/24/11 10:44 AM Re: You're either a good sightreader or you're not. [Re: Varcon]
pianoloverus Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/29/01
Posts: 19352
Loc: New York City
Originally Posted By: Varcon
I entered college and was to accompany a singing group. The conductor gave me a score at the rehearsal and all I could do was look at it--I was stymied because I always worked my way through a piece laboriously note by note and measure by measure. To just play it at sight was not possible.
My story is even worse. I had accompanied my high school chorus, but the first thing the college choir director asked me was "Can you sing"? Since the choir did an awful lot of a capella music he wasn't interested in an accompanist who couldn't sing.


Edited by pianoloverus (10/24/11 11:27 AM)

Top
#1776182 - 10/24/11 10:55 AM Re: You're either a good sightreader or you're not. [Re: pianoloverus]
Varcon Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/15/04
Posts: 1931
Loc: Mount Vernon, Georgia 30445
I forgot to mention that the score the conductor put in front of me was, what I know now, a simple four-part arrangement that would not be a problem with my present ability. Since he had attended my recital for the Chopin Polonaise in Ab, and other things and the Liszt, he thought I would be able to sight-read fluently. He was so surprised that I could do virtually nothing.

I'm so glad I've improved but still boast no laurels for sight-reading.

Top
#1776189 - 10/24/11 11:07 AM Re: You're either a good sightreader or you're not. [Re: argerichfan]
RonaldSteinway Online   content
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/11/08
Posts: 1491
Originally Posted By: argerichfan
Originally Posted By: RonaldSteinway
Everybody can improve through practice and hard work, but eventually one will not grow beyond his or her own limiting factors. It is crazy to think that everybody will be able to play, say, ALL chopin etudes well if he or she practices very hard.

No disagreement there. I've sight-read through all of the Chopin etudes (only seriously studied 3 or 4 of them) and came to the depressing conclusion that many of them I would never get up to speed, not to mention accurate.


I agree, reading Chopin Etudes is not difficult. But playing up to tempo and well is totally different game! Damm those Chopin etudes.....hehehehehe

Top
#1776274 - 10/24/11 02:02 PM Re: You're either a good sightreader or you're not. [Re: Drunk3nFist]
Stanza Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/18/02
Posts: 1458
Loc: Chapel Hill, NC
I think a lot depends on how you learn pieces or first learned pieces on the piano. As a kid I learned playing from the score. After I could play a piece, then my teacher would sometimes have me memorize it. Also I never practiced much, and memorization would take too much time.

The "fast-track" approach that many people seem to be taking (especially those who tackle advanced "dream pieces" after only a year or so of lessons)is to decipher a small bit of what is on the page, look down and transfer it to the keys, repeat the pattern until memorized, then move on.

With the former method over time, working your way up through the literature, you should eventually be able to play most intermediate pieces pretty well prima vista. However, it may also take quite a while to get to the more advanced stuff. The latter can get you "up to speed" more quickly, and amaze your friends, but you will probably end up with a limited repertoire, and be unable to play something somebody hands you.

Despite the fact that pianists mostly play from memory, the conductor and the rest of the orchestra always plays from the score. I think if you make a habit of almost always playing from the sheetmusic, even when a piece is learned, you will be a better sight reader.
_________________________
Estonia L190 #7004
Casio PX 310
Yamaha NP 30

Top
#1776389 - 10/24/11 05:06 PM Re: You're either a good sightreader or you're not. [Re: Stanza]
Drunk3nFist Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/11/08
Posts: 640
Loc: London
Originally Posted By: Stanza
I think a lot depends on how you learn pieces or first learned pieces on the piano. As a kid I learned playing from the score. After I could play a piece, then my teacher would sometimes have me memorize it. Also I never practiced much, and memorization would take too much time.

The "fast-track" approach that many people seem to be taking (especially those who tackle advanced "dream pieces" after only a year or so of lessons)is to decipher a small bit of what is on the page, look down and transfer it to the keys, repeat the pattern until memorized, then move on.

With the former method over time, working your way up through the literature, you should eventually be able to play most intermediate pieces pretty well prima vista. However, it may also take quite a while to get to the more advanced stuff. The latter can get you "up to speed" more quickly, and amaze your friends, but you will probably end up with a limited repertoire, and be unable to play something somebody hands you.

Despite the fact that pianists mostly play from memory, the conductor and the rest of the orchestra always plays from the score. I think if you make a habit of almost always playing from the sheetmusic, even when a piece is learned, you will be a better sight reader.







For the latter group of people you menionted, how big/small are the hopes would you say they have of seeing their sightreading improvement to a point where they can actually go through different pieces at satisfactory tempo and with minimum stops? Would they still have a hope of catching up to those who sightreading came natural to in the beginning?
_________________________
Ravel - Une Barque Sur l'Ocean
Kapustin - Etude No. 7
Bach/Busoni - Chaconne

Top
#1776456 - 10/24/11 06:50 PM Re: You're either a good sightreader or you're not. [Re: RonaldSteinway]
stores Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/28/09
Posts: 6646
Loc: Here, as opposed to there
Originally Posted By: RonaldSteinway
Originally Posted By: argerichfan
Originally Posted By: RonaldSteinway
Everybody can improve through practice and hard work, but eventually one will not grow beyond his or her own limiting factors. It is crazy to think that everybody will be able to play, say, ALL chopin etudes well if he or she practices very hard.

No disagreement there. I've sight-read through all of the Chopin etudes (only seriously studied 3 or 4 of them) and came to the depressing conclusion that many of them I would never get up to speed, not to mention accurate.


I agree, reading Chopin Etudes is not difficult. But playing up to tempo and well is totally different game! Damm those Chopin etudes.....hehehehehe


The reason you can't play them to tempo is because you lack the technique to do so. It's as simple as that. There is no great mystery to tackling and conquering the Chopin etudes or any other work. You either possess the proper technique or you don't. Thus, the "limiting factor" here is technique, or rather the lack thereof.
_________________________

"And if we look at the works of J.S. Bach — a benevolent god to which all musicians should offer a prayer to defend themselves against mediocrity... -Debussy

"It's ok if you disagree with me. I can't force you to be right."

♪ ≠ $


Top
Page 2 of 3 < 1 2 3 >

Moderator:  Brendan, Kreisler 
What's Hot!!
HOW TO POST PICTURES on the Piano Forums
-------------------
Sharing is Caring!
About the Buttons
-------------------
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) HAILUN Pianos
Hailun Pianos - Click for More
ad (Casio)
Celviano by Casio Rebate
Ad (Seiler/Knabe)
Knabe Pianos
Sheet Music
(PW is an affiliate)
Sheet Music Plus Featured Sale
(125ad) Dampp Chaser
Dampp Chaser Piano Life Saver
(ad) Lindeblad Piano
Lindeblad Piano Restoration
New Topics - Multiple Forums
Exorcist movie main theme
by Danijelcro
09/23/14 12:03 PM
Free Cunningham Piano Company Grand Piano
by Rich D.
09/23/14 11:05 AM
Baldwin capo: a metallic-buzz sound generating system
by A443
09/23/14 11:00 AM
MP11 sustain pedal (F30) release: possible issue?
by kanadajin
09/23/14 10:59 AM
Chopin - Scherzo 1 Help
by YoungNoir
09/23/14 10:22 AM
Who's Online
141 registered (ajames, allakart, Aljon, 45 invisible), 1572 Guests and 20 Spiders online.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
Forum Stats
76290 Members
42 Forums
157709 Topics
2316557 Posts

Max Online: 15252 @ 03/21/10 11:39 PM
(ads by Google)

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