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#2104100 - 06/17/13 10:42 PM Reading Music
JosephAC Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/23/12
Posts: 168
Loc: Melbourne Australia
It is now some 6 months since I undertook to learn reading music and when I look at a music sheet, I still feel overwhelmed and it takes me a couple of seconds (1-5)to decipher the notes.

How long did it take you to be able to read music fluently? i.e. you look at the music sheet and you know instantly (and subconciencely) the music notes, the same way that you look at a written page and your recognise the individual letters immediatelty ?



Edited by JosephAC (06/17/13 10:49 PM)

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#2104149 - 06/18/13 12:08 AM Re: Reading Music [Re: JosephAC]
Schroeder II Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/17/12
Posts: 82
Here is what I do
I bring some scores to work with me and practice reading the notes on my lunch break
Once I have gotten to know the piece in my head a bit, especially the accidentals, i feel confident to play it
The other thing I do is to break the song into smll chunks and only do a few bars at a time until Its right
Then the next section and so on.
I dont play the entire piece until each section is as good as i can get it
Works for me

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#2104153 - 06/18/13 12:49 AM Re: Reading Music [Re: JosephAC]
Bobpickle Offline

Gold Supporter until July 10  2014


Registered: 05/24/12
Posts: 1383
Loc: Cameron Park, California
Originally Posted By: JosephAC
IHow long did it take you to be able to read music fluently? i.e. you look at the music sheet and you know instantly (and subconciencely) the music notes, the same way that you look at a written page and your recognise the individual letters immediatelty ?



How long this takes depends on how much and how often you work on it, though reading lots of ledger lines can still take experienced players a good second or two. Something I did was take a pencil and all kinds of pieces I liked (though the pieces all ended up being way over my head blush and I didn't learn any of them, I most enjoyed doing this with pieces I really liked), and just spent some time every day writing in the note names above or below the notes. Eventually you memorize every note location and can recognize them instantly. This is why harder pieces (but not too hard!) are actually better for this exercise because they're more dense with notes.

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#2104182 - 06/18/13 02:07 AM Re: Reading Music [Re: Bobpickle]
Sand Tiger Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/25/12
Posts: 1015
Loc: Southern California
I'm still working on it. Some folks have an aptitude for sight reading. Some are fated to struggle with it. Most are in the average range. From reading the forum, my conclusion is that the average dedicated beginner will get to a useful point after a year or two years at 15 minutes a day of working on sight reading. Those in the struggling group might take five times as long to make similar progress. Those in the high aptitude group might get there in a month or two.

Readers might find TromboneAl's journey to be of interest, link to the first post of his sight reading blog. More recently, he announced he was giving up his Sancho Panza quest after five years, three working with a teacher mostly on sight reading. Before readers jump to conclusions, TromboneAl got much better at sight reading, improved by leaps and bounds. However, he dedicated at least an hour a day to that single task. Despite that dedication, after five years, he still fell short of the highest levels of sight reading proficiency. Studio musicians are expected to be able read new sheet music and be ready to record at a professional level right away.
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#2104203 - 06/18/13 03:39 AM Re: Reading Music [Re: JosephAC]
UK Paul UK Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/22/11
Posts: 396
Loc: Berkshire, England
Just practice every day.... i have done this for between 10 and 30 mins mostdays, when i can. Think years not weeks and months. Since october i have gone through hannah smiths book and lots of random material. Allan bullards sight reading grade 1, now on grade 2 and although progress is slow... i dont think i am any different to average...
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#2104206 - 06/18/13 03:53 AM Re: Reading Music [Re: JosephAC]
Michael_99 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/28/12
Posts: 935
Loc: Canada Alberta
JosephAC, I have read your post, here:

It is now some 6 months since I undertook to learn reading music and when I look at a music sheet, I still feel overwhelmed and it takes me a couple of seconds (1-5)to decipher the notes.

How long did it take you to be able to read music fluently? i.e. you look at the music sheet and you know instantly (and subconciencely) the music notes, the same way that you look at a written page and your recognise the individual letters immediatelty ?

_________________________________________

This has to be one of the most intersting subjects because everybody talks about reading and playing music but most people don't talk about how they do it. And probably most people do it quite differently based on experience and education.

