why not HS for sight reading

Posted by: drazh

why not HS for sight reading - 10/31/12 12:59 AM

hi
HS practice is a wll known practice method and it is really helpful. but why not in sight reading practice because even some advanced pianist have sight reading problem but no one suggest HS practice?
I suggest practicing with right hand to master (of course the pieces level should not be higher than our level)
then left hand to master
then HT
thank you
Posted by: kayvee

Re: why not HS for sight reading - 10/31/12 01:03 AM

Originally Posted By: drazh
hi
HS practice is a wll known practice method and it is really helpful. but why not in sight reading practice because even some advanced pianist have sight reading problem but no one suggest HS practice?
I suggest practicing with right hand to master (of course the pieces level should not be higher than our level)
then left hand to master
then HT
thank you
Because when you need to 'really' sight-read, aka for a job or to perform for people etc, you aren't going to be playing the song a few times through.

Sight-reading hands together IS the skill you need.
Posted by: drazh

Re: why not HS for sight reading - 10/31/12 05:26 AM

but if cant sight read with one hand HT will be impossible
thank you
Posted by: Oongawa

Re: why not HS for sight reading - 10/31/12 08:20 AM

Correct. If you can't play it HS then you can't play it HT either.
But if that is the situation, then the music you are trying to sight read is too difficult.

My teacher works with me on this and says that the material for sight reading should be a grade or so down from the music you're working on.

Try backing down on the complexity of what you're trying to sight read.
Posted by: drazh

Re: why not HS for sight reading - 10/31/12 10:58 AM

Yes you are right but compare it to technical piano practice
then hs sight reading is reasonable
thank you
Posted by: Oongawa

Re: why not HS for sight reading - 10/31/12 11:59 AM

I'm sorry, I guess I don't get your point.

I would consider sight reading and technical piano practice to be two different things, and so I'd be inclined to take different approaches to them.

Maybe you could clarify your original question? I thought you were wondering why we wouldn't use HS for sight reading?
Posted by: Andy Platt

Re: why not HS for sight reading - 10/31/12 12:00 PM

In one of the books I've read (I think Super Sight Reading Secrets or something like that) he advocates throwing in various exercises including sight reading HS. But in that case you go faster than normal tempo.

As has been said, the basic thing to do most of the time is to use material that is simple enough you can play with both hands.
Posted by: drazh

Re: why not HS for sight reading - 10/31/12 01:11 PM

Originally Posted By: Oongawa
I'm sorry, I guess I don't get your point.

I would consider sight reading and technical piano practice to be two different things, and so I'd be inclined to take different approaches to them.

Maybe you could clarify your original question? I thought you were wondering why we wouldn't use HS for sight reading?

yes i was wondering why nobody recommend hs sight reading but i think that is logical
Posted by: packa

Re: why not HS for sight reading - 10/31/12 01:14 PM

HS as a way to sometimes PRACTICE elements of sight-reading in preparation for actual sight-reading in other situations doesn't seem unreasonable to me (although I think you need to identify a specific problem that HS sight-reading is supposed to solve--perhaps reading bass clef more easily or some such thing). However, it doesn't make sense to me as the predominant practice method.

Of course, I don't think HS is desirable as a predominant method of regular practice either. For me, HS has some utility for dealing with specific problems but shouldn't dominate your practice routine no matter what you are learning.
Posted by: kayvee

Re: why not HS for sight reading - 10/31/12 01:36 PM

Originally Posted By: drazh
yes i was wondering why nobody recommend hs sight reading but i think that is logical
STOP JUST REPEATING YOURSELF. Jeez, add some substance with your posts. Give examples, situations, explanation - SOMETHING. All of your posts have been just like this.

HS sight-reading is not sight-reading. It's HS sight-reading. If someone is going to pay me to assist in a ballet class or vocal auditions or anything else and I don't have access to the music before hand, I can't turn to the performers and say "Just give me a few minutes to play each part hands separately!"

I'd be expected to go at it and get it (mostly) right - hands-together. As mentioned above, make sure the music you are sight-reading is BELOW your level. Sight-reading something incredibly slowly because it is too difficult isn't sight-reading either, because you'll surely be stopping and changing rhythm and adding all kinds of weird musical inconsistencies.

