yoke wong sight reading

Posted by: UK Paul UK

yoke wong sight reading - 10/10/12 05:26 PM

Soooo.. mastering the art of piano sight reading turned up today.. my sight reading has always been abysmal so im pretty much starting from the ground up. Theres probably as much info online but im starting the course and will update progress sporadically... watched the first dvd, all pretty basic stuff apart from the advice to focus between staves as a base and also to spend time on interval recognition. Plenty of excersises and loads more online... i will do all the basic excersises in the book, then in the computer program then watch the advanced sight reading dvd and start the intermediate excersises. Im back having lessons with a very competent teacher who sight reads very well so hopefully will be bakimg progress.... no regular updates but will check back in after probably the basic excersises with progress report. See you in a few weeks/months or possibly years haha :-)
Posted by: UK Paul UK

Re: yoke wong sight reading - 10/10/12 05:32 PM

Maybe need this moved to adult beginners forum..
Posted by: daviel

Re: yoke wong sight reading - 10/11/12 12:42 AM

You said: "Im back having lessons with a very competent teacher who sight reads very well so hopefully will be bakimg progress."
Did your teacher assign these materials? No expert here, but if your teacher did not, why don't you learn to sight read from your teacher instead of all these on-line self help materials and exercises, etc. If these are assigned, all the better.
Posted by: UK Paul UK

Re: yoke wong sight reading - 10/11/12 02:17 AM

Fair point you make daviel... my teacher didn't recommend it and has no idea I ordered it. Will do soon as a lesson tonight... the structured progressive material in the course is what interests me. Time will tell if its money well spent but if I am motivated to complete it and finally get a grasp of sight reading with the course material and advice from my teacher then I will be changing my sight reading habits of the previous ten years...
Posted by: btb

Re: yoke wong sight reading - 10/11/12 04:30 AM

The OP is very young judging by the mis-spelling of “exercises”... and like the motley, battles with the sight-reading bogey.

However, there is no magic elixir to improve sight-reading ... with respect, yoke wong must be one of many snake-oil proffers unloading a piano sight-reading course .

In fact, we are the hapless inheritors of the crude alphabetic stave lines accredited to Guido d’Arrezo in about the year AD 1000 ... pity they didn’t burn the chappie at the stake (alternatively boil in oil) ...
as he is responsible for a millennium of keyboard hangups.

Here’s what my Oxford Companion to Music has to say on the subject

“It is often been claimed by unthinking defenders of the system that it gives a picture or graphic diagram of the sounds.
It is true that perpendicular distance is in this system associated with pitch and horizontal distance with time, but since the same distance perpendicularly may represent anything
FROM A SINGLE HALF-STEP (SEMITONE) TO SIX HALF-STEPS
(extreme case, of course),
and the same distance horizontally anything
FROM A WHOLE-NOTE (SEMIBREVE) TO A 32ND NOTE
(demisemiquaver), it will be evident
that the diagrammatic value of the system is slight.”

PS It is only when a system of notation is invented which is founded on an accurate vertical and horizontal axis that a breakthrough can be expected ...

“Everyone knows the advantage we possess in the beautiful notation of Number which the Arabians have given us” ... why not start again?
so as to be able to play any piece of keyboard music off the cuff ... I can.

Posted by: UK Paul UK

Re: yoke wong sight reading - 10/11/12 05:44 AM

Your assumption that i'm young due to mispelling a word is incorrect and rather amusing. Whether the course helps me or not will come out in due course. As with most things, my dedication and correct application will be the main ingredients to this, however if i can complete the course with discipline then my opinions on it will benefit other members on here if they are considering trying it.

Im not expecting to come out of the other end like a modern day liszt, however we shall see.

Regards (not so young) Paul
Posted by: Dave Horne

Re: yoke wong sight reading - 10/11/12 05:55 AM

You don't have to watch DVDs or sign up for a course to learn to be a better sight reader. Go to your local library and sign out a few books of music, ones that you've never played ... and start on page one and force yourself not to stop. You'll have to start slowly and after time you will improve.
Posted by: UK Paul UK

Re: yoke wong sight reading - 10/11/12 08:24 AM

Yes, agreed that is how to be a better sight reader ... and as a public forum everyone is entitled to post what anyone who has been playing a piano 5 minutes already knows. Fact is i havent got my teeth into sight reading in ten years of playing. The course material is progressive in difficulty so my intension is to use the hundreds of progressive pieces to improve. As i progress i will update the thread and as such hopefully benefit anyone else considering the same.
Posted by: UK Paul UK

Re: yoke wong sight reading - 10/11/12 08:26 AM

Yes, agreed that is how to be a better sight reader ... and as a public forum everyone is entitled to post what anyone who has been playing a piano for any length of time already knows. Fact is i havent got my teeth into sight reading in ten years of playing. The course material is progressive in difficulty so my intension is to use the hundreds of progressive pieces to improve. As i progress i will update the thread and as such hopefully benefit anyone else considering the same.
Posted by: TromboneAl

Re: yoke wong sight reading - 10/11/12 03:19 PM

I strongly disagree with the advice of "Just do it, and you will improve." Yes, you will improve, but much more slowly than if you have a good teacher. I did it on my own for three years, and then progressed faster in my first year with a teacher guiding me than in the preceding years. I think I also built up some bad sight-reading habits when on my own -- for example, I got into the habit of reading notes instead of intervals.

