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) End Stage Fright
End Stage Fright
(ad) Pianoteq
Latest Pianoteq add-on instrument: U4 upright piano
(ad) Pearl River
Pearl River Pianos
(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 2 of 2 < 1 2
Topic Options
#957212 - 01/25/08 02:57 PM Re: Teaching Sight Reading at Lessons
Akira Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/27/07
Posts: 1645
Loc: Los Angeles, CA
: Offtopic :[/b]

Looks like you pressed the 'Add Reply' button three times, Keith. Once is all it takes, although it might seem, at times, the computer is doing nothing (just need to be patient for a few seconds). You can send a PM (personal message) a moderator to have your accidental duplicate posts above removed (you can't delete them yourself).

Top
(ad) My Music Staff
Check out the new way to manage your music studio
#957213 - 01/25/08 03:07 PM Re: Teaching Sight Reading at Lessons
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11157
Loc: Canada
I see no duplicate posts. Keith has written three separate paragraphs on three different aspects of his sight reading method in three separate posts.

Top
#957214 - 01/25/08 03:14 PM Re: Teaching Sight Reading at Lessons
Akira Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/27/07
Posts: 1645
Loc: Los Angeles, CA
Oh, excuse me. My mistake. Sometimes the eyes see what they want to see. \:\( Never mind, Keith.

Top
#957215 - 01/25/08 07:45 PM Re: Teaching Sight Reading at Lessons
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11157
Loc: Canada
 Quote:
Sometimes the eyes see what they want to see.
Well, it is the SIGHT reading thread. ;\)

Top
#957216 - 03/05/08 04:34 PM Re: Teaching Sight Reading at Lessons
Akira Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/27/07
Posts: 1645
Loc: Los Angeles, CA
New Topic[/b], but related...

Sorry to dig up an old thread, but wanted to get some additional thoughts on sight reading. I'm cringing at my comments three months ago and can clearly now see that you can sight read a piece only once.

I've been giving a lot of thought lately (maybe too much) thinking about sight reading and what I am missing in my practice routine or education that is preventing me from doing it -- or at least do it the way I am thinking about it.

I had a pretty lengthy conversation with my teacher last week, who said he has never met anyone that could sight read a piece (at their level[/b] - major caveat) cold and play it at tempo, with the correct dynamics with near-perfect note accuracy. He said even world class concert pianists can't do it.

I was deeply disturbed at why nobody can do it.

I think I've read a million times here (exaggerating), play pieces sloooowly aiming for as much accuracy (with respect to note recognition, dynamics, timing and fingering) as possible. Sacrifice speed for 'this accuracy' was the gist of the countless messages.

This, of course, leads to the obvious question, if one 'always' practice slowly, they will 'never' be able to play fast (on a cold read), as the skills to see, understand, assimilate and execute the required action at tempo will never be devloped.

To me, this is analagous to training to be a runner by practicing walking. The method suggested by nearly everyone just seems counter-intuitive to me. There's something obvious I'm missing, but I don't know what it is.

It seems that there two measurable components to sight reading; the speed and percentage of errors (which comes in the form of wrong notes played, pauses, or timing (or dynamic) errors).

So for example, if one sets an initial goal of sight reading at half tempo with 50 percent errors (I just picked an arbitrary baseline) on a cold read, how do they develop the skills to be able to play at faster tempos and reduce the amount of errors, ideally to 100% and zero errors? Is it possible? Can you do it or know anybody who can?

Or am I stuck at half tempo and 50 percent errors for the rest of my life?

I've never seen a thread on how to develop both speed and accuracy at sight reading, so I thought this would make for an interesting conversation now that the original discussion has concluded.

Any thoughts or experiences you can share would be appreciated. \:\)

Top
#957217 - 03/05/08 04:42 PM Re: Teaching Sight Reading at Lessons
Morodiene Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 10733
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
Oh, the goal of sightreading is to be able to play it at the tempo it should be. However, one generally cannot do this at their level of playing. But one sure-fire way of getting yourself to sightread faster would be to accompany singers (other instrumentalists might do, but I find accompanying voice to be the most challenging). Either that, or get yourself a job accompanying for church services.

I was never a good sightreader until I had to do both of those things. After a couple of years of that it really helped me!
_________________________
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
#957218 - 03/05/08 05:05 PM Re: Teaching Sight Reading at Lessons
Piano-pianist Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/03/08
Posts: 50
Loc: Rome, Italy
Some common tips about piano sight reading:

1) Before you start to play analyze fast your piece (key, difficult parts...)

