reading music

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by chenzo, Mar 9, 2009.

  1. SpiritDCI08

    SpiritDCI08 Piano User

    Feb 11, 2009
    Fort Campbell, KY
    I too have major problems sight reading
  2. jdostie

    jdostie Piano User

    Feb 20, 2008
    I have never been good at reading. Related to that, I find counting very difficult (no, not counting, but counting while playing, concentrating on pitch, tone, articulation, what's coming next, how is this supposed to sound/what sound am I trying to produce. Always in the past I have learned musical cues to keep me in time . . . It becomes muscle memory - but did little to improve my reading ability - in fact, I think was a way to "gloss over, and work around" this deficiency.

    Recognition of rhythmic patterns probably will be of good help - building a kind of library of stored patterns in the brain - to draw on when you see one. For example - when studying piano I found that rather than concentrate on every note in a chord, I began to recognize the intervals in the given chords, and would key in on a single note in the chord, and the fingers would follow the pattern.

    But, the challenge, of course, is just sight reading and practicing might result in practicing wrong patterns. I had a teacher point this out as I was doing some rhythmic studies in Arban's, "Yes, that's the way it looks, but this pattern is played in the following way . . . even though it's written as . . . see the notes here explain . . ." Funny thing was I had read the notes, and they didn't help me.

    And, practice doesn't make perfect, only perfect practice makes perfect, so I need something to check myself against to make sure I am practicing it right . . . Either to try it a few times, and then listen to it played properly, or SOMETHING.

    A great software tool or web tool would be to combine exercises on line (or on the computer) with an tuner - where it could check your pitch and rhythm with the written music while you play. Maybe that's asking a bit much, but you get the point.
  3. Bob Grier

    Bob Grier Forte User

    May 4, 2007
    Greensboro, NC
    Playing music at sight is a skill that can be developed. The best way is to take a lot of short pieces and learn how they sound. The more you do the better you will get at playing music at sight. When I was learning to play, my Band director taught us the basics of counting rhythms. By the time I was in my third year at 12, I could figure out any rhythm put in front of me. At this age I used to go into the Arban's book, go to the Phrasing Studies and pick a tune. I wanted to know what it sounded like. Little did I know that I was teaching myself to sight read.

    Too many programs spend far too much time learning just a few pieces by rote learnng and this kills sight reading skills. But anyone can learn to improve if they spend regular time at it.
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2009
  4. Bach219

    Bach219 Mezzo Piano User

    Jun 25, 2008
    I find my biggest enemy is counting when I'm playing. I can do it perfect in some case! But the whole counting while playing really does get to me.

    Especially those times when it's 4/4, you got; An 8th, quarter, quarter, ect... and everything is on the up beat and the next measure, and the next, and the next, all have notes in them that make THAT measure have notes on the up beats.
  5. jdostie

    jdostie Piano User

    Feb 20, 2008
    Right, or in a swing piece/section where two eight notes are treated like a dotted eighth followed by a 16th - or anything like that.

    What I need is a DR. BEAT instead of a simple metronome.
  6. tedh1951

    tedh1951 Utimate User

    Oct 18, 2007
    The Wide Brown Land
    I take a pencil and mark the middle of each measure, that halves the problem - it might be worth a go for you too.
  7. Liblip

    Liblip New Friend

    Mar 29, 2008
    It's true, reading music is like any other literacy- the more you do the more proficient you become. I'm a strong sight reader (from scholastic training,) but improved expotentially when I invested time transposing existing charts and just listening to tracks and transcribing them. Sort of like writing to improve reading or teaching to consolidate things learned. -Ed
  8. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    If time is your enemy, then practice more slowly. "Rushing" is every players enemy. Until essentially perfect finger patterns are developed, we only succeed in reinforcing sloppy when we are not patient enough. Even sight reading is developed by starting at a speed that we can negotiate.
  9. jason_boddie

    jason_boddie Piano User

    Dec 26, 2008
    Jacksonville, FL
    Hello all,

    It's been a while since I have been on. However, I find this thread very interesting. I have a couple of suggestions.

    1. For pure practice, pick up any number of church hymnals. The tunes are familar to us because we sing them in services. However, we don't typically sit doen and count them. So, when you are "sight reading" them, there will be an element of counting; while at the same time the tune will be familar. after a while you can just sight read hymns that are not very familar. Another advantage to church hymns is they are usually very difficult.

    2. Counting was always difficult for me as well. Repetiton is what helped me. As I continued with school and started studing Theory/Comp. I was made to sit down and analize scores. Just sitting and counting out scoresof familar melodies help me to recognize those rythms again.

    3. Rowuk said it best. You just have to do it.

    On a side note.

    a poster suggested that when playing to play through mistakes. That is a bad idea. We often say, "Practice makes perfect". That statement is incorrect. "Perfect Practice Makes Perfect".
  10. Bach219

    Bach219 Mezzo Piano User

    Jun 25, 2008
    Good point I really never thought of it that way!

    What the incorrect thing about the saying, "Practice makes perfect", is that you could be practicing in a wrong way or could be creating BAD a habit without even knowing it! That doesn't mean that you had a "perfect" practice, as a matter of fact it's the opposite.

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