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#1887962 - 04/28/12 11:27 AM Re: "Not a natural sight-reader, you'll never be good." Discuss [Re: RonaldSteinway]
Maechre Offline
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Registered: 01/01/12
Posts: 249
Loc: Melbourne, Australia
Originally Posted By: RonaldSteinway
Originally Posted By: keystring
I have seen several ways of teaching reading. None of them resembled what you just described. You have described one single way. If not all students can learn from this way, it does not mean that the students are "stupid" - it means that this way of teaching is not effective for those students. In good teaching, we look at teaching strategies and methods. We don't try to figure out who is stupid and who is smart.


The process that I described is the normal way how we approach sight playing. We must know how to read the rhythm, notes, and the location of the notes on a keyboard.

We cannot expect a beginner to put together three components at once. You train them one component at the time. Once they know each component well, you can combine two components and then three components. It is the most granular and practical approach.

How other methods that you have learned? Care to share?

This makes me think . . . maybe I'd be better if my keyboard orientation were better so I could keep my eyes on the music more.
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#1887982 - 04/28/12 12:42 PM Re: "Not a natural sight-reader, you'll never be good." Discuss [Re: Maechre]
1RC Offline
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Registered: 12/28/06
Posts: 501
Loc: Alberta
I've been working on it a lot recently, just under the assumption that it can be improved. The alternative is to give up and never know, but I'm glad to read stories like Kreisler's to confirm it!

My reading was so abysmal, it's merely bad now. The method I cooked up was to read through things very slowly, then figure out what areas were tripping me up, why they tripped me up and I worked it over until I felt comfortable. Often it's a lapse of attention, often I realize I'm not reading ahead, sometimes I've simply misread it, my hands have found their way to the wrong notes or I used a wonky fingering.

Bit by bit I think this gave me some basic accuracy and flow as things tripped me up less. It's comfortable for the over-careful personality type, as I can build my confidence gradually. Then in actual accompanying situations I get my practice at just making the music happen in real time despite mistakes, heh. I'm seeing improvement, however gradual, so it's my hope that over time I will actually become good at it.

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#1887983 - 04/28/12 12:47 PM Re: "Not a natural sight-reader, you'll never be good." Discuss [Re: Maechre]
1RC Offline
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Registered: 12/28/06
Posts: 501
Loc: Alberta
Originally Posted By: Maechre
This makes me think . . . maybe I'd be better if my keyboard orientation were better so I could keep my eyes on the music more.


The less you have to look at your hands the better. Sometimes I have to slow it right down but to me it feels as if I'm mentally picturing the notes before playing it, maybe even taking a moment to feel and confirm, and then the hands become accustomed to how it feels.

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#1887984 - 04/28/12 12:49 PM Re: "Not a natural sight-reader, you'll never be good." Discuss [Re: Maechre]
Maechre Offline
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Registered: 01/01/12
Posts: 249
Loc: Melbourne, Australia
Awesome.
Good luck 1RC. I think I'm very much in the same boat as you, except I've been working on it for over a year now (not quite daily - I've missed weeks here and there).
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#1887988 - 04/28/12 01:00 PM Re: "Not a natural sight-reader, you'll never be good." Discuss [Re: Maechre]
daviel Offline
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Registered: 11/14/07
Posts: 933
Loc: Waxahachie, Texas
I retired from my day gig January 1st, and part of my new gig is to practice at least an hour a day - a "rule of life" like monks and nuns have - I usually get more than the hour in. One of the things I am working on is sight reading. My sight reading ability has been like Marian McPhartland's, slow and painful. I want to get good at it. I probably do some every day, usually at the beginning of the hour. Daily sight reading practice is a gas. I'll go 15 to 30 min. I enjoy it and the practice works - I am improving. I am sight reading some Chopin today. Love those chord changes he just drops in. I don't worry about looking at my hands - I do not look at them very much anyway. It's enough to concentrate on the notation.