2) If you make a mistake do NOT you stop or repeat.

3) Do NOT look at the keyboard

3) Try to read many notes before you play it (I cannot explain better in english)

4) Practice sight reading at slow tempo (time) but without mistaking any note also if you need to play more slowly.

5) Practice at the right tempo (time) also if you need to make some mistakes or not to play some notes.

6) Study music harmony

7) Play scales and arpeggios with your eyes closed to learn playing without seeing the keyboard

7) Practice, practice, practice.

Top
#957219 - 03/05/08 05:25 PM Re: Teaching Sight Reading at Lessons
currawong Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/15/07
Posts: 5831
Loc: Down Under
 Quote:
Originally posted by Akira:
I had a pretty lengthy conversation with my teacher last week, who said he has never met anyone that could sight read a piece (at their level[/b] - major caveat) cold and play it at tempo, with the correct dynamics with near-perfect note accuracy. He said even world class concert pianists can't do it.

I was deeply disturbed at why nobody can do it.
[/b]
First of all, I don't happen to think your teacher is right that nobody[/b] can do it.

"At their level". Hmmm. What do you mean by that? Because I can play a few Chopin etudes, does that mean that that is my level? Does it follow that I should be able to sightread with near perfect speed and accuracy (at first sight) the rest of them? And that if I can't I should be "deeply disturbed"?? I don't think so \:\) . If the best pianists who play the most advanced repertoire could play it all perfectly at first sight, why would they ever practise?

No, btb, this is not a cop-out \:\)

I can play quite advanced pieces at tempo on first sight with only the number of slips anyone might make in a performance which they'd practised. I know many pianists (mostly those who accompany, as Morodiene says) who can do the same. But these skills have been developed over years. There is no quick fix. You just get better at it as you do it. And I'm sure there are "world-class concert pianists" who aren't very good at it because they don't do a lot of first-time reading!

I think, and this is just my personal opinion, that the many people here who agonise over their lack of sightreading skills, who want to map their progress down to the last percentage, are just beating themselves around too much. Just play easy music which you enjoy. Read something new every day. Don't critique your every effort! Just play for the music's sake and go easy on the navel-gazing. Reflect on your progress in about a year's time. You may well be surprised.

Analogies are not always valid, but just think about learning a language. You read up on the theory, you learn your lists of strong verbs and adjective endings, you try to master your cases and your subjunctives, you even manage to write a polished piece of prose correctly ... but it's not until you start speaking with a native speaker that you begin to feel at home in the language, and to do this you just have to start doing it, without fear of making mistakes, and without mapping your progress and becoming deeply disturbed that you're not immediately fluent. \:\)

Akira, I think your teacher is wrong that nobody can sightread at an advanced level with good accuracy. Lots can. Those who could play at first sight something extremely difficult, complex and technically demanding would be very very rare. And I'm not sure why anyone would expect that any pianist could do this. But to be able to pick up your average piece of music and play it at first sight? Piece of cake. As long as you have been doing it, and not just wishing you could.
_________________________
Du holde Kunst...

Top
#957220 - 03/05/08 05:59 PM Re: Teaching Sight Reading at Lessons
Betty Patnude Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/11/07
Posts: 4896
Loc: Puyallup, Washington
Akira,

That is not a statement from your teacher that represents what happens when trained musicians sightread - even at a complex level. Why would he would say that? If he cannot do it, how could he teach his students to do it?

The reason why we do slow practice, and repetitive practice is to assist the brain and motor system by patterning the thinking and the moves of a piece - this trains responses for the next time - until a huge repertoire of thoughts and moves are together in mental and physical coordination. "Our moves". Over time, an achieving pianist will be able to do his level more quickly, then moving up to another level, might slow down again to get the "new moves".

Morodiene has touched on some comments that you would appreciate.

The outcome of music is that you have prepared well and trained your brain and body - that takes time - it cannot be rushed - it happens when it happens - it cannot be demanded. It is a gift that is given to you because you have put everything you need into place.

I can't wait until you find yourself piano powerful!

Betty

Top
#957221 - 03/06/08 12:04 AM Re: Teaching Sight Reading at Lessons
Keith W Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/04/07
Posts: 131
Loc: MD
Isn't there sort of a flaw to the whole "at one's level" concept?

