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 1 of 3 1 2 3 >
Topic Options
#1775276 - 10/22/11 05:25 PM You're either a good sightreader or you're not.
Drunk3nFist Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/11/08
Posts: 640
Loc: London
I personally am not one of those pianists with amazing sightreading. I resent this fact, and I wish I knew exactly what to do in order to improve. I have lots of books which have 'sightreading specimens', and whilst I do feel more confident after each time I successfully sightread through the mini exercises, I still feel I can't do much when it comes to the big pieces, i.e. the stuff I actually need to learn for my recitals.

A little off topic point - I just did a typing speed test online and happened to make a pretty good result (around 85 wpm). In order for me to type constant fluid sentences (especially if I'm reading off a page somewhere else and copying the text), I rely heavily on short term memory. What I wonder is if I'm able to make good use of this short term memory when I type on the computer, why can't I do the same when it comes to sightreading on the piano? Its the same principle, but I can't seem to make it work. It really frustrates me.

The statement in the title - Do you agree with me or not? Can a pianist who had bad sightreading skills improve to a point where their sightreading becomes fluid?
_________________________
Ravel - Une Barque Sur l'Ocean
Kapustin - Etude No. 7
Bach/Busoni - Chaconne

Top
Ad 800 (Pearl River)
Pearl River World's Best Selling Piano
#1775286 - 10/22/11 05:38 PM Re: You're either a good sightreader or you're not. [Re: Drunk3nFist]
PaulaPiano34 Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/16/10
Posts: 1217
The only way, I think, really to get better at sightreading is to practice. Playing chamber music and hymns are really, really good for this. And when you sightread always look at the key/time signatures first...

Top
#1775299 - 10/22/11 06:03 PM Re: You're either a good sightreader or you're not. [Re: Drunk3nFist]
chrisbell Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/11/07
Posts: 1344
Loc: Stockholm, Sweden
Originally Posted By: Drunk3nFist
. . . .The statement in the title - Do you agree with me or not? Can a pianist who had bad sightreading skills improve to a point where their sightreading becomes fluid?
Yes. They/you can. You have to first decide if you have to right to become a good sight-reader. It takes time and deliberate practice.
However, if one is Dyslexic, it takes more time - and effort. Being Dyslexic affects ones ability to read not only words/letters but also notes.
_________________________

I never play anything the same way once.

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

Top
#1775325 - 10/22/11 06:50 PM Re: You're either a good sightreader or you're not. [Re: Drunk3nFist]
gooddog Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/08/08
Posts: 4791
Loc: Seattle area, WA
Sightreading is like math for me. If I am alone, sitting quietly, I'm pretty good at both. If I'm being watched or presenting it to others, I'm terrible.
_________________________
Best regards,

Deborah

Top
#1775330 - 10/22/11 07:04 PM Re: You're either a good sightreader or you're not. [Re: PaulaPiano34]
rob.art Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/13/11
Posts: 187
Originally Posted By: chobeethaninov
The only way, I think, really to get better at sightreading is to practice.


don't agree, you have to to find a way to do it right otherwise no matter how much you practice you'll move forward very slow.
Practicing didn't work for me at all.

I'm very curious what can say about it guys who can sightread fast and painlessly.

Top
#1775333 - 10/22/11 07:06 PM Re: You're either a good sightreader or you're not. [Re: Drunk3nFist]
debrucey Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/18/06
Posts: 2606
Loc: Manchester, UK
I do think its something that certain people are naturally better at than others. If I practice I will improve my sightreading, but I will never be a great sightreader.

Top
#1775336 - 10/22/11 07:18 PM Re: You're either a good sightreader or you're not. [Re: Drunk3nFist]
rob.art Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/13/11
Posts: 187
it has to be some secret to it...

Top
#1775349 - 10/22/11 07:49 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
There's not much doubt in my mind that sight reading has an inborn talent component. Can someone improve? Of course. But those fortunate folks who can just effortlessly knock back pretty much anything you put in front of them have a definite talent for it.

Top
#1775352 - 10/22/11 08:05 PM Re: You're either a good sightreader or you're not. [Re: cardguy]
currawong Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/15/07
Posts: 5921
Loc: Down Under
Originally Posted By: cardguy
There's not much doubt in my mind that sight reading has an inborn talent component. Can someone improve? Of course. But those fortunate folks who can just effortlessly knock back pretty much anything you put in front of them have a definite talent for it.
Perhaps, if by "talent for it" you mean a desire to play lots of music, so that they're always trying out something they haven't heard before at the piano. Because this seems to me to be the crucial thing. People who read get better at it. People who read because they actually like it will read more, and will get even better at it. I'm a good sight-reader. Am I just "fortunate"? I don't think so. I was fortunate to have lots of printed music around me that I was allowed to try out, with no-one correcting me and spoiling the joy of discovery. So much of what I played was approximation, but as time went on I became better at being accurate. I was "fortunate" I suppose in that I had time to just play around at the piano as a child, and that as I got older I had opportunities to play with others (reading hymns at church, where of course you just had to keep going; accompanying choirs; discovering classical song with a schoolfriend who was a singer).
Actually, yes, I think I was very fortunate indeed.
_________________________
Du holde Kunst...

