How to become a monster reader

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by obeedge, Jul 1, 2011.

  1. kingtrumpet

    kingtrumpet Utimate User

    Sep 20, 2009
    New York State USA
    OH MY GOODNESS --- you just made this whole trumpet deal and reading music sound so complicated!!! ---and next time I see a baby trying to walk -- I am going to still tell that little one ---- ONE STEP AT A TIME!!!!-

    I'm now thinking about trading in my trumpet for a tuba --- then I would only have to learn 5 notes then -- wouldn't I?????ROFL
  2. tptshark

    tptshark Pianissimo User

    Jun 4, 2005
    Hong Kong
    Great post Rowuk!

    to add my 2c, here is something for you to try, and think about:

    firstly and analogy: Imagine you are riding a bicycle and a pothole is approaching; if you are looking at the front wheel (close to where you are on the road) by the time you see the pothole it will appear to be approaching very fast and you will hit it. If you look waaay down the road, you will see the pothole approaching and it will do so at a slow rate, but it will disappear from view at the last minute, again resulting in you hitting it. If you look a moderate distance in front of you you will see the pothole, maintain your view of it, and have time to avoid it. Same with reading - you need to keep your eyes in front of the music you are playing, not too close or too far, in order to give yourself the best possible chance of making it through without error. The distance you look ahead depends on the pace of the music - the faster the music the further ahead you should be looking.

    To practice this, take an etude and read the last bar, then jump to the second last bar and read that, then jump to the third last bar and read that. Do this in time, with a metronome, and you will find that you train yourself to use your short term memory effectively so that your eyes can stay ahead of where you are playing.

    If you do make a mistake whilst reading, resist the urge to let your eyes flick back to where you are in the music. If you do, then all of a sudden you are 'looking at the front wheel' and things start to feel frantic, increasing the chance of you making another error.

    One more thing, as already discussed reading essentially a memory recall exercise - you see something, recognize it as something your have learnt in the past, and then play it. With this in mind, I would suggest dividing the time you devote to reading practice between 'sight reading' new material that you have not seen before (use this as a roleplaying exercise - imagine you are in the studio doing a take, and have to nail it; technically and musically), and learning new rhythms/melodic patterns that expand your known language.

    Hope that makes sense, and helps you!

    All the best,
  3. coolerdave

    coolerdave Utimate User

    Nov 7, 2009
    San Pedro
    so many great post... and this is a really a simple example of what I think Robin is saying.. with another added take
    My sight reading book.. I don't remember the name would take the take the dotted eighth note then sixteenth note mix it with sixteenth note runs so I would get use to getting it exact .. then it would slip in eighth note triplets.. the first two tied together as a trap. Try writing it out for yourself and see how tricky it is.. a measure dotted eighths and 16th note .. then a measure of 8th note triplets with the first 2 of the series tied together ..
    So good reading is recognizing the pattern but it is also trains you not to get too comfortable and be alert. When you see 16th 8th 16th it should be automatic as to how it is played.
    and the metronome that was mentioned about is really important
  4. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    KT, I am not sure what you mean.
    What is hard: reading books? reading my post? Individual letters? being wrong? Turning the brain on before inserting the mouthpiece?

    It is actually simple. Learn what you should, when you should. Then you will not have to when you have to.............:evil:
  5. Peter McNeill

    Peter McNeill Utimate User

    Jan 30, 2009
    Melbourne Australia
    This is one of the better threads I have read for a while. Good advice, and good explanations.

    Reading was my weakness (and still is to a degree, but getting better) and it is great to read this advice given so far. Thanks
  6. JediYoda

    JediYoda Mezzo Piano User

    Sep 25, 2010
    State of Confusion
    let me tell you what kind of doors open when you become a real good reader. of music..regardless of if its on the trumpet or vocally....

    People will call you on a moments notice to fill in knowing that you are a reader.
    I personally have been able to walk into church services and even masses without being asked to come to rehearsals to play my trumpet and for that matter even cantor on a moments notice.

    Just last week I played a 15 minutes prelude and the prelude included the 3rd movement of Haydn`s trumpet concerto and did the closing song for a huge local church in my area and that was with no notice except a frantic call early Sunday morning about 2 1/2 hrs before the gig. A fellow trumpet player`s father had a heart attack and he could not possibly do the gig.....

    The sky is the limit and IMO all music takes on a whole new color and flavor once you learn to sight read......
  7. coolerdave

    coolerdave Utimate User

    Nov 7, 2009
    San Pedro
    So right on ... all things being equal those who can read get more playing opportunities .. it's also a bit of an ego boost to sight read through something while players are dropping like flies through a tough passage :D
  8. duanemassey

    duanemassey Piano User

    Jul 14, 2009
    You can only sight read as good as you can play. If you struggle with scales or arpeggios, you will struggle with reading them at sight. Oddly enough, my sight reading is far better than my technical skills (could be my lack of discipline to practice?), and sight reading opened doors for me that might have been difficult to get through otherwise.
    I believe it was Rowuk who made a good point: all players are not created equal. Some will excel at reading, others will have a natural affinity for the mechanics of the horn, and some will just instinctively catch rhythm figures without any trouble at all. The hard part is becoming good at what is not natural for you.
    The more you read, the better you will get at it, no shortcuts. Read anything you can get your hands on, and use a metronome. Don't stop to work on tricky figures until you've read the piece, THEN go back a tackle the "hard" parts. Of course, be realistic about your current abilities, don't set yourself up for frustrations by diving into a selection that you are technically not ready to play.
    I agree that visually going over the part and fingering the notes before you play it is useful, and just about everyone I know does this. And don't just look at the notes, look at the phrasing as well. The hardest part is getting it all right, not just the notes.
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2011
  9. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    The people that book me are looking for a package - not an emergency course of action. Reading IS useful, however what builds good ensemble sound? Practice together. Every group reacts to the sum of the players. Introducing a new thing for the performance may be cheaper - but there is a cost of business for that too!

    I for one am not really interested in ensembles that place little value on "ensemble". I will sub in an emergency, but groups that live from desaster to desaster are not saved by good readers. They are saved by better organisation - a great topic for a new thread.
  10. Trumpet Dreamer

    Trumpet Dreamer Mezzo Forte User

    Aug 14, 2010
    Jazz Town, USA
    There is wisdom in the above! While playing lead alto in a big band setting, my saxophone section had many sectionals...that is only the sax section rehearsing without the rest of the band. As a result the sax section was the best section of the entire band. The reading ability varied among the individuals involved, but the entire package was presented in a most professional manner with focus on organization, as well as other things.

    The UNT School of Music places the students based primarily on reading ability. To be in the grammy nominated 1 O'Clock Lab Band, you have to be a "sight reading fool"!

    The 1 O'Clock had a track on an album a number of years ago titled "Clams Anyone". As the recording started, you could hear the sheet music being passed out to the members. The chart was sight read for the recording and was a one take deal just to show the talent and ability of the members of the 1 O'Clock. If you make it to this band, you will never struggle to find good employment as a musician.

    When Buddy Rich or Maynard or Kenton needed a replacement player, one of the first calls made was to North Texas State because these guys could read anything anywhere upside down and inside out...among other things.
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2011

Share This Page