It seems like playing a well-rehearsed piece is a somewhat different set of skills from sightreading. Just as improvisation is. And teaching, for that matter. One might be at different "levels" for all those activities...
_________________________
art is why i get up in the morning
but my definition ends there
it doesn't seem fair
that i'm living for something
i can't even define
ani difranco

Top
#957222 - 03/06/08 03:20 AM Re: Teaching Sight Reading at Lessons
AZNpiano Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/07/07
Posts: 5271
Loc: Orange County, CA
Wow, thanks for reviving my old thread!

Since my original post, I started teaching sight reading aggressively at lessons. I use Bastien's "A Line a Day" books, and make my students do a page a day, playing each line at least five times, or until perfect.

Then I test students at every lesson from November until January. I write down their sight reading "grade" on a chart and let them see their progress (or lack thereof). I also took notes on what each student could improve upon (e.g., not slowing down for difficult passages, maintaining a steady beat, not going back to fix mistakes).

My students just took their exams. One student got "average" in sight reading because he didn't do any of the assignments, and his only practice time is his weekly lesson. We spent a good 10-15 minutes per lesson on sight reading alone. The two students who got "good minus" bought the Bastien books, but never used them at home. Everybody else got "good" or "excellent" in sight reading.
_________________________
Private Piano Teacher and MTAC Member

Top
#957223 - 03/06/08 05:11 AM Re: Teaching Sight Reading at Lessons
btb Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/21/04
Posts: 4261
Loc: Pretoria South Africa
AZNpiano has obviously not resolved his hash ... and is now turning the harsh sight-reading spotlight on his unfortunate school ...
the new inquisition involves regular spot checks ... what ghastly torture.

Akira’s teacher is right
"he has never met anyone that could sight read a piece (at their level- major caveat) cold and play it at tempo, with the correct dynamics with near-perfect note accuracy. He said even world class concert pianists can't do it."

If sight-reading as above can’t be done by the best ... and needs time to complete the process of note identity, fingering and practice (to develop the support of muscle and aural memory) ... why harass the golden geese?

Top
#957224 - 03/06/08 09:24 AM Re: Teaching Sight Reading at Lessons
Morodiene Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 10733
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
Keith W:
I think that the "At their level" comment refers to mainly the ability to play a piece at sight and have it sound as though it has been practiced. Generally speaking, sightreading to that level is a step or two lower than the level at which someone plays. A person can be sightreading and learning at an advanced level, but "advanced" has many sublevels. The tempo of the piece can also be a factor in accuracy and ability in sightreading.
_________________________
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
#957225 - 03/06/08 01:07 PM Re: Teaching Sight Reading at Lessons
Akira Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/27/07
Posts: 1645
Loc: Los Angeles, CA
Thanks for your responses.

A few additional questions and comments, if you don't mind.

 Quote:
(Morodiene)
But one sure-fire way of getting yourself to sightread faster would be to accompany singers (other instrumentalists might do, but I find accompanying voice to be the most challenging). Either that, or get yourself a job accompanying for church services.
I think the message behind this method would be to put yourself in a situation that would force you to keep going, no matter what.

I question the practicality of how this might work though.

Hypothetical conversation:

Me: Hi. I'm wondering if you are in need of a pianist to accompany your singing. I'm a beginning piano student and am trying to develop my sight reading skills and thought this would be an excellent way do just that. I wouldn't charge you a dime.

Them: Sure, sounds great. I'm interested.

Me: Oh, by the way I forgot to mention, I can only play 100-note pieces at about half the speed with 50 percent errors. Does that present a problem?

Them: Ummm. Yes.

Not to put down your idea, Morodiene, but that's the scenario I'm envisioning. I assume that by the time you were ready to accompany, you had quite a few years under your belt (whereas I only have six months \:\( ).

My teacher, who has also worked in the same capacity had said the same about how he further refined his sight reading skills, but for the beginning student, I just don't see it happening. If I'm missing something, however, please let me know.

 Quote:
(Piano-pianist) 4) Practice sight reading at slow tempo (time) but without mistaking any note also if you need to play more slowly.
If I continue to practice sight reading slowly, how will I ever more toward sight reading materials at tempo?

 Quote:
(currawong)"At their level". Hmmm. What do you mean by that?
Actually, it was a term my teacher used. However, I interpreted it to mean the following.