Top
#1775354 - 10/22/11 08:12 PM Re: You're either a good sightreader or you're not. [Re: Drunk3nFist]
musiccr8r Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/16/08
Posts: 268
Loc: Denver
I know this topic gets discussed a lot, but I'll weigh in to keep it on the table, since I find it fascinating and also frustrating. I do think one must practice sightreading, but I think there must be some "tricks" or shortcuts that one should be working on (rather than just "OK, I'll play this thing I've never seen before, without purpose", which is probably not a lot more effective than "running through" your repertoire without any aim or intentionality). Your typing was a good example: you type quickly, and most likely because you read fluently, in "chunks". So, for example, maybe if you were given a single letter at a time to type, you might not be lightening fast (compared to other average typists), but if you are able to visually group letters into words and phrases, you can go much much faster on a per-letter basis. I know intellectually that there is an element of this in sightreading; recognizing whole chords and larger patterns vs. just "reading" note by note. But, it doesn't translate into me always being able to DO that! So, maybe it would be good to, say, practice identifying/playing chords (like, collapsing an arpeggio) as fast as possible, as a sort of exercise. Another idea that just popped into my head might be: get someone to help you by covering your music and exposing one measure at a time. Glance at it very quickly and then see how much you can play without looking at it again (i.e., extend the distance you "suck in" mentally at a single glance, much in the way you can, when reading aloud, actually continue with several words of a sentence that you glance at instantaniously...try it, it's true!) Have you ever noticed that in simpler pop tunes (this doesn't work for me in jazz since I'm not fluent in that notation), if they have the chords written above each measure (like for guitar), you can read it much faster? It's like that chord symbol condenses the entire measure for you.
However, there are so many factors in sightreading, including familiarity with the style/genre, the simple things like page layout and such, and the "courtesy" accidentals that sometimes actually make me do worse since they start to make me mentally cancel out the key signature (after all, if they WROTE the b-flat there, it must not be in the key sig., right?? ) ha I hope others will keep weighing in on the best way to practice and improve this area.

Top
#1775361 - 10/22/11 08:29 PM Re: You're either a good sightreader or you're not. [Re: currawong]
argerichfan Offline
8000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/15/06
Posts: 8851
Loc: Pacific Northwest, US.
Originally Posted By: currawong
Perhaps, if by "talent for it" you mean a desire to play lots of music, so that they're always trying out something they haven't heard before at the piano. Because this seems to me to be the crucial thing. People who read get better at it. People who read because they actually like it will read more, and will get even better at it. I'm a good sight-reader. Am I just "fortunate"? I don't think so. I was fortunate to have lots of printed music around me that I was allowed to try out, with no-one correcting me and spoiling the joy of discovery. So much of what I played was approximation, but as time went on I became better at being accurate. I was "fortunate" I suppose in that I had time to just play around at the piano as a child, and that as I got older I had opportunities to play with others (reading hymns at church, where of course you just had to keep going; accompanying choirs; discovering classical song with a schoolfriend who was a singer).

This is very well put, thanks currawong, I completely agree! heart

I really feel that sight reading can be learned. I'm not the most talented of pianists, but ever since a boy, I've always had a voracious appetite for reading through music. I used to go to the library and bring scores home, sometimes piles of them, simply to spend the afternoon exploring. It was really fun when my mother wasn't around to listen.

Subsequently, as I got involved with church music, that was when the TRIAL BY FIRE started. Hymns, anthems and psalm settings were thrown at me with little mercy. You sink or swim, and I think I'm a damn good sight reader because of that, and better than a few church musicians I knew back in the UK.

Unlikely I could ever properly learn the Bartok 2nd Concerto -in my dearest dreams- but I have read through it. (Hats off to anyone who can bring that nasty piece of business up to speed.)









_________________________
Jason

Top
#1775375 - 10/22/11 09:09 PM Re: You're either a good sightreader or you're not. [Re: argerichfan]
Morodiene Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 11761
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
Originally Posted By: argerichfan


Subsequently, as I got involved with church music, that was when the TRIAL BY FIRE started. Hymns, anthems and psalm settings were thrown at me with little mercy. You sink or swim, and I think I'm a damn good sight reader because of that, and better than a few church musicians I knew back in the UK.



