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#961675 - 07/14/05 09:29 PM Sight-Reading Software ?
pianocliff Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/05/05
Posts: 398
Loc: Washington, DC Metro
I am looking for a good piece of software to assist my sight-reading practice. I thought this particular program http://www.etudesoftware.com was cool for three reasons:

* It lets you add musical elements one at a
time so that you can focus on progressive
improvement.

* It doesn't let you "fake" the rhythm because
it uses a metronome type device.

* It creates random measures for sight-reading
so there is no possibility to play by ear
or imitate.

Have any of you teachers used software products like these? Are there other programs out there? I welcome any comments and suggestions esp. from ppl who have experience with these types of programs.


~pianocliff

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#961676 - 07/14/05 09:40 PM Re: Sight-Reading Software ?
Kreisler Offline


Registered: 11/27/02
Posts: 13759
Loc: Iowa City, IA
Hmm...

1) Start with simpler repertoire and slowly increase difficulty

2) Use an actual metronome

3) Use repertoire that's unfamiliar and only do it once or twice.

4) Thank me for helping you save $35
_________________________
"If we continually try to force a child to do what he is afraid to do, he will become more timid, and will use his brains and energy, not to explore the unknown, but to find ways to avoid the pressures we put on him." (John Holt)

www.pianoped.com
www.youtube.com/user/UIPianoPed

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#961677 - 07/14/05 11:31 PM Re: Sight-Reading Software ?
pianocliff Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/05/05
Posts: 398
Loc: Washington, DC Metro
heehee...I guess I was just wondering whether using software like this can be beneficial. Not having tried it or knowing any teachers who do use it, I don't know if it would be more/less/the same as just using regular pieces as sight-reading material. I already use a hymnal and some beginner books as my main source of sight-reading material only because at my current level I am only playing "beginner" repetoire (Minuets, Eccosaises, "Children's" collections etc.)...

~pianocliff

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#961678 - 07/15/05 12:54 AM Re: Sight-Reading Software ?
Kreisler Offline


Registered: 11/27/02
Posts: 13759
Loc: Iowa City, IA
Discipline makes a person better. Read often, stay in tempo, keep going, keep your eyes on the score, accompany as much as possible, etc...

Use software with good discipline, and it'll help. Approach it with a lack of discipline, it won't.

Most software is like that, actually. Finale won't turn you into John Williams, Word won't turn you into Umberto Eco, and Photoshop won't turn you into Ansel Adams.
_________________________
"If we continually try to force a child to do what he is afraid to do, he will become more timid, and will use his brains and energy, not to explore the unknown, but to find ways to avoid the pressures we put on him." (John Holt)

www.pianoped.com
www.youtube.com/user/UIPianoPed

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#961679 - 07/17/05 08:50 PM Re: Sight-Reading Software ?
newstead Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/13/05
Posts: 117
Pianocliff,

I remember first grade and learning to read. My teacher used phonics as well as word recognition.

She used lists of vocabulary words. She covered up the list with a paper and would expose the words by moving the paper down to allow the student to read the next word. In this way she tailored the exercise to the readers skill and tested the ability of each student to recognize random words. I think this was a big help to me in learning to read.

It would seem that a similar techique could be developed using computers. The operator could set the speed at which the bars of music were exposed and play them on a keyboard connected to the computer.

I don't have such a set up, but imagine that you might and that is what you want to do.

I encourage you to use this method.

I too would like to use this method to increase the speed at which I can sight read.

I also like the aspect of being able to add elements gradually to make the music more complex.

Please keep me posted on your progress.

Newstead

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#961680 - 07/18/05 10:39 AM Re: Sight-Reading Software ?
pianocliff Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/05/05
Posts: 398
Loc: Washington, DC Metro
I need to get a midi cable if I plan on using this s/w and move the computer closer to the digital downstairs. I haven't actually purchased it as of yet.

In a similar vein, I have also heard of "theory" computer games. I wonder if they make any that are challenging enough for an adult? The combination of eye-hand coordination and "on-the fly" training seems like it would be an ideal way to improve your sight-reading when not actually at the piano.

For instance, imagine a game that displays a random musical interval on the score and you get timed at how quickly you can enter the interval. Or a game that has a boucing ball follow a score and you enter the notes as fast as possible from bass to treble. Of course this doesn't help you play it correctly when actually at the piano, what it does do however is sharpen the brain-eye-hand coordination needed to actually process the music on the score. I think there's a good practical basis for this kind of training and would be interested if anyone has heard/of or tried anything similar. I seem to recall reading about a "sight-reading" game that basically taught kids how to sight-read in the guise of a fun arcade like game but don't remember where I read this.