Everyone's different, and YMMV.

A DVD course is probably better than going it alone, but to have a teacher watch you, and notice problems is priceless.

Here's a post about my first lesson with a teacher:

http://pianosightreading.blogspot.com/2011/01/getting-professional-help.html

And other tips from her:

http://pianosightreading.blogspot.com/2011/12/tips-from-my-teacher.html

Posted by: Dave Horne

Re: yoke wong sight reading - 10/11/12 05:42 PM

I strongly disagree with the advice of "Just do it, and you will improve." Yes, you will improve, but much more slowly than if you have a good teacher. I did it on my own for three years, and then progressed faster in my first year with a teacher guiding me than in the preceding years. I think I also built up some bad sight-reading habits when on my own -- for example, I got into the habit of reading notes instead of intervals.

Granted, being able to analyze the music will certainly help and has helped me on occasions where the music I was forced to play was above my reading ability. Since I could analyze the music on the spot and reduce it to something simpler, that saved the day.

I think everyone wants to take the path of least resistance and a DVD sight reading course smacks of that notion.

Music isn't a course you take, pass, and then ... that's it. This is a lifelong process.

If you really want to be excellent at sight reading, having a solid basis in music theory will help tremendously. Buy a music theory textbook and know the first three or four chapters forwards and backwards.

There ain't no shortcuts.
Posted by: UK Paul UK

Re: yoke wong sight reading - 10/11/12 05:52 PM

Thanks for the reply Al, happens i read some of your blog last week... small world! Started the course today after my hours lesson. An hour goes by so quickly with the pieces were working on and technical aims so i am going to persevere with the course music in my own time. If i can get a handel on sight reading with the aid of the course and tutor advice i'll be a happy bunny. Felt like wading through treacle day 1... see how i am going in a few weeks. :-)
Posted by: daviel

Re: yoke wong sight reading - 10/12/12 11:20 PM

There are a lot of superb pianists posting here that have learned the right way and know what works. People have been learning how to play for hundreds of years. There are no shortcuts. Good teachers have it down. If you are not, as you say, a young beginner, you need even more guidance from a good teacher to undo all your bad habits. In my view, don't waste your time and money on internet stuff. Study with your teacher and tell him/her that you want to improve your sight reading. If you have to do the internet thing, forget about the lessons. No need to waste the teacher's time. Take Mr. Horne's advice and learn some theory and read some easy music you have never seen before. 10-15 minutes a session is good. That way you'll have plenty of time for the "perfect pitch" course, too. Good luck.
Posted by: Evan R. Murphy

Re: yoke wong sight reading - 10/17/12 04:46 AM

Originally Posted By: btb
It is only when a system of notation is invented which is founded on an accurate vertical and horizontal axis that a breakthrough can be expected


Hmmm... like Guitar Hero? smile j/k

Originally Posted By: daviel
In my view, don't waste your time and money on internet stuff.


It doesn't really make any more sense to dismiss all internet resources than it would to dismiss all teachers or books. As you mention, good teachers have it down, not all of them. The key to taking advantage of any of these resources is knowing how to differentiate the good from the crummy, and picking one that's right for your situation.

When evaluating teachers for sight reading, keep in mind Al's advice:

"Warning 1: there are teachers out there who are not very good at sight-reading. I called one teacher and told her what I wanted, and she told me, almost whispering, 'Well, I have to admit that I'm not a very good sight-reader myself.'

Warning 2: Even if the teacher is good at sight-reading, he/she may not be able to teach it well. I took a year of lessons in the eighties, but my teacher at the time didn't help my sight-reading much."


When evaluating stuff online, beware of sites that hard sell and make outrageous promises, or wherever you sense that the business' financial incentive isn't aligned with your success. Also, read lots of reviews, and take advantage of free trials and money-back guarantees. (Never feel bad about returning something for a refund if there's a money-back guarantee!)
Posted by: UK Paul UK

Re: yoke wong sight reading - 10/17/12 01:25 PM

I do very much appreciate everyones input here... hopefully this thread will be somewhat of a diary of my success with sight reading skills and everyone who advises will play a part in that.

My view on yoke wongs 'mastering the art of sight reading' so far is i have certainly struggled with the interval spacings and currently i have adopted a slightly diferent tact. Over the last week i have spent an average of twenty minutes a day purely on sight reading, apart from my usual time with regards to technical work and pieces. I ordered a book at the same time as yoke wongs course, which i am getting on much better with...

'progressive sight reading exercises' by Hannah Smith.

So far i have completed 60 of the 534 exercises, the first section has helped me quite alot. It has focused on intervals 2, 3, 4 and 5 and stayed in the key of c. Semi Breves, minims, crotchets, quavers and semi quavers and everything in 4/4 time. Its been a very gentle entry on my path and feel I have got some decent benefit so far. My teacher thinks its a very well structured book and progresses to quite complex structures so hopefully it will do me well. I will be looking again at the yoke wong course soon enough but don't see much point changing right now.

Additionally my girlfriends granmother asked me to play her some music as she's resting up after a fall and i played my usual pieces... that run out after half an hour so i picked up a book i bought years ago with well known songs transcribed for beginners. Spent the next hour scraping through most of them sight reading and was rather pleased with myself as apart from the tunes being well known i hadnt looked at the book in years and never learnt any back when i did...

Well, thats the progress so far.