Edited by daviel (04/28/12 01:03 PM)
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#1887990 - 04/28/12 01:05 PM Re: "Not a natural sight-reader, you'll never be good." Discuss [Re: Maechre]
Redhead1 Offline
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Registered: 02/07/10
Posts: 134
I haven't read the other replies here yet, but that's crap.

I was fired from an accompanying job when I was 19. The director told me once that I "as the worst sight-reader in the world." When he let me go, he said he really liked me, but just didn't think my brain worked that way.

I specifically asked, "Is it a skill I can improve?"

His answer: "Well, that's what I had hoped, but I would think if that was possible, you would have improved by now."

Decades later: I just played for two musicals this year, Godspell and RENT. I don't think Stephen Schwartz is considered the easiest to read. The score to RENT was over 300 pages. I knew nothing about the musical until about 6-7 weeks before the performance. The MD said I was her first choice for any future musicals.

I have played for school choral festivals where the judges say during the clinics, "Your accompanist is wonderful. You are lucky to have her."

So I think I must have improved.

You work at something, you learn the skill, you get better. Good luck!

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#1887994 - 04/28/12 01:15 PM Re: "Not a natural sight-reader, you'll never be good." Discuss [Re: Maechre]
Maechre Offline
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Posts: 249
Loc: Melbourne, Australia
Thanks Redhead, I'm really glad for you! That gives me hope!
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#1888016 - 04/28/12 02:12 PM Re: "Not a natural sight-reader, you'll never be good." Discuss [Re: Maechre]
Mark_C Offline
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Originally Posted By: Maechre
Sight-reading/reading is linked to technique in that you need good enough technique to be able to play what you see. It's not that having good technique will make you a good reader. And your reading skill can be way beyond your technical skill. smile

Yes.
I don't see that there's more than a small relation between these things either. Our technique limits how well we can execute what we see, but.....I mean, except for what lostaccato said about Liszt, we're not much talking about sight reading things like Feux Follets or Chopin's virtuoso etudes, are we....
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#1888075 - 04/28/12 05:52 PM Re: "Not a natural sight-reader, you'll never be good." Discuss [Re: Maechre]
Orange Soda King Offline
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Registered: 11/25/09
Posts: 6070
Loc: Louisville, Kentucky, United S...
Just keep reading through more and more and more music!!! That's not the only solution, but it SURE helps a ton!!

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#1888101 - 04/28/12 06:42 PM Re: "Not a natural sight-reader, you'll never be good." Discuss [Re: RonaldSteinway]
keystring Online   content
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Originally Posted By: RonaldSteinway
Originally Posted By: keystring
I have seen several ways of teaching reading. None of them resembled what you just described. You have described one single way. If not all students can learn from this way, it does not mean that the students are "stupid" - it means that this way of teaching is not effective for those students. In good teaching, we look at teaching strategies and methods. We don't try to figure out who is stupid and who is smart.


The process that I described is the normal way how we approach sight playing. We must know how to read the rhythm, notes, and the location of the notes on a keyboard.


Yes, we must be able to read rhythm, notes, and this must include the keyboard. But you described something specific:
- read notes on a white board (means what? naming them? as notation? saying them out loud?)
- teach the notes, what is C,D,E (how did they read the notes in the first part without knowing what is C,D,E? Or do you mean, on the keyboard)
- send them to the keyboard.

Going from a whiteboard to the piano is NOT how we process music. Musicians don't go from whiteboard to piano. smile It is one particular way of teaching.

Quote:

How other methods that you have learned? Care to share?
There is quite a discussion on the teacher forum on the subject presently, and a lot of different approaches have been described in the past. Rather than summarizing them it's easier to just go to the teacher forum discussion on teaching reading.

The main point is this: You used a very specific approach. It was visual oriented and abstract. Someone who is audial or tactile would do less well with this. On the other hand, if you used a tactile or audial or imaginative approach that would work with other students, you might lose your visual ones who do well with your approach. It is wrong to make a diagnosis of students based on what you see from one given approach. The only thing it tells you is that this student doesn't do well with that approach.