I had a 4 or 5 individual piano lessons over 40 years and couldn't cope trying to type all day and then try to practice a lesson - always ended in failure. Turning 40, I saw an ad for anyone at any level who wanted to play. The conductor said get a triangle and somebody said get a sax. So I got sax and an excellent teacher. Sitting in a band of 30 muscians who ranged from teens to 60s who played from varying - school to college - was an impressive experience as a none musician. I thought reading the notes on the staff was reading music - so I could only play the the opening and closing notes of any piece. I played for 4 years flying by the seat of my pants and then the conductor died and the band died.

At 63 I had health issues that limited my energy level to sitting up for a meal and going back to bed. I knew that was no good, so I tried to sit at the piano and try to play the beginner book of playing the piano. I couldn't afford a teacher so I knew I had to do it slowly, carefully and without mistakes. When you drive a car, you learn quickly that an accident is never okay no matter how small. So, too, playing the piano, it is never okay to make a mistake. I was only able to play/practice 10 minutes or less at a time once or twice a day. I did that for a year working through the beginner book. Having learning and memory problems, I played the music every day slowly without mistakes, not looking at my hands and making sure I knew the note names as I played the notes - and everyday I would review the previous pieces I had learned since I started playing the piano, so play review, play review without mistakes. So after a year I could ready and play the music without difficulty. I also was careful that I knew how to count the note values in each measure that the sax teacher taught me.

Now playing 2 years, my energy level is better and I can play about 20 minutes at a time.

The awesome thing is that if you work hard learning the names of the notes as you play them and learn how to count the note values as you work through the measures, playing the piano is a joy. Because I didn't have a teacher - I couldn't afford one - I was running scared that I would get into trouble and wouldn't be able to play the piano so I reviewed 90 percent of the time playing without mistakes and then I read a general post from a teacher that said playing the music over and over when you can play it, is a waste of time. I realized that applied to me, so I immediately changed how I did things/practice and I am glad I made the change. It was time. I am just at the end of Book 1 of John Thompson, method book, so as I am just about finished playing the piece from start from finish smoothly without mistakes - for 4 days before - I start reading at night before I go to bed to read through the next new piece making sure I can read the notes by names as I read through the measures of the piece. So my new piece has 40 measures and for the first time I am playing a piece with a key signature of Eb major so three flats, Bb, Eb, Ab. So I say the names of the notes in the first measure bass/treble clefs like Eb, G, Ab, Bb. So I do that and I also go through the piece measure by measure making sure I can count the values of the notes of the piece accurately . Then when I play the piece, I am familiar with the notes and recognizing the flats that are present because none of notes have flat symbols, you have to remember what notes are flatted. And there will be no surprises or mistakes hopefully when I play the piece. So if I can play the piece 3 to 5 times without mistakes and smoothly, That is the end. I don't review it like I used to. I move on the next new piece. What I like about it is that I don't have to hang over the piano trying figure out the counting or the note names. I have done the leg work and piano playing is just piano playing. If I do make a mistake I stop and try to figure why I made the mistake, name error, finger error, brain error, tired - then and only then I try to play it without errors and when I can do that 5 times I move on.

So I am moving along faster now because I am not always reviewing.



Edited by Michael_99 (06/18/13 03:57 AM)

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#2104225 - 06/18/13 05:38 AM Re: Reading Music [Re: JosephAC]
Lost Woods Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/11/13
Posts: 104
Loc: The Netherlands
Well I can tell you one thing this reading process comes VERY slow.
I play some things like joplin rags, chopin waltzes, debussys reverie (although all on my level of skill)... but no way I could sight read any of these pieces. So it's not really motivating too to read and play pieces like mary had little lamb at beginner level.. while you can play so many beautiful pieces by memory.

The hardest thing is that there is not so much material out there on sight reading. Most books are like 40 pages and cover one level. I wish those books were 300 pages for one level each and still I would have like multiple books on that level!

That said, there is enough material to sight read (all sheet music can be sight readed) but it's hard to find something at your level.

Anyway I have a question:
Does anyone know at what tempo, BPM, you know your sight reading is good? I know every piece has it's own tempo.. but if one can sightread a random piece for instance at 120 BPM, can one say that his sight reading is good enough for that level of sheet music?

I ask this because the sightreadingmethod I work with atm, my reading is way to slow so the grade/level is way to high. I want to go through my sightreading books again and see where I slow down under the "good sightreading BPM'.. so my teacher can give me material at that level.