There are two levels (maybe more that I'm not seeing).

The first level is what you are physically able to play. You (probably) struggle through the first sight read. Practice the piece continually refining technique, dynamics, check timing, phrasing, note accuracy until it is polished. This process could take weeks, months or possibly many months of continuous daily refinement (depending on the complexity). When done, the piece is polished and ready to be performed. If you were presented with 'another' piece of equal technical difficulties, you would likely go through the above-mentioned process all over again.

The second level is a significantly lower level of difficulty (maybe even as low as what you are teaching your students). You can pick up the piece, and because of its relative simplicity compared to the pieces in the aforementioned first level, by comparison they are easy for you to play. You could probably (cold) sight read the piece, play it at tempo with almost zero errors.

When he said "at their level," I believe he was referring to the "first level." That the months of practice on a single piece will never be able to be replaced by a cold sight read. My question is why not?

 Quote:
(currawong)If the best pianists who play the most advanced repertoire could play it all perfectly at first sight, why would they ever practise?
I supposed if they could do it, they wouldn't need to practice. I think, in a roundabout way, he was saying that there is nobody in the world that doesn't need to practice. Or said another way, there is nobody that can play a piece perfectly (at their level) on the first cold sight read.

 Quote:
(currawong)No, btb, this is not a cop-out
Is there some history between you two?

 Quote:
(currawong)I can play quite advanced pieces at tempo on first sight with only the number of slips anyone might make in a performance which they'd practised...But these skills have been developed over years.
I think we're getting back to the 'levels' again. When you say you can play at tempo with minimal slips, would you characterize these pieces as equivalent to the pieces you are capable of playing (in terms of difficulty). Or would this be more similar to the second level (described above). If you can, I'd be 'very' interested in knowing how you achieved these skills. I assume there are people who have been playing for the same number of years who are very poor sight readers. What do you think is the difference between those who can and those who can't in terms of their training?

 Quote:
(currawong)I think, and this is just my personal opinion, that the many people here who agonise over their lack of sightreading skills, who want to map their progress down to the last percentage, are just beating themselves around too much.
I wouldn't say I'm navel-gazing. Its just one of the many aspects of my education I'm interested in. The reason I take quantification (like percentage of mistakes and percentage of tempo) into consideration is because its so easy to say "Oh, I think I'm getting better at sight reading," but the problem with a statement like that is that it is too touchy-feely for my tastes, meaning it doesn't mean a great deal. Something like, I used to play at half tempo with 50% mistakes three months ago, but now I've improved to 75% tempo and 25% mistakes, makes the progress measurable, giving so much more meaning to the word 'progress.'

 Quote:
(currawong)Just play easy music which you enjoy. Read something new every day. Don't critique your every effort! Just play for the music's sake and go easy on the navel-gazing. Reflect on your progress in about a year's time. You may well be surprised.
I hope I am 'pleasantly' surprised. I try to cold read something new everyday. It is torturous and unmusical, but the price I'm willing to pay in exchange for building the skills I desire.

 Quote:
(Betty)The reason why we do slow practice, and repetitive practice is to assist the brain and motor system by patterning the thinking and the moves of a piece - this trains responses for the next time - until a huge repertoire of thoughts and moves are together in mental and physical coordination. "Our moves". Over time, an achieving pianist will be able to do his level more quickly, then moving up to another level, might slow down again to get the "new moves".
I want to be careful I'm not misunderstanding you Betty. When you use the word 'practice' are you talking about the repetitive playing of a single piece or are you talking about practicing sight reading (i.e. playing material only once)? If the latter, I'll ask the same question again. If you always practice sight reading slow, how will you ever be able to do it fast (at tempo)? I think it makes sense that the more exposure to sight reading will naturally improve the speed, but there is a natural progression to move to increasingly more difficult materials, putting you back down to a slow speed (once again). Are there no specific techniques, exercises and approach to improve speed and accuracy. I think this is the gist of my question.

Sorry for the long winded post. I just like exploring possibilities - ones that may not have been previously considered.

I'll accept the fact there may not be any shortcuts and that time and diligent work may be the only answer.

On the other hand, many might think there's also no cure for cancer. I believe there is. We just have discovered it yet... \:\)

Top
#957226 - 03/06/08 01:49 PM Re: Teaching Sight Reading at Lessons
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11157
Loc: Canada
Akira, is your teacher getting you to do anything else besides playing pieces week after week? Does he or she set any goals for you to achieve? It seems that among other things you need those kinds of goals as bench marks. some people are simply happy to play a piece well, others are not.