Additionally, I have tutored children who were deemed to be "stupid" or slow. Some were very intelligent, in fact. Their way of learning did not match the way things were taught. That is why I am cautious about quick prognoses. It is also unhealthy for someone to believe himself incapable after being told that, because this belief makes him incapable.

Addendum: There are ten pages and counting on ways of teaching reading, with a new detailed one posted today, here:
strategies & problems in teaching reading (teacher forum)


Edited by keystring (04/28/12 09:17 PM)

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#1888143 - 04/28/12 10:38 PM Re: "Not a natural sight-reader, you'll never be good." Discuss [Re: keystring]
RonaldSteinway Offline
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Registered: 03/11/08
Posts: 1490
When you teach 8 to 10 kids, you need to pull them infront of the white board first to teach them to learn how to read notes. They will be taught that the note on the first line is E, the note in the first space is F, etc.

After they know this, we go to the keyboard and show them where all those notes.
Then we do some exercise, for example, I will tell them to press individual note such C, or E, or whatever. Then a combination of several notes.

As per our topic sight playing, we are using visual ability. However, we also use audio to help people who are not strong visually.

For your info, little kids do not think like grown up. If you show them on the white board E is on the first line, they will just accept. I had dealt with hundreds of kids and no kids ever asked me why you call that note E? NONE. They just accept what we tell them.

The method that I was telling you is Yamaha Music foundation method. It is NOT my method. I bet Yamaha music education people had done a lot of research on this subject, and in general works for normal kids. Of course, there are kids who are just slow and cannot be taught this way. I had used this for years, and I can attest that it works with most of my students too. In a group lesson format, we cannot adjust to one or two kids who are not capable of learning the normal way, otherwise, the normal kids will quit, because they cannot stand waiting for slow kids to catch up.



Originally Posted By: keystring

Yes, we must be able to read rhythm, notes, and this must include the keyboard. But you described something specific:
- read notes on a white board (means what? naming them? as notation? saying them out loud?)
- teach the notes, what is C,D,E (how did they read the notes in the first part without knowing what is C,D,E? Or do you mean, on the keyboard)
- send them to the keyboard.

Going from a whiteboard to the piano is NOT how we process music. Musicians don't go from whiteboard to piano. smile It is one particular way of teaching.


There is quite a discussion on the teacher forum on the subject presently, and a lot of different approaches have been described in the past. Rather than summarizing them it's easier to just go to the teacher forum discussion on teaching reading.

The main point is this: You used a very specific approach. It was visual oriented and abstract. Someone who is audial or tactile would do less well with this. On the other hand, if you used a tactile or audial or imaginative approach that would work with other students, you might lose your visual ones who do well with your approach. It is wrong to make a diagnosis of students based on what you see from one given approach. The only thing it tells you is that this student doesn't do well with that approach.

Additionally, I have tutored children who were deemed to be "stupid" or slow. Some were very intelligent, in fact. Their way of learning did not match the way things were taught. That is why I am cautious about quick prognoses. It is also unhealthy for someone to believe himself incapable after being told that, because this belief makes him incapable.

Addendum: There are ten pages and counting on ways of teaching reading, with a new detailed one posted today, here:

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#1888146 - 04/28/12 11:03 PM Re: "Not a natural sight-reader, you'll never be good." Discuss [Re: Copake]
Sand Tiger Online   content
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/25/12
Posts: 1047
Loc: Southern California
Originally Posted By: Copake
I have been playing the piano for six decades and I am still terrible at sightreading. While it's true that I have never made a deliberate effort to improve I sometimes wonder if there is some fundamental lack of ability involved.

...


Yes there is. Some seem to have a hard time with this, because so many on a piano forum are going to be in the average or gifted groups. Very few poor natural sight readers have any chance at becoming piano teachers. Some on the forum seem to assume that poor sight readers are either lazy or stupid. I see those comments as a big load of baloney. Many struggling sight readers may drop piano, because of the pain involved in the task, and the nature of most piano lessons.

