Nikky, how are you going with the Introduction to Classics to Moderns?
Intro to Classics... is a great book, perfect for my level. The Easy Classic ones are too hard for me too, but at least its something to work up to. I had a look on amazon at the other books you mention (The Joy....) one of them had preview pages, and its very similar to the Intro to Classics... so I'll be adding those to my list.
Do you improve your sight-reading by practicing? or are there instruction books that can teach someone how
to get better?
The Joy of First Classics books are great (at least, the second is -- the first is still to arrive but they'll be the same level) and I seem to be able to play through them with very little hiccups. I've also found since working through the "Joy of" book my reading of the "Easy Classics" is actually easier and I'm making less mistakes. So I'm eager for the first "Joy of" book to come so I can focus on those.
I think my reading ahead and general pattern recognition has improved since working on the easier books, and this is without conscious effort but daily practice.
Do you improve your sight-reading by practising? That's where it's at Nikky. Practise daily. I do at least two pages a day at my level -- where I'm getting most of the piece right. It doesn't have to be perfect, because it is sight-reading, after all.
I don't think there's much you can learn from an instruction manual that you can't learn from the internet. I could go on and on about what I've learnt. There are a couple of tricks that can help though.
Give yourself up to 30 seconds before you start to play and follow this checklist:
1. What's the time signature?
2. What's the key signature?
3. What's the tempo?/What feel will it have? (There could also be hints to this in the title.)
4. Look for repeated patterns/easy patterns -- scales or broken chords, or repeated notes.
5. Look for difficult parts so you know what's coming.
6. Count the first two bars before you start playing -- the first bar out loud, and the second in your head. (Sometimes I count out loud through a whole piece!)
If you're doing that, my best advice is to find as much material as you can at a comfortable level (that's without too many hiccups, but it doesn't have to be up to speed) and do at least two pages a day. As you go through them, even if it's much slower than the given tempo, your pattern recognition should improve, and the faster you can recognise patterns, the more quickly you can read. The main limiting factor is that it's impossible to sight-read anywhere over your technical skill at the time of the reading. If you see a descending major scale and recognise it instantly, you can only play it as fast as your technical skill allows.
Back to the practising question, my strongest belief as far as improving your sight-reading is if you practise daily, and if you stay on the same level for long enough that you become truly proficient at that level, you'll improve and be ready to move on to the next level. Then find as much material as you can at the next level and repeat.
I have the paul harris grade 2 book. The problem is you get through them so quickly. That's why I was hoping there was a big colelction online somewhere. Guess I'll have to buy another book. I think I'm about grade 2/3, but I;m taking the grade 1 exam soon so wanted to practice some similar graded material.
Hello from melbourne maechre and nikky. Have either of you taken the ameb grade 1 exam per chance?
I haven't taken the AMEB Grade 1 exam, sorry.
I found the Paul Harris books far too short as well. When I went on to the next book I was never really ready. I went all the way to book 7. I have book 8, but I was barely reading well at Grade 5 so I stopped and discovered my new approach. I occasionally pick up that Grade 7 book and see how I go. It varies.
Maybe you can do what I did -- go as far as you can in the Paul Harris books as long as you're not making mistakes in every bar, and then pick up the Joy of First Classics books and work through them, playing slowly if you need to, or only one line a day if it's hard on your mind. I'm not sure how this would work for other people, but I know I've seen the most improvement in my sight-reading in the last few weeks since I got my "Easy Classics to Moderns" and "The Joy of First Classics" books. That's after a whole year of working with the Paul Harris books. I'm sure Improve Your Sight-Reading! helped, but not as I'd expected.