Top
#957227 - 03/06/08 02:15 PM Re: Teaching Sight Reading at Lessons
Akira Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/27/07
Posts: 1645
Loc: Los Angeles, CA
Hi keystring.

Besides the baby pieces from my Hal Leonard Method book (currently on Level 4), I have technique exercises I do.

I've covered Hanon exercises 1-20 at m.m. 60 (in the past six months). I'm currently on the second pass 1-5 working on getting them up to m.m. 80. Additionally, I do something called FingerPower , which covers other things such as triplets, legato thirds, two notes against one, inversions, interlocking hand patterns, etc.

I also practice from two supplemental books, one Jazz and the Classical (Faber & Faber) at the same level as my method book, hoping to expose myself to a variety of musical genres.

Although my teacher says that I do a ton of sight reading with my materials, my gut feeling is that I really don't. How much sight reading can you get from four new 100 note assignments (songs) each week.

I'm thinking a 'ton' means plowing your way through hundreds of songs a week, so maximize one's exposure and experience to note and interval recognition, timing, dynamics, etc. I don't know. Maybe I'm just not thinking about it right.

I'm really interested in Trombone Al\'s approach (who has sight read 700 pieces in a six week span, attempting to develop his skills), but wanted to see if exposing myself through that much new material is going to make any difference. I sort of am thinking about the process in the same way he is. All comments from the teaching community on Al's approach would be gratefully received.

I think you're right about the goal setting aspect. I'll have to further this discuss the issue with him. It almost seems like we're just following the traditional path, rather than structuring my lessons to meet these goals (although, I'll admit, I could be wrong).

From the first lesson, I told my teacher my primary goal is to be able to (eventually) pick up any (or at least 'most') popular music and be able play them decently within a few tries. I admire the technical skills required to play advanced classical pieces, but that is not my primary interest. I don't really like the idea of agonizing over a single piece for weeks or months at a time. I'd prefer to spend the time building a good foundation and the required skills.

Top
#957228 - 03/06/08 03:11 PM Re: Teaching Sight Reading at Lessons
currawong Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/15/07
Posts: 5831
Loc: Down Under
Originally posted by Akira:
When he said "at their level," I believe he was referring to the "first level." That the months of practice on a single piece will never be able to be replaced by a cold sight read. My question is why not?[/b]

Because these pieces are not only hard to read, they're hard to PLAY. A Liszt could probably do it, but very few of the rest of us, just as no secret magic (or training for that matter \:\) )is ever going to enable me to run a 10 second 100m.

 Quote:
(currawong)No, btb, this is not a cop-out
Is there some history between you two?[/b]
Well, we've had some silly disputes where I say I can sightread something (at first sight) and he says no you can't ... and ... let's not go there \:\)

I think we're getting back to the 'levels' again. When you say you can play at tempo with minimal slips, would you characterize these pieces as equivalent to the pieces you are capable of playing (in terms of difficulty). Or would this be more similar to the second level (described above). If you can, I'd be 'very' interested in knowing how you achieved these skills. I assume there are people who have been playing for the same number of years who are very poor sight readers. What do you think is the difference between those who can and those who can't in terms of their training?[/b]

Yes, some (but a minority) of the pieces I routinely sightread (I'm an accompanist primarily) are as difficult as many things I've performed. I achieved these skills through many years of reading a wide variety of music and studying theory and harmony, so that I became quicker at recognising patterns. The difference between those who can and those who can't probably lies in the amount of music they have played and the amount of understanding of it they have had. Just a quick summary \:\)

I'll accept the fact there may not be any shortcuts and that time and diligent work may be the only answer.[/b]

I think that's sound. And I think developing a complex skill is a bit different to a cure for cancer. The cure might seem obvious once it's found, but a lot of patient work went into the finding \:\)

I think I'd think of sightreading skill as spread out along a line. You're really doing the same things back at your end of the line as those further along, and people like Liszt will always be pretty lonely up at their end. The rest of us are scattered along it. We just hopefully keep moving along. I still "practise" sightreading. That is, if I haven't been doing any as part of my work, I pull out something and play a random couple of pages cold. It's fun, and it keeps the brain working \:\) . And most important of all, it enables you to discover all that music that you wouldn't have time to discover if you were simply working on perfecting those four pieces. Go for it!
_________________________
Du holde Kunst...