There is hope for those that struggle at sight reading and want to make a considerable effort. It may take five times as long for those that struggle as compared to an average student, but most can likely get to a decent level, if they want to put in the extra work and get extra help.

It is funny to me, that so many seem to readily accept that there are those with naturally good ears (and average ones, and poor ones), but so many struggle with the idea that there are naturally good sight readers (and average ones, and poor ones). Hopefully, this thread can dispel some of the notions about stupidity or laziness being the primary reasons someone is bad at sight reading. It may be true in some cases, but not in all.

Some brains process language better than others. Some process music better than others. Some brains process dots and lines better than others. Those that are average can learn it with effort. Those that struggle with it, can get better, though it may take them five times as long as an average music student. Just as those that have gifted natural ears have a huge advantage, those whose brains take to the dots have a huge natural advantage. I believe many in this gifted group go on to become piano teachers.
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#1888206 - 04/29/12 02:41 AM Re: "Not a natural sight-reader, you'll never be good." Discuss [Re: Maechre]
Maechre Offline
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Registered: 01/01/12
Posts: 249
Loc: Melbourne, Australia
Considering I've been working on it for over a year and can only sight-read about grade 3 abrsm level material, I might be one of those who struggle with it. But I'm absolutely willing to put in the hard work if it will give me the results I want.
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#1888209 - 04/29/12 03:51 AM Re: "Not a natural sight-reader, you'll never be good." Discuss [Re: RonaldSteinway]
Gary D. Offline
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Registered: 08/30/08
Posts: 4801
Loc: South Florida
Originally Posted By: RonaldSteinway

That is why I said smart people are better sight readers. Sight reading ability pertains to your thinking capacity. It is totally like a computer, the CPU needs to be fast in order to execute complicated tasks. The faster the CPU, the shorter time is needed to finish the job.

I'm a very fast sight-reader. Many people have told me that I sight-read as fast or faster than anyone they have ever worked with. I was fast at it from an early age. I got my first accompanying job at age 15 (vocal accompanist), and that job was based on lightning-fast reflexes plus that ability to follow.

Therefore I am smarter than anyone else who does not sight-read as well as I do. That would include some famous concert pianists, by the way, because no matter how well they eventually play things, if they have to depend more on memory, they aren't as smart as I am.

Smaller CPUs.

Oh, I should mention a few people who obviously are little more than functioning idiots. Dave Brubeck. Hmm. He almost didn't get his degree because he could not read.

Who else? I'm pretty sure Steven Allen only read lead-sheets. He probably knew chord symbols. So I'm smarter than him. Obviously he had a small CPU.

Who else? I have always heard the Joseph Hoffman did not read well. Obviously not as intelligent as me, right? Probably had a drinking problem because he was depressed about not being too smart.

But hey, why stop at the subject of sight-reading? How about reading, in general? Stephan King has mentioned more than once that he is not a fast reader. He's probably pretty dumb too.

And dyslexics? Well, they are the stupidest people on the planet, most likely, since they will often have huge problems reading both music and language.

Wow, I love this topic. I can feel better and better about myself with each sentence I type. It's an honor to know you, Ronald.

Now, please sing along please:

"Oh Lord it's hard to be humble
when you're perfect in every way.
I can't wait to look in the mirror
cause I get better loking each day."

But wait! Mac Davis was a musician. Maybe he was stupid too. Can someone tell me how well he sight-read?


Edited by Gary D. (04/29/12 03:55 AM)
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#1888232 - 04/29/12 07:08 AM Re: "Not a natural sight-reader, you'll never be good." Discuss [Re: Maechre]
EJR Offline
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Registered: 10/20/06
Posts: 861
Loc: Bristol, UK
Originally Posted By: Maechre
Considering I've been working on it for over a year and can only sight-read about grade 3 abrsm level material, I might be one of those who struggle with it. But I'm absolutely willing to put in the hard work if it will give me the results I want.