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#2104254 - 06/18/13 08:43 AM Re: Reading Music [Re: JosephAC]
earlofmar Online   content
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/21/13
Posts: 1514
Loc: Australia
JosephAC, I am only a month in front of you in taking up piano but have looked at the sight reading issue in great detail from the onset. There is a distinct correlation with playing ability and sight reading ability. So as you improve and tackle more complex pieces so will your sight reading improve although the rule of thumb is your SR ability is about two levels below your playing ability. Good sight readers don't see individual notes so much as they see a pattern they have played before (same as you see words not letters). So that sort of ability takes time and is connected to experience.

From my very first day at piano I made time for sight reading and will practice for around 15 to 20 mins most days as recommended. Personally I think it is good for my brain to work on this activity but I get the feeling most people are just not into sight reading and get by with a very basic skill level.

For your note recognition you can find some flash cards at here I used them everyday until I could name each note adequately. I now use a program called Prestokeys linked to my DP which I think is the best thing since sliced bread. I also have SR exercise books and have downloaded or bought stacks of easy level sheet music to use in my daily exercises.

After seven months I still think my sight reading sucks but I no longer do that stumbling thing you mentioned (looking at the note for 1-5 seconds, and in comparison to where I was at day one I have come leaps and bounds



Edited by earlofmar (06/18/13 08:53 AM)
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#2104263 - 06/18/13 09:00 AM Re: Reading Music [Re: JosephAC]
raikkU Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/20/13
Posts: 73
I'm learning my second piece and just in the span of last two days I've noticed that it takes me surprisingly little time to decipher certain notes. I still have to rely on the FACE/All cows/Burritos Don't Fall Apart mnemonics but I can see that maybe in 6 months time I can read any note directly. At this time (picked up piano in April) I'm not concerned about being able to play as I read, I trust that the ability will somewhat develop as I read notes for the pieces I learn.

As a side note, I can only imagine how much practice it takes to be able to fluently sight read a piece in a certain key. "OK, this piece in key x. This and that note will be played as flats."


Edited by raikkU (06/18/13 09:07 AM)
_________________________
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#2104277 - 06/18/13 09:31 AM Re: Reading Music [Re: JosephAC]
BrainCramp Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/09/12
Posts: 255
Loc: USA
Joseph, I like this website. It helps you practice recognizing individual notes, flash card style.

http://www.musicteachers.co.uk/namethatnote/?service_path=namethatnote

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#2104282 - 06/18/13 09:44 AM Re: Reading Music [Re: JosephAC]
dmd Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/15/09
Posts: 1830
Loc: Pennsylvania
Originally Posted By: JosephAC
It is now some 6 months since I undertook to learn reading music and when I look at a music sheet, I still feel overwhelmed and it takes me a couple of seconds (1-5)to decipher the notes.

How long did it take you to be able to read music fluently? i.e. you look at the music sheet and you know instantly (and subconciencely) the music notes, the same way that you look at a written page and your recognise the individual letters immediatelty ?




As someone else said ... Think YEARS for this to improve significantly ... and maybe MANY YEARS.

That being said ... stop judging your progress against how good you think you (or others) should be by now. Just keep doing it if you wish to improve. There is no other alternative.

You do not have to be a good sight reader to be a good piano player. However, it helps you get going on a piece faster. So, do what you can but don't beat yourself up if you aren't progressing at a pace that you expect.

If there is one thing you will learn about playing piano it is that nothing happens at your expected pace. You just keep practicing and things happen when they happen. End of Story.
_________________________
Don

Current: ES7, Focusrite Scarlett 2i4 audio device, SennHeiser HD555 Phones, Focal CMS 40 Powered Monitors, Ravenscroft275, Ivory II American Concert D

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#2104290 - 06/18/13 09:59 AM Re: Reading Music [Re: JosephAC]
JosephAC Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/23/12
Posts: 168
Loc: Melbourne Australia
Thank you all for your insightful responses. As usual, I appreciate them dearly.
My take on is to practice SR daily and be patient. Something that I will definetly incorporate into my routine on an ongoing basis.

I see that reading and sight reading are used interchenagbely and hence the reponses. I always associated sight reading with reading and playing on the piano and usually new music sheets so you rely on your reading for your playing and not on your memory.
On the other hand, my 'reading' was in reference to 'reading away from the piano', e.g while commuting, lunch time in the office, in bed.... in preparation for reading and playing my new piece..