This is huge. Accompanying of any kind or playing lots of duets really help improvement with sight reading. I was never a good sight reader but as soon as I started playing for churches, choirs, and soloists, I really improved quite quickly. It is a trial by fire, so hopefully you're not sight reading for a "performance" like argerichfan did, but even simply accompanying someone and having to adhere to their timing (especially if it's a singer who has to breathe or wind instrument) helps tremendously. You learn to recognize patterns very quickly. Of course, the more playing you do in general, the more patterns you encounter and the less "actual" reading you have to do.
_________________________
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
#1775411 - 10/22/11 10:45 PM Re: You're either a good sightreader or you're not. [Re: Drunk3nFist]
painter55 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/17/11
Posts: 101
Loc: New Mexico
So many threads lately on sight reading! Of which I am a guilty party!

Best advice on sight reading:

1. Pick something EASY.
2. NEVER look at your hands.
3. COUNT out loud.
4. GO SLOW.
5. GO SLOW.


Edited by painter55 (10/23/11 09:54 AM)
_________________________
Painter55 (Bobby in New Mexico)
Yamaha U3

Working on:
*Clementi 36/1
*Haydn Hob XVI/1
*Bach BWV 846

Top
#1775437 - 10/22/11 11:38 PM Re: You're either a good sightreader or you're not. [Re: painter55]
rob.art Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/13/11
Posts: 187
Originally Posted By: painter55
So many threads lately on sigh reading! Of which I am a guilty party!

Best advice on sight reading:

1. Pick something EASY.
2. NEVER look at your hands.
3. COUNT out loud.
4. GO SLOW.
5. GO SLOW.


6. turn off the light...

Top
#1775446 - 10/22/11 11:55 PM Re: You're either a good sightreader or you're not. [Re: rob.art]
jeffreyjones Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/31/10
Posts: 2311
Loc: San Jose, CA
Originally Posted By: rob.art
Originally Posted By: painter55
So many threads lately on sigh reading! Of which I am a guilty party!

Best advice on sight reading:

1. Pick something EASY.
2. NEVER look at your hands.
3. COUNT out loud.
4. GO SLOW.
5. GO SLOW.


6. turn off the light...


This isn't a memorizing thread!

Actually, I find it easiest to sight-read when I have the best possible light. The organ at church has a blazing spotlight which is awesome and ideal for sight-reading.

Top
#1775450 - 10/23/11 12:03 AM Re: You're either a good sightreader or you're not. [Re: jeffreyjones]
rob.art Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/13/11
Posts: 187
Originally Posted By: jeffreyjones
Originally Posted By: rob.art
Originally Posted By: painter55
So many threads lately on sigh reading! Of which I am a guilty party!

Best advice on sight reading:

1. Pick something EASY.
2. NEVER look at your hands.
3. COUNT out loud.
4. GO SLOW.
5. GO SLOW.


6. turn off the light...


This isn't a memorizing thread!

Actually, I find it easiest to sight-read when I have the best possible light. The organ at church has a blazing spotlight which is awesome and ideal for sight-reading.


I meant you can can leave your hat on...

Top
#1775472 - 10/23/11 01:14 AM Re: You're either a good sightreader or you're not. [Re: rob.art]
BruceD Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 17949
Loc: Victoria, BC
Originally Posted By: rob.art
Originally Posted By: chobeethaninov
The only way, I think, really to get better at sightreading is to practice.


don't agree, you have to to find a way to do it right otherwise no matter how much you practice you'll move forward very slow.
Practicing didn't work for me at all.

I'm very curious what can say about it guys who can sightread fast and painlessly.


Is there some mis-communication here or just some unclear writing? Presumably what chobeet... meant was that in order to become better at sight-reading one has to practice (i.e. work on) sight-reading, not just "practice" in general.

And, it goes without saying that, like any skill, you have to "do it right" to progress. The blanket statement: "No matter how much you practice you'll move forward very slow" makes absolutely no sense to me. 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.

Regards,
_________________________
BruceD
- - - - -
Estonia 190

Top
#1775506 - 10/23/11 03:37 AM Re: You're either a good sightreader or you're not. [Re: currawong]
wr Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/23/07
Posts: 7793
Originally Posted By: currawong
Originally Posted By: cardguy
There's not much doubt in my mind that sight reading has an inborn talent component. Can someone improve? Of course. But those fortunate folks who can just effortlessly knock back pretty much anything you put in front of them have a definite talent for it.
Perhaps, if by "talent for it" you mean a desire to play lots of music, so that they're always trying out something they haven't heard before at the piano. Because this seems to me to be the crucial thing. People who read get better at it. People who read because they actually like it will read more, and will get even better at it. I'm a good sight-reader. Am I just "fortunate"? I don't think so. I was fortunate to have lots of printed music around me that I was allowed to try out, with no-one correcting me and spoiling the joy of discovery. So much of what I played was approximation, but as time went on I became better at being accurate. I was "fortunate" I suppose in that I had time to just play around at the piano as a child, and that as I got older I had opportunities to play with others (reading hymns at church, where of course you just had to keep going; accompanying choirs; discovering classical song with a schoolfriend who was a singer).
Actually, yes, I think I was very fortunate indeed.