Maechre,

Sounds to me like your doing just great! Keep working away at it and I'm sure you'll be sight reading even more complex material relatively soon. Just make sure you keep plugging away daily.

As far as the comments from this teacher, ignore them, grow a tough hide and don't listen to them or take the negativity to heart (a life lesson if ever!). Do keep working your way through a couple of pieces daily.

"Grade 3 ABRSM", this seems to indicate that you are doing the right thing in trying to sight-read pieces at sensible level (i.e. a level that you can sight-read). An extension to this is to also study a piece a grade above for 1-week and 2 grades above for a month or thereabouts (grades 4 and 5 in your case). This approach is described elsewhere on the forum (search or google for the "Diagnostic Prescriptive Sight Reading Program" by Dr Dianne Hardy).

One thing suggested in this schema is to run a test every 4 months or so and play through some graded pieces or sight-reading materials and monitor the point where you aren't able to play "fluently". If the "fluency" level grade has increased, then the grades of the weekly and monthly pieces get cranked up as well. In your case that would be sight-reading Grade 4, 1-week on a Grade 5 piece and 1-month on a Grade 6.

The other thing I've found useful is to vary the amount of pre-study of the score/piece from a quick glance through (30 seconds), to several minutes for some and a 20 minute root and branch analysis for others (and particular just after cranking all the levels up).

Finally, I've found it useful is to keep a list (spreadsheet) of all the pieces I've sight-read. It's fun to be able to look back at the entries from 6 or 12 months ago and see the progress being made.


Edited by EJR (04/29/12 07:17 AM)
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#1888238 - 04/29/12 07:27 AM Re: "Not a natural sight-reader, you'll never be good." Discuss [Re: EJR]
Maechre Offline
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Registered: 01/01/12
Posts: 249
Loc: Melbourne, Australia
Thanks, EJR, that makes me feel much better! smile
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#1888244 - 04/29/12 07:38 AM Re: "Not a natural sight-reader, you'll never be good." Discuss [Re: Maechre]
Dave Horne Offline
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Posts: 5276
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But she said to me today: "If you're not a natural sight-reader, you'll never be a good one. It's just how your brain works."

Is it still illegal to shoot bad teachers?

With a good teacher or mentor to guide you and with a determined will, you can do just about anything. When I started out I couldn't read very well, now I can. There are no short cuts though. One approach, and this is the approach I use, is to play anything new at the fastest (translates to a very slow) tempo that I can play without making any mistakes. In time the entire process gets faster, but it won't happen over night.
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#1888245 - 04/29/12 07:39 AM Re: "Not a natural sight-reader, you'll never be good." Discuss [Re: Maechre]
ChopinAddict Offline
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I think the first part of what your teacher said was fine. It is the second part I don't like. Sight-reading may not come natural to you, but you are still improving and actually making good progress, and if you keep making an effort and improving you WILL be good one day...
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#1888372 - 04/29/12 01:05 PM Re: "Not a natural sight-reader, you'll never be good." Discuss [Re: Maechre]
keystring Online   content
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Originally Posted By: Maechre
Considering I've been working on it for over a year and can only sight-read about grade 3 abrsm level material, I might be one of those who struggle with it. But I'm absolutely willing to put in the hard work if it will give me the results I want.

Somebody in this thread described how he started isolating his weaknesses and working on them rather than just trying to practice sight reading by reading lots of things every day. That's sort of along the line of my thinking - the skills that go into sight reading.

First off, we have three abilities: being able to play by ear, being able to memorize, and being able to read off the page. If a student starts with a good teacher from scratch, he will make sure that both sides get developed. Otherwise if you have a good ear and can memorize easily, you'll get at the music that way. Since you don't need to read music to play it, you won't practice it and that skill simply won't develop. Then when you get to hard music which does require reading, that skill isn't there. Plus your ear & memory habit will want to kick in because it's so handy. In this scenario you display "not being a natural sight reader" but the truth is that you never learned it. A teacher who does not systematically develop this, will have lots of students falling into one or the other camp so that's his reality.