I subscribe to Michael's approach to read and play slow enough so I do not make mistakes.

I also subscribe to earlofmar's flash approach, for I use Piano Tutor app for notes recognition.


I must also admit after a while, I get carried away with playing pieces and ignore these practices.

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#2104293 - 06/18/13 10:04 AM Re: Reading Music [Re: JosephAC]
Brent H Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/06/11
Posts: 843
Originally Posted By: JosephAC
Thank you all for your insightful responses. I must also admit after a while, I get carried away with playing pieces and ignore these practices.


Well you do all that other stuff in order to be able to "get carried away with playing pieces". Nothing to apologize for in putting aside Practice and Learning for a while each day and do a bit of Making Music instead. That's what it's all about.
_________________________
Current Life+Music Philosophy: Less Thinking, More Foot Tapping

Ars Longa, Vita Brevis

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#2104359 - 06/18/13 12:16 PM Re: Reading Music [Re: JosephAC]
Kymber Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/25/08
Posts: 1348
Loc: MA
What really helped me was to drill, quiz, and visualize.
At first I would just drill it in by saying (first identify what clef you are in) and say "third line B, second space A. and so on. After doing that for a while I would just look at music or even a blank staff and identify each note or line/space etc. When I was going to sleep I would visualize a a staff and do the same thing. After a while I would just look at a note and know what it was without thinking.

most importantly be patient with yourself. it takes time but before you know it you will be reading music without even thinking about it. smile
_________________________
“The doubters said, "Man cannot fly," The doers said, "Maybe, but we'll try,"
And finally soared in the morning glow while non-believers watched from below.”
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#2104414 - 06/18/13 01:34 PM Re: Reading Music [Re: JosephAC]
dmd Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/15/09
Posts: 1830
Loc: Pennsylvania
I think it may also be useful to recognize that what a beginner views as "reading" music may actually be something somewhat different.

I call it "memorized reading". You actually have the piece memorized and can play it without music. You are following along on the page as you play but not really "reading" the music in order to know what keys to press. You already know which keys to press (memorized) but you are using the sheet music as sort of a security blanket so you do not forget what comes next.

So, when you see a polished performer playing something while looking at the music, there is a good chance that he already knows the piece but is just following along on the sheet as a reminder.

Or Not ! He might be reading it, but that takes a special level reading ability.

Just something to be aware of.
_________________________
Don

Current: ES7, Focusrite Scarlett 2i4 audio device, SennHeiser HD555 Phones, Focal CMS 40 Powered Monitors, Ravenscroft275, Ivory II American Concert D

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#2104443 - 06/18/13 02:51 PM Re: Reading Music [Re: dmd]
ClsscLib Online   content

Platinum Supporter until Jan 02 2013


Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 1742
Loc: Northern VA, U.S.
Originally Posted By: dmd
I think it may also be useful to recognize that what a beginner views as "reading" music may actually be something somewhat different.

I call it "memorized reading". You actually have the piece memorized and can play it without music. You are following along on the page as you play but not really "reading" the music in order to know what keys to press. You already know which keys to press (memorized) but you are using the sheet music as sort of a security blanket so you do not forget what comes next.

So, when you see a polished performer playing something while looking at the music, there is a good chance that he already knows the piece but is just following along on the sheet as a reminder.

Or Not ! He might be reading it, but that takes a special level reading ability.

Just something to be aware of.


This is a great observation. In my own case, it's true to the point of being a problem.

I happen to memorize easily, and once I've memorized a piece, I too easily slide out of the practice of really looking at and reading the score while I'm playing. I tune the score out, so to speak, and I might as well not have it in front of me.

The biggest problem is that once I hit a wrong note or chord, since I'm not looking at the score, I get confused easily about what comes next.

I'm not sure how to break this habit, and specifically, whether I should even try with the pieces I've already memorized, or whether I should try a better approach beginning with each new piece.
_________________________


"People may say I can't sing, but no one can ever say I didn't sing."

-- Florence Foster Jenkins

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#2104453 - 06/18/13 03:16 PM Re: Reading Music [Re: ClsscLib]
dmd Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/15/09
Posts: 1830
Loc: Pennsylvania
Originally Posted By: ClsscLib
I tune the score out, so to speak, and I might as well not have it in front of me.