Very well said. And your experiences are very similar to mine (although I am no longer as good at sightreading as I once was, in part because I am no longer in situations where I have to do it).

I wonder if reading through music because you simply enjoy it and are curious about how it sounds isn't the biggest single factor in developing sight reading, and I really don't know how people would acquire that desire if they don't already feel it.



Edited by wr (10/23/11 03:37 AM)

Top
#1775516 - 10/23/11 04:47 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
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.

Let me give you an example: when I graduated the Conservatoire, I wasn't such a good sightreader. I was practicing a lot, but I was always working on the pieces until they were ready for concert performances - and I had little time for exploring the piano repertoire. Then, after graduation, I began to work in a symphony orchestra - as piano soloist. We have new programs every week!!! I work there for six years now, and my sightreading has dramatically improved! Now I can enjoy playing at first sight complicated piano works (not just the orchestral repertoire) - Bach, Chopin, Liszt etc.

I agree that accompanying singers/instrumentalists is also extremely helpful!

My advice is to practice sightreading every day - for at least 20-30 minutes. Start with easy pieces for beginners. Place the score in front of you and look at it for a minute or two before playing. Notice its tonality, its tempo, its time signature, its character, and also the main patterns used. Read the little piece slowly, mindfully, being aware of as many details as possible - including pedal and fingering. After reading the piece, don't return to it. Simply move to the next one.

When you feel that easy pieces are not a challenge anymore and you can play them very well (without stops, with expression, phrasing and dynamics), move to the next level of difficulty.

I suggest using for this purpose piano books for beginners. Start with first grade and slowly move forward, until you reach grade 7-8. Then, you can try to read anything you want! wink

One more thing: as Morodiene and musiccr8r have mentioned, recognizing patterns is a very useful skill! With practice, when looking at a new piece, you'll see a lot of patterns: certain chords and arpeggios, or maybe a scale pattern etc.

So, when you see a major-minor scale pattern, or an arpeggio, or a specific chord, you'll already know what moves/fingering are necessary for playing it!

As you see, sightreading is also about building reflexes, of creating the habit to associate the patterns in the musical text with the specific gestures necessary for playing them.

As we all know, it's impossible to create such habits and reflexes without practice! wink
_________________________
PianoCareerAcademy.com - Holistic Piano Coaching

Top
#1775518 - 10/23/11 04:50 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
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
_________________________
website

mp3\wav files

AvantGrand N3, CP5

Top
#1775528 - 10/23/11 06:09 AM Re: You're either a good sightreader or you're not. [Re: Ilinca]
chrisbell Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/11/07
Posts: 1344
Loc: Stockholm, Sweden
Originally Posted By: Ilinca
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
I use the words: Deliberate Practice but same same . . .
_________________________

I never play anything the same way once.

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

Top
#1775544 - 10/23/11 07:58 AM Re: You're either a good sightreader or you're not. [Re: chrisbell]
stores Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/28/09
Posts: 6646
Loc: Here, as opposed to there
Originally Posted By: chrisbell
Originally Posted By: Ilinca
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
I use the words: Deliberate Practice but same same . . .


Actually, it's really not the same, because one can practise deliberately all day long and if that person isn't practising correctly (which is THE key here) then it won't matter one iota.
_________________________

"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
#1775564 - 10/23/11 08:58 AM Re: You're either a good sightreader or you're not. [Re: Drunk3nFist]
pianoloverus Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/29/01
Posts: 19271
Loc: New York City
The thread title is clearly wrong IMO. Sight reading doesn't come in only good or bad degrees. Like any other skill it comes in a continuum of abilities.

I'd say some of the ingredients that determine one's sight reading ability are:

1. natural talent

2. Practice. This doesn't only mean "Now I'll sit down and practice sight reading for 30 minutes". In fact, I think most good sight readers got there partly by wanting to play through music a lot and never thinking of this as practicing sight reading.

3. All the other skills that go into making one a good pianist in general(technical skill, understanding of harmony, and every other aspect of musicianship). If one sees a fast scalar passage but cannot play it(technical ability), then one's sighteading ability is lowered. If one doesn't recognize some other note pattern/chordal structure due to lack of understanding of harmony then one's sight reading ability is lowered.


I'd say almost anyone can improve their sight reading, but it's not correct to say anyone can become "good" or "excellent". For starters, there is no agreed upon definition of those words. Also, one's natural ability might be a limiting factor no matter how one chooses to define those words.




Edited by pianoloverus (10/23/11 09:00 AM)

Top
#1775565 - 10/23/11 08:59 AM Re: You're either a good sightreader or you're not. [Re: currawong]
lilylady Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/17/05
Posts: 4977
Loc: boston north
Originally Posted By: currawong
... the joy of discovery....


I like this phrase, whether it be for sight reading or the discovery of learning a new piece.
_________________________
"Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and life to everything."