Reading itself has different components, and if you are missing any of them then they will slow you down. If you are advanced musically and have a strong musical instinct, you may keep missing what it is you don't have because what you can do masks it:
- recognizing notes in the score. If you glance at music, can you stare at a particular note and know instantly "D".
- associating the note on the score with a piano key. knowing that all these piano keys between two black notes are D.
- knowing your chords - major/minor/seven etc. - also being able to recognize them on the page, esp. in closed position
- some knowledge of theory. Key signature. Say Eb major. When you see a chord that looks like a snowman on the E,G, and B lines, that you will automatically know that this will always be EbGBb. You have that in your knowledge as you read. You also have it in your fingers as a pianist. You mesh the two.

for starters

I had a weird way of reading because I was self-taught. I went through this a few years ago and am still patching holes. I would take one thing like "Can I actually recognize any note on the page and associate it with a piano key?" (I couldn't) and then spent 5 or 10 minutes every day just on that. I looked at what beginners are taught and started building from the bottom up.

If your teacher doesn't know how to build sight reading ability and thinks it's just a talent that you do or don't have, then you need to build it yourself (or find a teacher who gives you this). Do not believe that abilities are inborn things that either you have or you don't have and that you can't do anything about. People may be strong in one or the other thing, but there is always learning involved.

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#1888437 - 04/29/12 03:03 PM Re: "Not a natural sight-reader, you'll never be good." Discuss [Re: Dave Horne]
Gary D. Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/30/08
Posts: 4801
Loc: South Florida
Originally Posted By: Dave Horne
But she said to me today: "If you're not a natural sight-reader, you'll never be a good one. It's just how your brain works."

Is it still illegal to shoot bad teachers?

LOL!
Quote:

With a good teacher or mentor to guide you and with a determined will, you can do just about anything. When I started out I couldn't read very well, now I can. There are no short cuts though. One approach, and this is the approach I use, is to play anything new at the fastest (translates to a very slow) tempo that I can play without making any mistakes. In time the entire process gets faster, but it won't happen over night.

That sounds like a good approach, but you also might want to divide your "reading material" into two groups:

1) Things you may want to play later, even for the rest of your life.
2) Things that you know you will not return to when you are more advanced.

The things in catetgory "2" you can be a bit looser with. And "without any mistakes"? Do you mean by that not to miss one single key? Or absolutely nail the rhythm (correct counting)? Or not forgetting to hold any tie, having a finiished fingering in place? And so on?

When I sight-read something, which I have done now for 55 years, I go for the general idea. I allow myself to miss minor details, just to get a general feeling for what I'm checking out. I make a mental note of where I run into problems, sort of "mentally circling" tricky parts.

I do a lot of such sight-reading for students who are likely to throw anything my way. One minute it is some oddball video tune posted on the Net, something I've never heard, with standard Weird-Net-Notation. The next moment it will be a Billy Joel or Elton John songbook. Then I'll get some collection of "classical to modern" pieces, and I'll want to play through this or that in it because I have not seen/heard it before.

I almost ALWAYS make mistakes somewhere. Usually they are very small, and usually my students don't catch them, though now and then a talented one will. If I run into something that throws me, I may say "Ooops" and repeat a measure or so before going on. But I also tell students what little things were slightly tricky, and I will take a moment or two to work them out, right on the spot, as a demo as to how to being working ASAP on trouble spots.

By the way, just to make sure my sarcasm from last night was not misunderstood, I don't think for a moment that we ever know, from where somene is NOW, where that person will get to LATER. Some people are lucky about stumbling onto ways of sight-reading very early that work, but most are not. Most of the good sight-readers I know say that they were only "so-so" at one time, if not downright slow, but they figured out ways to improve later.