Well, of course, that is not quite the same as what I described. What I was describing was to actually pay attention to the score but not using specifically to decide what to play ... note by note. Then you can use it to remind yourself of what comes next. If you "tune it out" then you may as well not even have it there.


Quote:
The biggest problem is that once I hit a wrong note or chord, since I'm not looking at the score, I get confused easily about what comes next.


Well, that is the problem with memorizing music. Especially, if the memorizing is based primarily on muscle memory. Then you have what is known as a sequential memory of the piece. As long as you play the correct notes, your mind/muscles know what to do next. But, if you play something unexpected (wrong note) then your mind loses its' way and you are stuck.

That is why I stopped memorizing everything. If it happens, fine. But I play while reading it as much as possible and let memory happen naturally through repetition.


Edited by dmd (06/18/13 03:18 PM)
_________________________
Don

Current: ES7, Focusrite Scarlett 2i4 audio device, SennHeiser HD555 Phones, Focal CMS 40 Powered Monitors, Ravenscroft275, Ivory II American Concert D

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#2104456 - 06/18/13 03:22 PM Re: Reading Music [Re: JosephAC]
Lost Woods Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/11/13
Posts: 104
Loc: The Netherlands
@Clssclib

Yes, sounds like to much depending on muscle memory.
Try mental playing, visualise playing every pianokey in your head, including fingering. If you than hit a wrong note you still know what to hit next because you know you just made a small mistake.
Only thing is that mental play every piece is really hard. My playing relies on muscle memory, real memory and theory. For instance I remember left hand as "Dmaj 7 broken chord followed by G major"... not always all the notes but they come with muscle memory and since I think in chords I don't have to think about all the notes seperately.


Edited by Lost Woods (06/18/13 03:24 PM)

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#2104462 - 06/18/13 03:38 PM Re: Reading Music [Re: JosephAC]
Whizbang Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/27/12
Posts: 758
Originally Posted By: JosephAC
How long did it take you to be able to read music fluently? i.e. you look at the music sheet and you know instantly (and subconciencely) the music notes, the same way that you look at a written page and your recognise the individual letters immediatelty ?


20 years, give or take. And I'm still learning.

Learning the letters is only part of the game, a stepping stone along the path. Your ultimate aim is to see the written page and immediately know which keys to press.
_________________________
Whizbang
amateur ragtime pianist

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#2104472 - 06/18/13 03:59 PM Re: Reading Music [Re: JosephAC]
Brent H Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/06/11
Posts: 843
The fully actualized way of reading music is to see it on the page, hear it in your head and then play what you hear in your head on the piano. I will never achieve that as a matter of course but sometimes when I'm sight-reading I will have that happen for just a few phrases at a time and it's like experiencing an elevated realm of consciousness. That part of my brain that translates "dots" to "keys" hibernates for a few moments and it's all music. I envy those who can do that as a matter of course.
_________________________
Current Life+Music Philosophy: Less Thinking, More Foot Tapping

Ars Longa, Vita Brevis

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#2104498 - 06/18/13 04:36 PM Re: Reading Music [Re: Brent H]
Michael_99 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/28/12
Posts: 935
Loc: Canada Alberta
Brent H, I have read your post, here:


The fully actualized way of reading music is to see it on the page, hear it in your head and then play what you hear in your head on the piano. I will never achieve that as a matter of course but sometimes when I'm sight-reading I will have that happen for just a few phrases at a time and it's like experiencing an elevated realm of consciousness. That part of my brain that translates "dots" to "keys" hibernates for a few moments and it's all music. I envy those who can do that as a matter of course.

_________________________________________________


I should mention that if you type or write shorthand or reading music while you are playing, you have to be able to do those tasks at a speed 20 percent higher than you are doing them so that your brain is relaxed at processing the data - and in that way you could have a short conversation and still read and play the music without mistakes. It is at that point that you can basically think of other things, same as driving a car, you think of lots of things, sing, talk, and do the task at hand. It is when you have to avoid an accident, or interrupt the relaxed flow, that you have to direct your attention to a crisis -- Most of us are always learning/playing new pieces and as such they are at their level so one is relaxed but never extremely relaxed - so more focused. If one attempts to read and play music from a beginner piano book 1 - even though you haven't played or seen the music before, you are above that level so you could read and play the music without mistakes while carrying on a short conversation while playing the piece.