~pianocliff

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#961681 - 07/18/05 12:20 PM Re: Sight-Reading Software ?
Rob Mullins Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/10/04
Posts: 309
Loc: LA CA
Hi,
At the IAJE Convention (Intl. Asso. of Jazz Educators) last January, Coda Music, makers of Finale and Print Music showed me a demo of Smart Music. Smart Music is truly amazing music software and would probably be what you are looking for.
Prepared music pieces go by on the computer screen and you play along. At the end of the piece, the software visually shows you a grid of the correct melody and your performance of sightreading it on a staff below the correct performance. Timing errors you have made are shown by your notes in red, early or late. Note errors are show in red, above and below the correct notes. Even cooler is that your effort is graded and the score of how you did shows up at the end of the performance.
The software makes all these calcuations in seconds. I had never seen anything like it.
I don't know what it costs, but certainly would be worth looking into.
One drawback for pianists is that is doesn't work for chords, only for melody in treble clef, but I am sure they are working on that.
_________________________
Rob Mullins
www.planetmullins.com
Two openings in my private lessons program starting in Nov.

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#961682 - 07/20/05 01:17 PM Re: Sight-Reading Software ?
John Citron Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/15/05
Posts: 3925
Loc: Haverhill, Massachusetts
pianocliff,

Why would you need software to learn how to sight read? Just do it! I am an avid sightreader. I learned by necessity, and it's a lot of fun once you get the hang of it.

You start reading a piece, keep moving, and don't stop for mistakes. The thing is to know your notes, key signatures, scales, and all the other nitty-gritty stuff inside and out so you don't have to think about it. That's your key right there (pun intended).

You'll begin to recognize certain chord structures by sight, and particular patterns and routines as they come up. Another thing that helps is starting with one composer, genre, or period. I find that this helps because you begin to remember how certain things are done. Eventually, you'll being to expect a minor-seventh chord to be resolved to the tonic, be looking for the fifth in the development, etc.

If anything, I'd spend some money on music to sight read instead of software to teach me how to read. I recommend the CD-Sheet Music collections if you are in need of music.

Good luck
_________________________
Nothing.

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#961683 - 07/20/05 01:34 PM Re: Sight-Reading Software ?
pianocliff Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/05/05
Posts: 398
Loc: Washington, DC Metro
My teacher has given me some sight-reding materials and I am practicing from them now. I also love playing duets! They are lots of fun and really help with the sight-reading too because if you fall off the beat then you won't sound right together.

The computer thing interested me because a) I am a software engineer and b) I thought that a particulary additive game that drilled on a specific aspects of music would be fun to play in your piano downtime. Kind of the same way that working on theory outside of piano time helps you look at things differently the next time you sit down at the bench (at least for me.)

Which sheet music CDs do you have? Do you know of any publishers of digital sheetmusic that have consistent quality standard? I have had issues with some digital sheetmusic that I downloaded off the 'net before being inaccurate w/r/t to the original score.


~cliff

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#961684 - 07/20/05 02:58 PM Re: Sight-Reading Software ?
John Citron Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/15/05
Posts: 3925
Loc: Haverhill, Massachusetts
Cliff,

Piano duets and other chamber music are one of the best ways to learn. When I was in high school, I studied music at Phillips Academy in Andover. (I didn't attend the school, just studied piano there). They had chamber music weekends where you would get a few days to learn a part, and then perform it on the following weekend. Great fun and a really quick way to learn to read music.

I can see your interest in the software...hehe. I too work in hightech and toy with different things, but still a computer playing games with you really isn't that fun. I've tried playing along with myself, and that was hard enough. There is something missing like that eye contact you have when playing duets and chamber music though. The computer is not a fun person to play along with...

I too have tried some of the digital scores and found that they really weren't that great. The CD-Sheet Music series on the otherhand is really great. I have nearly every CD from CD-Sheet Music. They are PDF versions of scanned music that has gone out of publication. In otherwords they are real music not something someone type-set from their own music collection.

There are complete collections of all of the Haydn Sonatas, all of Chopin's works, etc. The editions aren't bad, some of the Classical ones are a bit Romantic in the editing, but other than that they're pretty good. It's great to find some unknown works as well as the more common ones.

You just print out the Acrobat Reader files, of the pieces you want to any printer and go. The alternative is to import them into music-displaying software such as E-Stand, which I have.

John
_________________________
Nothing.

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#961685 - 07/22/05 12:26 PM Re: Sight-Reading Software ?
hgiles Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/27/05
Posts: 736
Loc: Charlottesville Virginia
If you have BIAB already, just have it automatically generate a song for you and have at it.
_________________________
Haywood
-------------

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