And with the amount of horrendous teaching that is all around us at any moment, I think it's often a miracle that any of eventually experience great success in SPITE of these poor teachers.
_________________________
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#1888467 - 04/29/12 04:21 PM Re: "Not a natural sight-reader, you'll never be good." Discuss [Re: Gary D.]
Mark_C Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 19777
Loc: New York
Originally Posted By: Gary D.
....Therefore I am smarter than anyone else who does not sight-read as well as I do. That would include some famous concert pianists, by the way, because no matter how well they eventually play things, if they have to depend more on memory, they aren't as smart as I am.

Smaller CPUs.

Oh, I should mention a few people who obviously are little more than functioning idiots. Dave Brubeck. Hmm. He almost didn't get his degree because he could not read.

Who else? I'm pretty sure Steven Allen only read lead-sheets. He probably knew chord symbols. So I'm smarter than him. Obviously he had a small CPU.

Who else? I have always heard the Joseph Hoffman did not read well. Obviously not as intelligent as me, right? Probably had a drinking problem because he was depressed about not being too smart.

But hey, why stop at the subject of sight-reading? How about reading, in general? Stephan King has mentioned more than once that he is not a fast reader. He's probably pretty dumb too.

And dyslexics? Well, they are the stupidest people on the planet, most likely, since they will often have huge problems reading both music and language.

Wow, I love this topic. I can feel better and better about myself with each sentence I type. It's an honor to know you, Ronald.....

ha Love it!! ha

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#1888471 - 04/29/12 04:28 PM Re: "Not a natural sight-reader, you'll never be good." Discuss [Re: Maechre]
TylerNB Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/21/10
Posts: 301
Loc: U.S.A.
If 200 people in a highschool band can sightread, then you can learn how to sightread. It is like reading a book. You may stumble at the words when you first start but as you read more you will adapt and be able to read through sentences(in this case passages), quickly without much thought put into it.
_________________________
Currently Working On:
Chopin Waltz in B Minor (Finished)
Rondo Alla Turca - Mozart (Finished)
Coming up:
Phantom of the Opera?
Certainly more Chopin(Valses and Mazurkas, maybe even a Prelude)
And yet another Bach piece

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#1888643 - 04/30/12 12:20 AM Re: "Not a natural sight-reader, you'll never be good." Discuss [Re: Maechre]
RonaldSteinway Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/11/08
Posts: 1490
Gary D,

You and I know that people around you who play piano well are intelligent people. Those people who play piano well do not struggle with sight playing, otherwise, they would have given up to learn all of the difficult pieces. So don't just talk for the purpose of arguing.

In amateur piano competitions, most of the people who compete have degrees, many even have doctorate degree. So far in my life, I have not encountered anybody who is not smart can piano well. NONE! I do not know about you, or other people here in this forum. How many amateur piano competition finalists who are MDs or PhDs? A LOT! It shows strong correlation between brain power (CPU) and piano playing (including sight playing).

By the way, all of your examples do not pertain to sight playing ability. You just put garbage. Reading words and reading note is different. Reading word does not involve the duration (how long to press), and do not have location information (where to press). It is appear that you do not understand the process of sight playing. If you did, you would not utter those impertinent examples.

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#1888674 - 04/30/12 02:19 AM Re: "Not a natural sight-reader, you'll never be good." Discuss [Re: Maechre]
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11679
Loc: Canada
Ronald, you asked for other methods of teaching, and I gave you the link. Have you studied the examples yet?

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#1895343 - 05/11/12 12:08 PM Re: "Not a natural sight-reader, you'll never be good." Discuss [Re: Maechre]
Maechre Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/01/12
Posts: 249
Loc: Melbourne, Australia
I found this "levels" guide. What do you guys think of this approach?