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#2104538 - 06/18/13 05:24 PM Re: Reading Music [Re: dmd]
JosephAC Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/23/12
Posts: 168
Loc: Melbourne Australia
Originally Posted By: dmd
I think it may also be useful to recognize that what a beginner views as "reading" music may actually be something somewhat different.
I call it "memorized reading". You actually have the piece memorized and can play it without music. You are following along on the page as you play but not really "reading" the music in order to know what keys to press. You already know which keys to press (memorized) but you are using the sheet music as sort of a security blanket so you do not ...


Spot on dmd. Well articulated. I am guilty of that. I only check the notes if not sure.
For me, 'reading and identifying the notes' happens before I sit on the piano. When on the piano for a new piece, I wanted to focus on my fingering and sound production and less mental effort on notes identification.
What to be aware of? What is the disadvantage of this approach ?

Originally Posted By: Kymber
What really helped me was to drill, quiz, and visualize.


I tend to do the same Kymber. I use most of my jogging time identifying notes on my visual/mental staff. It remains mental effort and not automatic.

Quote:
That is why I stopped memorizing everything. If it happens, fine. But I play while reading it as much as possible and let memory happen naturally through repetition.


I like this approach. But it would be harder for me as my deciphering process is mental and time consuming.



Edited by JosephAC (06/18/13 05:28 PM)

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#2104605 - 06/18/13 07:34 PM Re: Reading Music [Re: JosephAC]
Bobpickle Offline

Gold Supporter until July 10  2014


Registered: 05/24/12
Posts: 1383
Loc: Cameron Park, California

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#2104721 - 06/19/13 02:36 AM Re: Reading Music [Re: Sand Tiger]
JosephAC Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/23/12
Posts: 168
Loc: Melbourne Australia
Originally Posted By: Sand Tiger
I'm still working on it. Some folks have an aptitude for sight reading. Some are fated to struggle with it. Most are in the average range. From reading the forum, my conclusion is that the average dedicated beginner will get to a useful point after a year or two years at 15 minutes a day of working on sight reading. Those in the struggling group might take five times as long to make similar progress. Those in the high aptitude group might get there in a month or two.

Readers might find TromboneAl's journey to be of interest, link to the first post of his sight reading blog. More recently, he announced he was giving up his Sancho Panza quest after five years, three working with a teacher mostly on sight reading. Before readers jump to conclusions, TromboneAl got much better at sight reading, improved by leaps and bounds. However, he dedicated at least an hour a day to that single task. Despite that dedication, after five years, he still fell short of the highest levels of sight reading proficiency. Studio musicians are expected to be able read new sheet music and be ready to record at a professional level right away.


Sand Tiger
This is an intriguing blog to go through. I am still going throguh it. It is an eye opener.

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#2104777 - 06/19/13 08:09 AM Re: Reading Music [Re: JosephAC]
dmd Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/15/09
Posts: 1830
Loc: Pennsylvania
Originally Posted By: JosephAC
Originally Posted By: dmd
I think it may also be useful to recognize that what a beginner views as "reading" music may actually be something somewhat different.
I call it "memorized reading". You actually have the piece memorized and can play it without music. You are following along on the page as you play but not really "reading" the music in order to know what keys to press. You already know which keys to press (memorized) but you are using the sheet music as sort of a security blanket so you do not ...


Spot on dmd. Well articulated. I am guilty of that. I only check the notes if not sure.
For me, 'reading and identifying the notes' happens before I sit on the piano. When on the piano for a new piece, I wanted to focus on my fingering and sound production and less mental effort on notes identification.
What to be aware of? What is the disadvantage of this approach ?


I only say "be aware of" because beginners may think they need to learn to "read" music well enough to read as they play in order to decide which notes to play ... when, in fact, that would take a considerably higher level of skill than most would ever hope to achieve. They need to be "aware" that using the sheet music as a guide after you have the piece memorized is a much more attainable skill.

What is the "downside" to this approach ?

I don't see one. Of course, if you can play without using sheet music at all, is even better. But, using it as a guide is reasonable, in my opinion.
_________________________
Don

Current: ES7, Focusrite Scarlett 2i4 audio device, SennHeiser HD555 Phones, Focal CMS 40 Powered Monitors, Ravenscroft275, Ivory II American Concert D

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#2104796 - 06/19/13 09:21 AM Re: Reading Music [Re: dmd]
raikkU Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/20/13
Posts: 73
Originally Posted By: dmd

What is the "downside" to this approach ?