Top
#957229 - 03/06/08 03:18 PM Re: Teaching Sight Reading at Lessons
Betty Patnude Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/11/07
Posts: 4896
Loc: Puyallup, Washington
Akira,

The slow is the way you practice it when you start the piece....as you get better acquainted with it, knowing what to expect, having practiced the hard parts, things begin to move at a slightly faster tempo. Continue practicing and bringing it up in tempo until you reach the tempo indicated on the piece. At all times the tempo should be a steady beat - avoid starting and stopping. At all times the reading and playing of the music should be accurate in note naming, note finding on the keyboard, fingering, and duration. That is why the slow practice in the beginning. Concentrate on building each target - look for the underdeveloped target.

Do you hear yourself thinking as you play? Are you coaching and guiding your responses with thoughts? Are you left waiting for something to happen when you look at the note on the page? Guide it in thought!

Do you hear a steady beat as you play the piece as does the note just come as it may?

I'm wondering what the problem might be that you feel is holding you back. Something that is not yet in the mix of reading? Have you ever tried speaking aloud while playing?

I'm a big believer of learning separate hands before putting hands together. The hands together (2 tracks)is a higher level thinking, and if one track does not work well, it certainly affects the other hand. (I know many teachers say hands together regardless, but that is possible only when the student has become highly accomplished already.)

Don't agonize. To make a change, you have to do something different.

\:\) Betty

Top
#957230 - 03/06/08 03:28 PM Re: Teaching Sight Reading at Lessons
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11157
Loc: Canada
Hi Akira,

First off, I'm an adult student myself, and piano is my second instrument. I've only had a few lessons here and there on the piano specifically so I'm not familiar first-hand (experience-wise) with what is routinely taught. I do have formal lessons on another instruments, and I've been exposed to things and people along the way so that I have some thoughts which may be more or else correct. I also have the perspective of an adult learner who takes her studies seriously, though I am by no means unique in that respect.

So: Right now we know that you have the music that you are working through, assigned by your teacher, and that this is a method book. Your teacher is pleased with your progress, and in fact says that you are progressing much faster than (his? her?) average student.

You have listed Hanon # 1- 20, gone through in terms of tempo at mm 60, and now you are going through it again, in terms of another tempo. There is FingerPower, and also supplemental material in Jazz and Classical. Lots of stuff.

Other than the method book with its pieces, which of the above things are assigned by your teacher? If they are assigned by your teacher, what goals are set within them, if any?

I don't want to go further than that question for the moment. I am also interested in your (anyone's?) definition of goal.

What you have defined as a goal you stated to your teacher is something to be kept in mind in the structuring of lessons, but it is not a workable goal in practicing. I even suspect that "sight reading piece X at level Y at tempo Z" is not a workable goal - it can be broken down further. Not sure about that part.

Top
#957231 - 03/06/08 04:42 PM Re: Teaching Sight Reading at Lessons
Akira Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/27/07
Posts: 1645
Loc: Los Angeles, CA
Thanks for the additional comments everyone.

 Quote:
(Betty) The slow is the way you practice it when you start the piece....as you get better acquainted with it...
All helpful advice, thanks Betty.

I think that slow practice might be a thread for another day. With respect to sight reading, would you agree with the idea that you can sight read something only once and that additional attempts decrease the percentage that what is actually being read, eventually culiminating with memorization (zero percent being read).

 Quote:
(Betty) Do you hear yourself thinking as you play?
With respect to note recognition, I'd say no, in the same say I don't think when I'm reading or driving, I just do. In other words, when I see C-E-G I don't 'think' to myself, "Ah ha, that's a C Chord, I know that one." I see, then I do.

Dynamics are a little different for me. I'll see a p, f, cresc., femata mark, or similar, a little voice inside my head will 'speak' to me, telling me to do the required action. Perhaps this will also go away in time and will eventually just be able to 'do,' but that's how its working for me at the moment.

 Quote:
(Betty) Are you coaching and guiding your responses with thoughts?
I find my mind racing, frantically trying to digest what I'm seeing and taking immediate action. Sometimes its too much information to digest on the fly, even at a slow tempo, so I wind up with an unsteady beat (or pause, allowing additional time to digest), trying to figure out what I did wrong. Typically, this occurs when I miss a note or come across note (time) values I've haven't encountered a lot (e.g. three notes divided equally between two beats). I know this goes against your 'quiet mind' theory, but I'm finding I have little control over this (for the time being).