Sight-reading is about keeping the beat, getting most of the important parts of the harmony and melody, and never stopping. You can alter the music if it makes it easier (drop an octave, change the accompaniment a bit, etc). These are the skills that need to be practiced. It has almost nothing to do with hands separate vs hands together.
Posted by: keystring

Re: why not HS for sight reading - 10/31/12 01:53 PM

I think something is missing here. The first goal is to learn to READ music. What we want to be able to do as students is probably to have a handle on the notes so that we are not lost. It is also useful to be able to go through a brand new piece - slowly if need be - so that you can get a feel of what the piece is about before starting it, or to skim over a section quickly like when you take a glance at your written work, and know what you need to do next.

When we try to get basic skills we tend to look in these fora, and the first thing we read is about "sight reading". We get the definition that KayVee has given a few times, and then we think that this is what we "should" do. Before even embarking on it, first see what this is about. "Sight reading" is a specialized skill needed by accompanists who have to play brand new pieces dropped in their lap at tempo. If you are accompanying a choir or soloist in a rehearsal, you can't tell them to wait for you. Therefore you learn to stay in tempo, improvise a bit if you have to, drop a note here and there, know which note is essential etc. We don't need these skills as beginners.

So you are RIGHT about wanting to do things like HS, and you might want to not go at tempo, not only go through a piece or section once- for the purpose of getting READING skills. The confusion comes because the word "sight reading" is used all the time. You may not want to get that specialized skill at this stage, and that is probably a good instinct.
Posted by: Brian Lucas

Re: why not HS for sight reading - 10/31/12 02:14 PM

Personally, I think HS is only beneficial for note recognition. Once you can play all the correct notes in each individual hand, reading rhythms is best done HT. That's why most teachers will start students by reading pieces that have only 1 note per hand. The more notes you have to play at the same time, the harder it is to recognize all of them together. Once note recognition is mastered, IMO there is no reason to continue with HS.
Posted by: keystring

Re: why not HS for sight reading - 10/31/12 02:23 PM

Brian, how about "Use the approach that is needed for this thing at this time at this stage", whatever that approach may be?
Posted by: Oongawa

Re: why not HS for sight reading - 10/31/12 02:28 PM

Here is one thing that I do HS for. When I have a couple of measures of something that I just can't get, I play just that measure - over and over and over consecutively - like dozens of times.

This seems to help me build the muscle memory. Then I back up and do the previous measure with it, over and over. This seems to help me a lot.

So for me, that's a useful thing for HS. But I don't do much HS stuff, except for unwinding items that are particularly complex for me.

But if I'm working on sight reading, generally, it is something simple and I try to do both hands together.
Posted by: Brian Lucas

Re: why not HS for sight reading - 10/31/12 02:37 PM

Originally Posted By: keystring
Brian, how about "Use the approach that is needed for this thing at this time at this stage", whatever that approach may be?
Yeah, that makes sense. Every time you make a rule, there does always seem to be plenty of exceptions, based on the specific example. I guess I was talking more in general terms to answer the OP's question.
Originally Posted By: Oongawa
This seems to help me build the muscle memory. Then I back up and do the previous measure with it, over and over. This seems to help me a lot.
Yes, that can be true, especially for difficult passages. But don't be surprised if after adding the other hand that muscle memory becomes less reliable. Especially if the rhythms are drastically different in each hand, quite often playing in one hand disrupts what you mastered in the other.
Posted by: tangleweeds

Re: why not HS for sight reading - 10/31/12 02:48 PM

Just to clarify, a question for the OP:

Are you sure that you understand the difference between sight reading (as in priva vista) vs. simply reading music?
Posted by: drazh

Re: why not HS for sight reading - 10/31/12 03:32 PM

Originally Posted By: tangleweeds
Just to clarify, a question for the OP:

Are you sure that you understand the difference between sight reading (as in priva vista) vs. simply reading music?

Yes my goal is prima vista
Posted by: Bobpickle

Re: why not HS for sight reading - 10/31/12 08:12 PM

Here's an example of why this doesn't actually work. I can sight-read with one hand (by this I obviously mean just one part) pieces of about level 4. I can't, however, sight-read hands together pieces of level 1. Argument settled.