Top
#1775566 - 10/23/11 09:03 AM Re: You're either a good sightreader or you're not. [Re: Dave Horne]
debrucey Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/18/06
Posts: 2606
Loc: Manchester, UK
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.

Top
#1775581 - 10/23/11 09:33 AM Re: You're either a good sightreader or you're not. [Re: debrucey]
Morodiene Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 11761
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
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.
_________________________
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
#1775597 - 10/23/11 09:54 AM Re: You're either a good sightreader or you're not. [Re: Morodiene]
pianoloverus Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/29/01
Posts: 19271
Loc: New York City
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).

Top
#1775598 - 10/23/11 10:01 AM Re: You're either a good sightreader or you're not. [Re: debrucey]
apple* Offline


Registered: 01/01/03
Posts: 19862
Loc: Kansas
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.


i agree
_________________________
accompanist/organist.. a non-MTNA teacher to a few

love and peace, Õun (apple in Estonian)

Top
#1775599 - 10/23/11 10:05 AM Re: You're either a good sightreader or you're not. [Re: Drunk3nFist]
debrucey Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/18/06
Posts: 2606
Loc: Manchester, UK
Probably couldn't have put it much better.

I would really love to see some proper research done on this. It's easy to say that if you practice you will get better, because then when someone is still finding it difficult 10 years down the line you can just tell them they didn't practice enough or in the right way.

I think some people's brains work in a particular way that it is more natural for them to take in this sort of information.

I have been reading words my entire life, but it still takes me a few weeks to get through the Count of Monte Cristo whereas some people can do it an a couple of days. Some people can come up with all sorts of anagrams in countdown in a few seconds whereas I struggle to find even a four letter one. It takes me ages to solve mazes, I've never come close to solving a rubix cube. I can't do sudoku. I can't play chess. Where's wally(waldo) gives me a headache. Sure if I practiced these things effectively I'm sure I'd improve, but I'm just not biologically fortunate enough to master them. When you've seen a 14 year old create a piano reduction of a 12 stave orchestral score (with tenor clefs and transposing instruments) in real time you realise just how much of a canyon there is between being able to fumble through chopin mazurkas and being a truly great sightreader.

That is how I see it anyway. Don't think me a pessimist, just a realist.

Top
#1775604 - 10/23/11 10:22 AM Re: You're either a good sightreader or you're not. [Re: stores]
chrisbell Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/11/07
Posts: 1344
Loc: Stockholm, Sweden
Originally Posted By: stores
Originally Posted By: chrisbell
Originally Posted By: Ilinca
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
I use the words: Deliberate Practice but same same . . .

Actually, it's really not the same, because one can practise deliberately all day long and if that person isn't practising correctly (which is THE key here) then it won't matter one iota.
Then I have failed in my attempt to communicate, Deliberate Practice - as coined by Prof Anders Ericsson (the research behind the 10.000 hour idea) - imply's "correct" practice.
http://www.psy.fsu.edu/faculty/ericsson/ericsson.exp.perf.html
_________________________

I never play anything the same way once.

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

Top
#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: 1344
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
#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 Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/29/01
Posts: 19271
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 Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 11761
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 Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/29/01
Posts: 19271
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 Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/29/01
Posts: 19271
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 Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/29/01
Posts: 19271
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 Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/29/01
Posts: 19271
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 Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 11761
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: 7793
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: 8851
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 Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/26/06
Posts: 2457
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 Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/29/01
Posts: 19271
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 Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/11/08
Posts: 1483
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: 8851
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 Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/29/01
Posts: 19271
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 Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/11/08
Posts: 1483
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
#1776478 - 10/24/11 07:11 PM Re: You're either a good sightreader or you're not. [Re: Drunk3nFist]
BruceD Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 17949
Loc: Victoria, BC
I am sure that everyone appreciates that a violinist or a clarinetist or any instrumentalist who plays a single-note instrument has a much easier time of sight reading than those of us who play polyphonic instruments, and, yes, we appreciate that they have other challenges we don't have.

It is also true, to some degree, that some of those instrumentalists and some singers who do not play the piano have no idea of the complexities involved in playing the piano and/or in sight reading a score. I am sure we all know a/an (put the instrument in here) and a vocalist or two who will hand you a piece, will have no idea of its complexities or difficulties, and will expect you to read it as easily as they sight read their single line.

A violinist once handed me the Franck Sonata to which I had never seen the score and suggested we play the first movement; "It's really easy!" Well, true, it's not as difficult as many another sonata for violin and piano, but "really easy"?

That said, "sight reading" and (some) "singers" are words that often should not be used in the same sentence!

Regards,
_________________________
BruceD
- - - - -
Estonia 190

Top
#1776482 - 10/24/11 07:15 PM Re: You're either a good sightreader or you're not. [Re: BruceD]
Orange Soda King Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/25/09
Posts: 6070
Loc: Louisville, Kentucky, United S...
Originally Posted By: BruceD
I am sure we all know (put the instrument in here) and vocalists who will hand you a piece, will have no idea of its complexities or difficulties, and will expect you to read it as easily as they sight read it. That said, sight reading and some singers are words that often cannot be used in the same sentence!