 Quote:
(Betty) Are you left waiting for something to happen when you look at the note on the page?
I wouldn't say I'm waiting as I play the notes, as time is unforgivingly moving forward. I do listen to the notes being played, and although I often do not know the song I'm playing, can usually tell when something doesn't sound right (melody or bass doesn't sound right). I'll stop, look down at my fingers (I usually avoid looking at the keyboard, so I can keep my eyes on the music) and sure enough, I'll make a mental note that I've played the wrong note.

 Quote:
(Betty) Do you hear a steady beat as you play the piece as does the note just come as it may?
I can't say I 'hear' a beat. To me, I'd describe it more like a 'feeling' rather than hearing (inside your head). When I stumble or pause to more carefully see what I did wrong, of course, it destroys the 'steady' beat. Do you think its better just to keep going? I have mixed feelings about stopping. If I stop, I'll have learned what I did wrong. If I keep going, I won't notice it and fear that I wouldn't have learned from the mistake I just made.

 Quote:
(Betty) I'm wondering what the problem might be that you feel is holding you back.
My gut feel is that I am not practicing sight reading correctly or nearly enough of it. I'm just have a feeling that there's more to it than 'just keep practicing and it will come in time (years)'. Of course, this is only my own personal, unqualified and unscientific hypothesis. I keep wondering if there aren't specific exercise that build note recognition skills, for example. Maybe like a software program that will shoot 100,000 notes at you at random, then digitally measure how many you got correct (via a digital piano input). Or other exercises that just focus solely on developing rhythm skills (where hitting the correct notes are not important, allowing one to focus only on timing). It seems to me sight reading has differing components and if you could exercise each of the components separately, when you put them all together, you'd eventually have a solid foundation.

 Quote:
(Betty) Have you ever tried speaking aloud while playing?
I'm always alone when I play. Not sure who I would speak to or what I would say if I did.

 Quote:
(Betty) I'm a big believer of learning separate hands before putting hands together.
I shouldn't be disagreeing with your expertise, Betty, but forgive the question. By the time you put your hands together, you've read it more than once, haven't you. Is that really sight reading anymore?

 Quote:
(keystring) Other than the method book with its pieces, which of the above things are assigned by your teacher? If they are assigned by your teacher, what goals are set within them, if any?
They are all assigned by the teacher. I also sight read easy pieces during the week to expose myself to more than is called for, but that is not an assignment from the teacher.

To me a goal has to be measurable and accomplished within a time frame. Loosely speaking, the goal is to be able to play the assignment to his (and my) satisfaction. If either of us think its not good enough or that I have not completely digested the 'lesson' being taught, we'll spend more time on it (usually, another week). I haven't had any assignments go for more than two weeks (with the exception of Hanon @ 80, which is currently kicking my behind).

I appreciate all your collective input. If anyone else wants to join in, please feel free. Thanks again for a fascinating discussion. \:\)

Top
#957232 - 03/06/08 05:57 PM Re: Teaching Sight Reading at Lessons
Betty Patnude Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/11/07
Posts: 4896
Loc: Puyallup, Washington
Akira,

Other thoughts here....

In your work, do you use systems and processes for accountability and checking for progress? Is there anything from your work that can be applied as a concept for learning for yourself at the piano?

Check lists? Priority setting? Diligence? Deadlines?

I'm just wondering if what feels natural in your working life is missing, and it does not feel like you are learning because it is so different.

If you are in Level 4 books after 6+ months, something is going well for you, do you know that?

Are you a worry wort by definition? You are certainly not a slacker!

Talking out loud would you be you talking to you as you decide things, move through instruction on the page.
Change position!
Remember the sharp!
Rest!

Good luck!

Betty

Top
#957233 - 03/06/08 07:01 PM Re: Teaching Sight Reading at Lessons
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11157
Loc: Canada
I jsut saw this as part of the Practice Spot mentioned in another thread:
Sight Reading Article
It does not begin with "read as much as you can get your hands on". It begins with "Know your notes." and "Scales" which translates into familiarity with patterns. As such it also creates smaller goals.