While your "logic" may not necessarily be flawed in isolation, the fact of the matter is it negligibly ignores the fact that you will almost never encounter passages while actually sight-reading that involve playing with just one hand. As such, practicing with one hand is silly and impractical.
Posted by: kayvee

Re: why not HS for sight reading - 10/31/12 10:16 PM

Originally Posted By: keystring
So you are RIGHT about wanting to do things like HS, and you might want to not go at tempo, not only go through a piece or section once- for the purpose of getting READING skills. The confusion comes because the word "sight reading" is used all the time. You may not want to get that specialized skill at this stage, and that is probably a good instinct.


I think it's a good thing you made this distinction, but I don't think it's wise to tell people they shouldn't learn to sight-read (as in, prima vista) right away. I had all of my students learn to sight-read as they were learning to read. All methods emphasize this now. All my teachers have emphasized this. All the books I've read have emphasized this. And, to be honest, it just seems so obvious to me.

Pick up a copy of 'Four Star Introductory Level' - that stuff is SO EASY EVEN SOMEONE WHO DOESN'T PLAY CAN DO IT. But it's still prima vista reading. And it helps. And it will make you one heck of a sight-reader.
Posted by: drazh

Re: why not HS for sight reading - 11/01/12 01:16 AM

hi
thanks for reply
so all of you guys think it is a waste of time. or at least dont recommend it.
but have you ever tried that before?
or heard about that?
Posted by: keystring

Re: why not HS for sight reading - 11/01/12 01:41 AM

Originally Posted By: kayvee

... I don't think it's wise to tell people they shouldn't learn to sight-read (as in, prima vista) right away. . ...

I agree. It's not wise to tell people what they should not or should do. What we can do is tell them some of the things that reading entails, what kinds of skills a pianist is aiming for, what is used where. Then people will make intelligent decisions.
Posted by: kayvee

Re: why not HS for sight reading - 11/01/12 02:01 AM

Originally Posted By: keystring
Originally Posted By: kayvee

... I don't think it's wise to tell people they shouldn't learn to sight-read (as in, prima vista) right away. . ...

I agree. It's not wise to tell people what they should not or should do. What we can do is tell them some of the things that reading entails, what kinds of skills a pianist is aiming for, what is used where. Then people will make intelligent decisions.
Dangerous assumption!! laugh
Posted by: keystring

Re: why not HS for sight reading - 11/01/12 10:05 AM

Originally Posted By: kayvee
Originally Posted By: keystring
Originally Posted By: kayvee

... I don't think it's wise to tell people they shouldn't learn to sight-read (as in, prima vista) right away. . ...

I agree. It's not wise to tell people what they should not or should do. What we can do is tell them some of the things that reading entails, what kinds of skills a pianist is aiming for, what is used where. Then people will make intelligent decisions.
Dangerous assumption!! laugh


I'll reword that. It is more likely that people will make good decisions, if they have some knowledge about a matter, than if they have no knowledge about it. "Intelligent decisions" here means that the person has some information that he can weigh, and does weigh it.

This is an Internet forum. The ideal is consultation or working with an excellent teacher or knowledgeable musician one-on-one in person. That is not the reality here. In the least, then, the more information that the men and women in this forum have, the more likely they are to make intelligent decisions.

You are aware, of course, that I was agreeing with your statement that members should not be told what they should do. I added to your statement with the idea that must follow, that having information will allow them to decide what to do without being told what they should do. Most of the members of this forum appear to weigh information carefully. It's often said that PW members are not the "average" person, by the very fact that they do seek more knowledge.
Posted by: aTallGuyNH

Re: why not HS for sight reading - 11/08/12 07:04 PM

Quote:
Pick up a copy of 'Four Star Introductory Level' - that stuff is SO EASY EVEN SOMEONE WHO DOESN'T PLAY CAN DO IT. But it's still prima vista reading. And it helps. And it will make you one heck of a sight-reader.


I was not able to find this via Google search. What is it exactly?
Posted by: Bobpickle

Re: why not HS for sight reading - 11/08/12 07:21 PM

http://www.amazon.com/Four-Star-Sight-Re...r+sight+reading
Posted by: aTallGuyNH

Re: why not HS for sight reading - 11/08/12 08:37 PM



Thanks... onto the Wish List it goes!
Posted by: EdwardianPiano

Re: why not HS for sight reading - 11/08/12 09:45 PM

Forgive my beginner's ignorance- but what is prima vista?
Posted by: packa

Re: why not HS for sight reading - 11/08/12 10:52 PM

From The Harvard Dictionary of Music (4th ed.):

Prima vista [It.]. At first sight, i.e., sight-reading.
Posted by: tangleweeds

Re: why not HS for sight reading - 11/08/12 11:28 PM

To expand on packa's response, prima vista sight reading means concurrently reading and playing written music which you've never seen before. When you've read and played the music before, reading it from is simply called reading music, not "sight reading".