Regards,


Truth, truth, truth. Ughhhhh... But I'm taking voice lessons now, so I'll eventually be on both ends of the spectrum, hehe.

Top
#1776492 - 10/24/11 07:30 PM Re: You're either a good sightreader or you're not. [Re: Drunk3nFist]
pianoloverus Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/29/01
Posts: 19271
Loc: New York City
Even worse some intelligent people I know think reading music is like reading a book. Once you know the notes you just read every piece...no practicing ever required.

Top
#1776583 - 10/24/11 09:40 PM Re: You're either a good sightreader or you're not. [Re: leemax]
Morodiene Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 11761
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
Originally Posted By: leemax
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.


Well, it's not really that complicated to understand. On piano you play sometimes 4-5 times as many notes as on a melodic instrument, and often at the same time. Of course that makes the reading harder to do.

Hymns aren't necessarily the best to sightread unless you want to get good at playing hymns. I would start with easier music if they're giving you a hard time. Like early intermediate pieces (Minuets and the like).
_________________________
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
#1776653 - 10/24/11 11:58 PM Re: You're either a good sightreader or you're not. [Re: BruceD]
Pogorelich. Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/28/08
Posts: 4528
Loc: in the past
Originally Posted By: BruceD
A violinist once handed me the Franck Sonata to which I had never seen the score and suggested we play the first movement; "It's really easy!" Well, true, it's not as difficult as many another sonata for violin and piano, but "really easy"?


Actually, the Franck is considered one of the more difficult piano-violin sonatas! I've noticed that for pretty much all collaborative piano auditions, they want to hear Franck and Beethoven 7. Having played both, I can see why... (definitely two of my favourites, and to be honest I didn't think the Franck was anywhere close to the Beethoven in difficulty)
_________________________

'I want to invest my emotions only in music; it will never disappoint me or hurt me - it is a safe place to be.'

Top
#1776658 - 10/25/11 12:05 AM Re: You're either a good sightreader or you're not. [Re: stores]
RonaldSteinway Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/11/08
Posts: 1483
Originally Posted By: stores
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.


Many people in this forum claim that they can play Chopin Etudes well. But once they posted their playing, most of them are just a laughing matter.

Top
#1776663 - 10/25/11 12:21 AM Re: You're either a good sightreader or you're not. [Re: Drunk3nFist]
whitfit Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/13/11
Posts: 80
Loc: Toronto, Canada
As someone who plays the cello, and now is learning to play the piano, the polyphonic aspect of the piano is a big jump from the cello.

As someone mentioned above, you have other issues with other instruments (with the cello, it is tone and intonation - both take a long time to get good at for most people), but with the piano I am struggling to read two staffs with multiple notes at the same time. It is a big challenge, and I hope I get better at it! After only a couple of months of learning piano, though, I hope it is something I can learn - I am giving myself two years before trying to judge whether I will get there.

Top
#1776744 - 10/25/11 06:36 AM Re: You're either a good sightreader or you're not. [Re: BruceD]
wr Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/23/07
Posts: 7793
Originally Posted By: BruceD
I am sure that everyone appreciates that a violinist or a clarinetist or any instrumentalist who plays a single-note instrument has a much easier time of sight reading than those of us who play polyphonic instruments, and, yes, we appreciate that they have other challenges we don't have.



Although the piano is my primary instrument by far, I also played several single-line instruments when I was younger. One of the interesting difficulties about sight-reading music for those instruments was that the lack of context, particularly harmonic context, adds a kind of problem that pianists usually don't have. It is much harder to understand the music you are playing and where it's going if you don't have the whole of it in front of you, but have just one line. Which isn't to say that it's more difficult than piano music to sight read, but just that it has some odd difficulties that pianists don't usually think about.

Top
#1776793 - 10/25/11 09:33 AM Re: You're either a good sightreader or you're not. [Re: pianoloverus]
cardguy Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/17/08
Posts: 977
Originally Posted By: pianoloverus
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.


Agreed. It does seem like I'm belaboring the obvious. And yet Im getting the feeling that talent is being underplayed by some...the ethos seeming to be, hard work will get you there every time. T'aint so in my opinion. I've always been a crappy sight reader. I always will be. The best I can hope for is to gradually become a bit less crappy with lots of hard work.



Edited by cardguy (10/25/11 09:34 AM)

Top
#1776795 - 10/25/11 09:35 AM Re: You're either a good sightreader or you're not. [Re: wr]
Pogorelich. Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/28/08
Posts: 4528
Loc: in the past
Originally Posted By: wr
Originally Posted By: BruceD
I am sure that everyone appreciates that a violinist or a clarinetist or any instrumentalist who plays a single-note instrument has a much easier time of sight reading than those of us who play polyphonic instruments, and, yes, we appreciate that they have other challenges we don't have.