Sight-Reading Levels

I only intend to use the levels as a guide, and to move up when I feel ready. I'm not interested in the other areas at this point, unless it would definitely speed up my improvement i.e. by reading single line right hand and left hand pieces.
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http://www.youtube.com/user/Acrozius?feature=mhee

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#1897585 - 05/15/12 08:46 PM Re: "Not a natural sight-reader, you'll never be good." Discuss [Re: Maechre]
HorseMom Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/14/12
Posts: 51
Loc: Santa Fe, New Mexico
What nonsense. You can train yourself to sight-read well as long as you don't have any problems with your vision. At the university, my piano professor was HUGE on emphasizing learning to sight-read. Not because any of us had the slightest interest in jazz, either - it's because as a pianist although your cup of tea may be solo memorized performing, your bread and butter will be accompanying. You have to sight read. And you CAN learn. Best start is to go to your nearest church and steal a hymnal (a.k.a. 3 and 4 part chorales). Look at the first hymn. STUDY it. Key, time signature. Will there be any tricky rythms? Work those out in your head before you approach the piano. Any accidentals that will sneak up on you? Note them. Think about your hand positions and fingerings. "Air play" through it a couple of times (still away from the piano). Then finally.....Sit down with the metronome PAINFULLY slow and read through one hymn. Once, and once ONLY. Then if you were able to do that flawlessly, nudge the ticker up a little and try the next one. Find the tempo at which you no longer can reliably keep the tempo (most important part for accompanying) and then every single day read through two or three hymns at that tempo. Once it becomes pretty easy for you, nudge it up. What you may never do is revisit one! Otherwise it isn't sight reading. After you have exhausted the hymnal, go buy a book of 4-part chorales and use those. Eventually as you improve (be patient, it's a slow process) you can move on to more complicated pieces. There will always be some people who are better at it than others but you can teach yourself to be amazingly proficient, just like you learned to read words and sentences competently and 'up to tempo.'
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#1897886 - 05/16/12 09:57 AM Re: "Not a natural sight-reader, you'll never be good." Discuss [Re: Maechre]
Maechre Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/01/12
Posts: 249
Loc: Melbourne, Australia
Thanks, HorseMom. I think I'll use this tempo idea, but instead apply it to the books I have in the style I'm playing (film/popular). As TromboneAl discovered, you get better at reading/playing the style you read/play in. smile
_________________________
I love sight-reading! One day I will master it.

http://www.youtube.com/user/Acrozius?feature=mhee

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#1897910 - 05/16/12 11:03 AM Re: "Not a natural sight-reader, you'll never be good." Discuss [Re: HorseMom]
pianoloverus Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/29/01
Posts: 19347
Loc: New York City
Originally Posted By: HorseMom
Look at the first hymn. STUDY it. Key, time signature. Will there be any tricky rythms? Work those out in your head before you approach the piano. Any accidentals that will sneak up on you? Note them. Think about your hand positions and fingerings. "Air play" through it a couple of times (still away from the piano). Then finally.....Sit down with the metronome PAINFULLY slow and read through one hymn. Once, and once ONLY.
Having done all that stuff before IMO disqualifies what's done after as sight reading. And it's not at all how most good sight readers do things. Nor is it necessary, or desirable, I think, to play things painfully slowly, with complete accuracy, or only once.


Edited by pianoloverus (05/16/12 11:06 AM)

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#1898192 - 05/16/12 06:26 PM Re: "Not a natural sight-reader, you'll never be good." Discuss [Re: Maechre]
apple* Offline


Registered: 01/01/03
Posts: 19862
Loc: Kansas
i totally disagree with your teacher. It's taken me 45 years to be a good sightreader, and every single year was important. There are so many things to think about and know.
_________________________
accompanist/organist.. a non-MTNA teacher to a few

love and peace, ├Ľun (apple in Estonian)

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#1898391 - 05/17/12 12:42 AM Re: "Not a natural sight-reader, you'll never be good." Discuss [Re: Maechre]
Maechre Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/01/12
Posts: 249
Loc: Melbourne, Australia
Thanks for your input, pianoloverus. I'll take that into account.

apple*: Good thing I've made a start. smile
_________________________
I love sight-reading! One day I will master it.

http://www.youtube.com/user/Acrozius?feature=mhee

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