I saw Practice Spot Ages ago. The idea of wearing "hats" to emphasize different things appealed to me even then, though at my age I don't need a physical paper hat that says "tempo".

Top
#957234 - 03/07/08 10:21 AM Re: Teaching Sight Reading at Lessons
Minaku Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/26/07
Posts: 1226
Loc: Atlanta
If you know your notes, and you read as much as you can get your hands on, then you are exposed to the rhythms and sequences that we use in sightreading. It's a circular argument. If you cannot read notes, you can't read music; if you know your notes but don't read as much material as you can get your hands on, you can't develop a wide musical vocabulary from which to pull during sightreading.

At lessons I use flashcards and manuscript paper. I've also begun to teach "shapes" so that my kids can begin learning chunking. Shapes like five notes ascending, three notes skipping up and down, zigzag shapes (like C D C D), and chord shapes (basically a chord progression). Then we translate this to the music. I get out something they haven't seen before, and we go over the entire piece first, looking for familiar shapes places to "be lazy". Then comes the reading.
_________________________
Pianist and teacher with a 5'8" Baldwin R and Clavi CLP-230 at home.

New website up: http://www.studioplumpiano.com. Also on Twitter @QQitsMina

Top
#957235 - 03/07/08 03:08 PM Re: Teaching Sight Reading at Lessons
Betty Patnude Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/11/07
Posts: 4896
Loc: Puyallup, Washington
Akira,

My quiet mind theory approaches the music reading with an inner voice - yours - which tells you what you are seeing - what needs to happen. It is used only meaningfully as needed with the simplest words as possible.

You can say these words aloud if that helps you get a stronger declaration to what you are about to do.

Words would be to help you achieve accuracy in a steady tempo, to do good counting, to play notes accurately on the keyboard, with a specific finger called into play, having ready it carefully from the music staff.

Technically, the "prima vista" sight reading is a "for the first time" sightreading. That doesn't mean you can't approach the sight reading ("test") at a later date, or even to work on problem areas of it, to increase your "score" next time you attempt it. Bringing it to completion. (You caught me, Akira!)

You said: "To me a goal has to be measurable and accomplished within a time frame."

I wonder if you could leave it open ended without a measurement or time framel, so that you could simply play this piece when time and effort declares you met the goal. Take the heat off of yourself of perfection on the first time. That comes as a gift because you have learned and use the thinking and playing skills you have been putting into place so far.

I assume that all of my students are doing their best at all times - as they learn more about what it takes to play the piano, hopefully, their experiences and what they learn about themselves will help them enlighten and discipline themselves to meet the tasks before them.

Having a high standard is much better than shooting for perfection - they are not the same at all. Perfection has an anxiety to it and compulsive - obsessive behaviors and attitudes. Always look for enjoyment in what you are doing - and noticing your own progress needs to be celebrated. Concentrating on what is wrong needs balancing with thoughts and gratitude for the things that are right.

So what are you doing right?

Talking out loud is for yourself not for any listener. Thoughts need to be effective and simply said. They need to create the impulse to what you are recognizing on the page. Impulses do not "fire" unless you gave an "order" for the impulse.

Betty

Top
Page 2 of 2 < 1 2

Moderator:  Ken Knapp 
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!
(125ad) Dampp Chaser
Dampp Chaser Piano Life Saver
Sheet Music
(PW is an affiliate)
Sheet Music Plus Featured Sale
Download & Print Sheet Music Instantly
sheet music search
sheet music search

sheet music search
(ad) HAILUN Pianos
Hailun Pianos - Click for More
(ad) Lindeblad Piano
Lindeblad Piano Restoration
Who's Online
99 registered (Atrys, AZ_Astro, a_dee, ADWyatt, 26 invisible), 1303 Guests and 39 Spiders online.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
Forum Stats
74198 Members
42 Forums
153491 Topics
2249186 Posts

Max Online: 15252 @ 03/21/10 11:39 PM
New Topics - Multiple Forums
Bechstein 7
by PhilipInChina
26 minutes 41 seconds ago
Premier Piano of New York
by FenderJazzMan
Yesterday at 11:58 PM
Top selling self-taught pianists?
by Sand Tiger
Yesterday at 11:06 PM
Just got my MP11!
by Dan Clark
Yesterday at 10:18 PM
Cracks in my soundboard??
by Markarian
Yesterday at 09:35 PM
(ads by Google)

Visit our online store for gifts for music lovers

 
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