That said, often "sight reading" is colloquially used to mean reading music while you play it, even if you've seen the music before. But that's not how the term "sight reading" is used in piano pedagogy literature, and it's generally not used that way that around here either.

But sometimes people will explicitly add "prima vista" when they say "sight reading", just to make sure that everyone is on the same page, so nobody is confused by thinking we're talking about "reading music" instad of (prima vista) "sight reading".

Did that clarify, or just confuse more?
Posted by: Bobpickle

Re: why not HS for sight reading - 11/09/12 02:49 AM

"reading" can mean:

1)reading and playing without ever having seen the piece
2)reading and playing having seen the piece (the fingering and motions of the hands are memorized, but not necessarily the notes)

"prima-vista sight-reading" only means:

1)reading and playing without ever having seen the piece
Posted by: zrtf90

Re: why not HS for sight reading - 11/09/12 09:09 AM

Sorry, Bobpickle, but that isn't quite right.

'Sight-reading', the phrase, is a contraction of 'first-sight reading'. The term makes no sense otherwise.

Prima vista sight reading literally means first sight sight reading, a nonsense phrase.

Playing from the score at first sight is sight reading, thereafter it is reading.
Posted by: packa

Re: why not HS for sight reading - 11/09/12 09:39 AM

Originally Posted By: zrtf90

Playing from the score at first sight is sight reading, thereafter it is reading.

I agree. Sight-reading = prima vista. Practicing a piece in progress or performing a finished piece while still referring to the score is not sight-reading in the common usage of the term. Again, from The Harvard Dictionary of Music (4th ed.):

Sight-reading, sight-singing. The performing of a piece of music on seeing it for the first time. . . . Performing at sight on an instrument requires the ability to grasp the meaning of musical notation quickly and call upon the relevant technical skills for execution; this should be accompanied by the skills of the ear as well. The ability to perform efficiently at sight and the ability to give finished performances of distinction do not necessarily go together, and both should be among the goals of musical instruction.
Posted by: Ragdoll

Re: why not HS for sight reading - 11/09/12 09:55 AM

What a good response tangleweeds and Bobpickle. I've had people say they sight read but don't really do so if they haven't seen the music before. Thanks for posting the distinction. I may have been guilty of this myself a couple or 6 times <blush>
Posted by: Brent H

Re: why not HS for sight reading - 11/09/12 10:51 AM

I can't see practicing a piece with each hand separately as anything but an intensive preparation method for undertaking technically difficult (for ones level) material. In that sense it is akin to writing in fingerings, playing isolated passages or figures repeatedly until mastered or spending lesson time breaking down a piece musically with ones teacher.

Doing these sorts of things once only, at speed, on pieces of music one after another being seen for the very first time seems a complete waste of effort. It would be like going to the gym and doing one bicep curl, one pushup, one stroke on the rowing machine and so forth and calling it a workout.
Posted by: Nicholas Mihaila

Re: why not HS for sight reading - 11/10/12 09:42 PM

One of the key skills in sight reading is integration (reading both staves simultaneously), and when you isolate the clefs you obviously eliminate that. In sight reading, the difficulty of reading both staves together is greater than the sum of each individually, if that makes any sense.
Posted by: Evan R. Murphy

Re: why not HS for sight reading - 11/13/12 12:40 AM

Quote:
HS practice is a wll known practice method and it is really helpful. but why not in sight reading practice because even some advanced pianist have sight reading problem but no one suggest HS practice?


As others have mentioned, working through a piece HS is sort of at odds with the meaning and purpose of sight reading. However, good beginners sight reading material will often be written with little HT going on to keep things simple. The ABRSM takes this approach, excluding HT altogether from grade 1 sight reading. Excerpt from their syllabus about grade 1:

“a four- or six-bar piece in 4/4, 3/4 or 2/4 in C, G or F majors, A or D minors, with each hand playing separately and in a five-finger position. Simple dynamics, note values, articulations and occasional accidentals (within minor keys only) may be encountered.”