Although the piano is my primary instrument by far, I also played several single-line instruments when I was younger. One of the interesting difficulties about sight-reading music for those instruments was that the lack of context, particularly harmonic context, adds a kind of problem that pianists usually don't have. It is much harder to understand the music you are playing and where it's going if you don't have the whole of it in front of you, but have just one line. Which isn't to say that it's more difficult than piano music to sight read, but just that it has some odd difficulties that pianists don't usually think about.


I was just thinking the same thing yesterday. I showed the violinist I'm playing with some harmonic analysis - she had 3 Cs over three different chords I had, all with different functions. Once we established that, the phrase sounded radically different and better.
_________________________

'I want to invest my emotions only in music; it will never disappoint me or hurt me - it is a safe place to be.'

Top
#1776943 - 10/25/11 01:51 PM Re: You're either a good sightreader or you're not. [Re: Pogorelich.]
Drunk3nFist Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/11/08
Posts: 640
Loc: London
I actually would like to pick up a single melodic-line instrument just to see how much easier sightreading would prove to be.
_________________________
Ravel - Une Barque Sur l'Ocean
Kapustin - Etude No. 7
Bach/Busoni - Chaconne

Top
#1776982 - 10/25/11 03:37 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
My cello playing wife is always wanting me to accompany her on the piano, then gets impatient while I struggle to keep up with music I've never seen before.

UNFAIR!!!

Top
#1777282 - 10/26/11 01:55 AM Re: You're either a good sightreader or you're not. [Re: Drunk3nFist]
Opus_Maximus Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/27/04
Posts: 1485
The key to becoming an excellent sight-reader? Get your masters at Indiana University, where all piano majors are required to accompany every conceivable instrumental and vocal piece....and have about thirty minutes to learn it...

Top
#1778242 - 10/27/11 03:39 PM Re: You're either a good sightreader or you're not. [Re: Drunk3nFist]
MadForBrad Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/11/11
Posts: 202
Loc: LA / Montreal
sight reading, like anything else can be practiced and improved. Some people have more innate talent but we known that deliberate practice trumps innate talent that is not nurtured.

Top
#1778309 - 10/27/11 05:47 PM Re: You're either a good sightreader or you're not. [Re: MadForBrad]
Drunk3nFist Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/11/08
Posts: 640
Loc: London
Originally Posted By: MadForBrad
sight reading, like anything else can be practiced and improved.



I hope so.. I really hope so frown
_________________________
Ravel - Une Barque Sur l'Ocean
Kapustin - Etude No. 7
Bach/Busoni - Chaconne

Top
#1778314 - 10/27/11 05:53 PM Re: You're either a good sightreader or you're not. [Re: wr]
BruceD Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 17949
Loc: Victoria, BC
Originally Posted By: wr
Originally Posted By: BruceD
I am sure that everyone appreciates that a violinist or a clarinetist or any instrumentalist who plays a single-note instrument has a much easier time of sight reading than those of us who play polyphonic instruments, and, yes, we appreciate that they have other challenges we don't have.



Although the piano is my primary instrument by far, I also played several single-line instruments when I was younger. One of the interesting difficulties about sight-reading music for those instruments was that the lack of context, particularly harmonic context, adds a kind of problem that pianists usually don't have. It is much harder to understand the music you are playing and where it's going if you don't have the whole of it in front of you, but have just one line. Which isn't to say that it's more difficult than piano music to sight read, but just that it has some odd difficulties that pianists don't usually think about.


That's a very relevant and important observation!

Regards,
_________________________
BruceD
- - - - -
Estonia 190

Top
#1778333 - 10/27/11 06:34 PM Re: You're either a good sightreader or you're not. [Re: Drunk3nFist]
pianoloverus Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/29/01
Posts: 19271
Loc: New York City
The posters who are emphasizing that other instrumentalists usually have only one line to read seem to be ignoring the fact that those instrumentalists have to create the sound by much more complicated means than pressing a key. Sight reading also included playing the notes.


Edited by pianoloverus (10/27/11 06:36 PM)

Top
#1778395 - 10/27/11 09:13 PM Re: You're either a good sightreader or you're not. [Re: pianoloverus]
Orange Soda King Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/25/09
Posts: 6070
Loc: Louisville, Kentucky, United S...
Originally Posted By: pianoloverus
The posters who are emphasizing that other instrumentalists usually have only one line to read seem to be ignoring the fact that those instrumentalists have to create the sound by much more complicated means than pressing a key. Sight reading also included playing the notes.


Yes, that is a great observation. But as someone who has played a couple other single-note instruments (saxophone and violin when I was younger, plus I sing) it is overall still easier for a single-line instrument.

