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#2028542 - 02/07/13 04:40 AM Sight Reading - HELP
Vince R Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/27/12
Posts: 20

I am having a bit of a tough time with sight reading. I have the flashcards and use on line tools but I still find myself having to 'calculate' what the note is. Is this a normal problem for beginners ?
I know it is natural for the brain to want to calculate and it may need to be trained.

I don't have a keyboard yet (getting one soon) and I hoping that it will help to corporate 'muscle memory'. Am I on the right track ? Can anyone offer more advice ?


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#2028560 - 02/07/13 06:29 AM Re: Sight Reading - HELP [Re: Vince R]
supertorpe Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/27/10
Posts: 117
Loc: Spain. Cadiz.
Here is the trick to learn almost all the notes within a month, so you won't need to count lines and spaces up and down nevermore:

1) print these flashcards: bass clef and treble clef

2) plasticize and cut them

3) Follow this plan: first day take the lower C, D, E from both clefs (6 cards). shuffle and read them again and again. Every once in a while shuffle them again. Next day add the F from both clefs and repeat de operation. Each day add one note from each clef (two cards) to the deck. Read them 10 minutes a day.

Three to four weeks and you'll never need to calculate the notes again.

Edited by supertorpe (02/07/13 06:31 AM)
Started learning piano: 01 March 2010
- Ex: Yamaha P-85, Kawai ES-4
- Current: Kawai CA-63
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#2028583 - 02/07/13 07:52 AM Re: Sight Reading - HELP [Re: Vince R]
UK Paul UK Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/22/11
Posts: 396
Loc: Berkshire, England
Think months and years mate ;-) even though its disheartening... progress will be there if you practice right. When you get a keyboard, linking a laptop with midi cable and doing sight reading/playing excercises is really beneficial.... but any practice will benefit. :-)

#2028703 - 02/07/13 11:47 AM Re: Sight Reading - HELP [Re: Vince R]
Whizbang Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/27/12
Posts: 1160
Originally Posted By: Vince R
I am having a bit of a tough time with sight reading. I have the flashcards and use on line tools but I still find myself having to 'calculate' what the note is. Is this a normal problem for beginners ?

It's a normal problem. I recall having to work very hard to read notes, particularly notes on ledger lines, when I was first learning piano and being able to read a page from sight is something that took many years.

I wasn't the quickest student though, so I bet you'll be able to learn it faster. Keep at it and don't worry if it doesn't happen overnight.
amateur ragtime pianist

#2028946 - 02/07/13 07:09 PM Re: Sight Reading - HELP [Re: supertorpe]
Vince R Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/27/12
Posts: 20
thank you for the good advice. I already have the flashcards (Alfred) . I'll take your recommendation.

Please pass on any more hints for an older adult beginner like me, it will be appreciated.

thank you


#2028987 - 02/07/13 08:23 PM Re: Sight Reading - HELP [Re: Vince R]
Derulux Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/06/05
Posts: 5446
Loc: Philadelphia
It's a lot like learning to read (language/books). Music is another language with its own "words". Notes are letters, and chords are words. It took you months to recognize letters (ABC's), more months for whole words, and even more months for sentences, paragraphs, and entire stories. Same process for music.

The more you read, and the more often you practice it, the better you will get.
Every day we are afforded a new chance. The problem with life is not that you run out of chances. In the end, what you run out of are days.

#2029013 - 02/07/13 09:40 PM Re: Sight Reading - HELP [Re: Vince R]
Michael_99 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/28/12
Posts: 935
Loc: Canada Alberta
Hi Vincent,

I have had a stroke. I have brain damage. I have memory problems. I am dyslexic. I am 63 learning to play the piano.

I took a book 1 piano book. There are lots of them. And I sat down at the piano bench and played that book from start to finish and continue to do so everyday. I have no prolblem reading music. It is that simple. The books cost about $10.00 any piano store. Yes, you need a piano. Yes, you have to play the music very slowly without mistakes. Yes, it works.
Learning to play the piano is a very, very, very slow process that takes years sitting on the piano bench. Welcome to the club. Age is a non-issue. Commitment is a must.

#2029114 - 02/08/13 02:37 AM Re: Sight Reading - HELP [Re: Vince R]
JohnSprung Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/02/11
Posts: 2450
Loc: Reseda, California
Originally Posted By: Vince R
I don't have a keyboard yet (getting one soon)

Don't worry about it until you have the keyboard and you can hear the results of what you're doing. Anything you do with muscle memory before that will fall in the useless to counterproductive range.

As you get better and can play some pieces from memory, don't. Keep the chart up and follow it every time. It reinforces your mental link from the notes on paper to fingers on keys.

Most of all, give it plenty of time.
-- J.S.

I used to think that the brain was the most wonderful organ in my body.
Then I realized who was telling me this.

Knabe Grand # 10927
Yamaha CP33
Kawai FS690

#2029307 - 02/08/13 01:22 PM Re: Sight Reading - HELP [Re: Vince R]
Bobpickle Offline

Gold Supporter until July 10  2014

Registered: 05/24/12
Posts: 1389
Loc: Cameron Park, California


just start drilling at every opportunity until every line and space up to maybe a ledger line or two outside either staff is easily recognizable at sight (hint: two ledger lines outside each staff is "c")

Another exercise is taking easier sheet music and with a pencil, writing in all the note names until recognition becomes second-hand (if you're like I was while learning and have too much lying around!)
Bernhard - Always Have a Plan


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