I don't see one. Of course, if you can play without using sheet music at all, is even better. But, using it as a guide is reasonable, in my opinion.


But is it reasonable if you build a dependency to sheet music for playing a piece you're trying to memorize? What's the difference between using a sheet music as a guide vs. as a crutch? Just wondering.
_________________________
yamaha p-35. a piano neophyte since 04/13. my piano links

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#2104824 - 06/19/13 10:56 AM Re: Reading Music [Re: raikkU]
dmd Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/15/09
Posts: 1830
Loc: Pennsylvania
Originally Posted By: raikkU
Originally Posted By: dmd

What is the "downside" to this approach ?

I don't see one. Of course, if you can play without using sheet music at all, is even better. But, using it as a guide is reasonable, in my opinion.


But is it reasonable if you build a dependency to sheet music for playing a piece you're trying to memorize? What's the difference between using a sheet music as a guide vs. as a crutch? Just wondering.


Well, It is my belief that playing while looking at the music sheet is good ... period ... if you can do it and still do justice to the piece with dynamics and expression. As you do more of it, it will automatically become more of a guide instead of a "crutch".

I have tried the other extreme ... strict memorization ... and I found that to be unsatisfactory because I would forget everything I learned unless I kept playing it regularly. That got old in a hurry. So, now a mix of reading and memorizing seems to work best, for me.
_________________________
Don

Current: ES7, Focusrite Scarlett 2i4 audio device, SennHeiser HD555 Phones, Focal CMS 40 Powered Monitors, Ravenscroft275, Ivory II American Concert D

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#2104854 - 06/19/13 11:54 AM Re: Reading Music [Re: dmd]
ClsscLib Online   content

Platinum Supporter until Jan 02 2013


Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 1742
Loc: Northern VA, U.S.
Originally Posted By: dmd

...I only say "be aware of" because beginners may think they need to learn to "read" music well enough to read as they play in order to decide which notes to play ... when, in fact, that would take a considerably higher level of skill than most would ever hope to achieve. They need to be "aware" that using the sheet music as a guide after you have the piece memorized is a much more attainable skill....


As I started to mention in my earlier post in this thread, this is the goal I'd like to reach, but so far I'm stymied.

I seem to have two ways to play piano music: Either literally reading each note and other marking in the score as I'm playing that part of the passage (in "real time") -- something I can't do, frankly, with anything but the simplest "big note" music; or memorizing the piece entirely (which I do unfortunately easily) and playing it without looking at the score at all.

In piano, I gravitate to the latter, since it's the only way (or so I've convinced myself) that I can play pieces at tempo.

Oddly, on my original instrument (classical double bass, which I've played fairly proficiently in orchestras for many years), I "read" exactly in the way you've described -- using the printed music as an at-hand, in-sight reminder of the content of music I already really know, without actually reading the content note-by-note as I play.

That seems quite second-nature to me on bass. It's been much harder to get there on piano, with two staffs and multiple lines of music.
_________________________


"People may say I can't sing, but no one can ever say I didn't sing."

-- Florence Foster Jenkins

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#2104862 - 06/19/13 12:07 PM Re: Reading Music [Re: raikkU]
joyoussong Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/19/09
Posts: 735
Loc: Canada
Originally Posted By: raikkU
But is it reasonable if you build a dependency to sheet music for playing a piece you're trying to memorize? What's the difference between using a sheet music as a guide vs. as a crutch? Just wondering.


I think reading the music while you're trying to memorize a piece is probably a good thing - you might actually be memorizing the music too, at least to the extent where you can find your place immediately when your memory fails in the middle of playing the memorized piece.
_________________________
Carol
(Started playing July 2008)



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#2104868 - 06/19/13 12:37 PM Re: Reading Music [Re: JosephAC]
krzyzowski Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/01/10
Posts: 108
Many classical players who are slow readers, are not so much worried about their reading skills, but getting the playing dynamics up to par. Usually pieces are learned by rote and things move along fine until one day you return to it and find it needs to be re-read. So if you read at 5 npm (notes per min), its like starting over. Solution: work 5 or 6 great pieces into your fingers, then run them thru every day.

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