Top
#1778507 - 10/28/11 12:56 AM Re: You're either a good sightreader or you're not. [Re: Drunk3nFist]
PianoStudent88 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/16/11
Posts: 3171
Loc: Maine
Originally Posted By: Drunk3nFist
I actually would like to pick up a single melodic-line instrument just to see how much easier sightreading would prove to be.

Why wait? Play melody lines with your RH. Instant single-line sight-reading.
_________________________
Ebaug(maj7)

Top
#1778533 - 10/28/11 01:46 AM Re: You're either a good sightreader or you're not. [Re: Drunk3nFist]
EltonRach Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/20/09
Posts: 95
Loc: Singapore
My sight reading is good when I know the piece !

It's especially poor if the timing is highly synchopated.

For me it is very music dependent.

It's poor if the notes run on a scale that's not based on the major or minor scale. Eg I've been "reading" and practising Listz's Hungarian Rhapsody 2 for 8 months now - and I don't think I've figured out more than 70% of the notes.

On the other hand, my children are "amazed" I can pick up their Grade 6 and below pieces and play it reasonably first time out.

Still haven't figured out how to play the theme from Will and Grace - damm. Theme from Chariots of Fire - got it first time out!

Twisting by the Pool (Dire Straits) still can't figure it out. Lady Marmalade - ok!

Top
#1778541 - 10/28/11 01:58 AM Re: You're either a good sightreader or you're not. [Re: PianoStudent88]
wr Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/23/07
Posts: 7793
Originally Posted By: PianoStudent88
Originally Posted By: Drunk3nFist
I actually would like to pick up a single melodic-line instrument just to see how much easier sightreading would prove to be.

Why wait? Play melody lines with your RH. Instant single-line sight-reading.


That's a good idea, but only if it is from a score where you only see the one line. To get the right effect, you could try downloading some single line parts from IMSLP to read through.

Top
#1779973 - 10/30/11 03:13 PM Re: You're either a good sightreader or you're not. [Re: Drunk3nFist]
LeaC Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/13/11
Posts: 413
Loc: USA
Someone said earlier that freedom to just play helped them. For me, the opposite is true. I was allowed to play by ear for years without any instruction on rhythm, note reading, etc. This totally screwed me up. I was not put in any public place and required to read, so maybe this helps. When I was 15 I went to a great teacher, who, for the first time, demanded that I do things her way. It was a shock because I was playing Chopin and doing it all wrong. For me, I know that I needed good instruction and guidelines from the very start. My bad habits still affect me today sometimes.

I practice at sightreading constantly to keep getting better at it--even after all these years.


Edited by LeaC (10/30/11 09:13 PM)
_________________________
Working on: Reworking Bartok's Suite Opus 14, Chopin's Polonaise Op.40, The Military (so much fun!)

Top
#1779980 - 10/30/11 03:26 PM Re: You're either a good sightreader or you're not. [Re: EltonRach]
BruceD Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 17949
Loc: Victoria, BC
Originally Posted By: EltonRach
My sight reading is good when I know the piece !

[...]


I am not sure whether your intent was to be facetious, but reading the score when you "know the piece" is not, technically speaking, sight reading. I do not think that that is what others were writing about when they write about the difficulties of sight reading. Sight reading means playing from the score a piece that you have never played or seen before. The proof of this - if proof be needed - comes in the context of a practical examination which has a sight reading component. In such a context, the candidate is given a score never seen before, given a few minutes to look it over, and then is required to play it at a reasonable tempo with reasonably good dynamics. That is sight reading.

Regards,
_________________________
BruceD
- - - - -
Estonia 190

Top
#1780082 - 10/30/11 07:05 PM Re: You're either a good sightreader or you're not. [Re: EltonRach]
Drunk3nFist Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/11/08
Posts: 640
Loc: London
Originally Posted By: EltonRach
My sight reading is good when I know the piece !



You've lost the essence of sightreading in that case.
_________________________
Ravel - Une Barque Sur l'Ocean
Kapustin - Etude No. 7
Bach/Busoni - Chaconne

Top
Page 1 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 (Seiler/Knabe)
Seiler 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
Who's Online
78 registered (barbaram, bennevis, Ben_NZ, AndrewJCW, 20 invisible), 950 Guests and 30 Spiders online.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
Forum Stats
75979 Members
42 Forums
157134 Topics
2307715 Posts

Max Online: 15252 @ 03/21/10 11:39 PM
New Topics - Multiple Forums
? 4 CA95/CS10 owners - soundboard vs external speakers
by markmarz
54 seconds ago
Might play in hotel lounges/bars!!
by Pover
Today at 04:18 AM
a video of Alexander Siloti's daughter playing the piano
by Michael Sayers
Yesterday at 08:26 PM
Kimball spinet neoprene lifter nuts
by dschwoyer
Yesterday at 08:22 PM
Looking for a re-built Steinway or Steinwas
by ColinD
Yesterday at 07:29 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