Sight reading needs work

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by songbook, Feb 26, 2015.

  1. songbook

    songbook Piano User

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    Thanks to all of the feedback you were so kind to offer me over the years, my trumpet playing has greatly improved. I still need work on my sight reading, especially where difficult rhythm patterns come into play. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
     
  2. trickg

    trickg Utimate User

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    There's always going to be the advice that in order to improve your sight reading you have to do a lot of it, but I've also found that just reading a lot of music in general helps my sight reading.

    As an example, the book for the band I play with currently has 566 charts for the horns book. While the 566 number sounds like a lot, and while the rule has always been that anything can be called at any time, the reality is we mostly play around 150 charts with regularity - what we play out of that abbreviated list depends on the night and what the crowd is responding to.

    So with that in mind, I do what I can to keep our boilerplate material polished, so I work with the charts, playing along to the original recordings (which with but a few exceptions are the original key and arrangement) so that I can keep things under my fingers. When I'm doing a lot of that, all of my playing improves, to include my sight reading. It helps me to establish a stronger connection between what my eyes see, and what I'm playing. It gets to the point where certain rhythmic figures no longer have to be counted - you see it, and it's no longer notes and rhythms, but rather it's like reading a word or phrase out of a book - you just know what it is without thinking about it or counting.

    It has also been my observation that the people who sight read really well are people who at some point in their lives did A LOT of playing. They were totally immersed in it. Between exercises, lessons, rehearsals, personal practice and gigging, it was a constant flow of reading and playing. The mind adjusts to that and develops its own efficiency.

    Most of the time there is no real secret toward improving an aspect of playing - it usually just boils down to a lot of time and work toward the end goal.
     
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  3. tobylou8

    tobylou8 Utimate User

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  4. Dennis78

    Dennis78 Fortissimo User

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    Try to get ahold of some third trumpet parts or just switch to third for a while if applicable. Reasons being sometimes we can get lazy playing the melody of tunes by not even looking at the charts and just playing by ear, third parts are almost never the melody so your forced to read and interpret what you see. Only reason I say this is because in highschool I played both first and second depending on which band I was with i.e. Jazz, marching, pep, or concert and now I play 20 years later in community band and at first it's a shock to the system because of more 1/4 rests counter melodies and things that just sound weird from behind the bell but is harmonious on recordings. Also hats off to all the other third trumpets out there as I was kind of snobby back then towards what I thought were the lesser musicians I have learnd a lot in the last year about really being a rounded musician and my sight reading has become dramatiy better. Sorry for the run on I got carried away
     
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  5. songbook

    songbook Piano User

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    I play lead or second trumpet in my community band. My biggest problem is when playing behind the vocalist. Some of those rhythm patterns can drive you crazy. Since we are not allowed to take any music home to work on, it's kind of hit and miss. A short 1/6 note being played when every one else is not can stick out like a sore thumb.
     
  6. Vulgano Brother

    Vulgano Brother Moderator Staff Member

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    For sight reading, the tunes starting on page 191 of Arban's are good. Play each tune from beginning to end and do not stop for mistakes. As for jazz rhythms, take the time to puzzle them out. Be sure to subdivide when playing. Listing to and counting with Funk music is great as well. Try transcribing the horn rhythms, for example from this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oAatPPEaZDA

    Listen to the rhythm section for "kicks" from the drummer. If you are reading the rhythms correctly you can simply place your licks in the groove.

    Have fun!
     
  7. tobylou8

    tobylou8 Utimate User

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  8. Ed Lee

    Ed Lee Utimate User

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    IMO and for me personally, it all comes together when you've in front of you all the parts as in piano, guitar and piano music which I've been able to sight transpose since back so long ago. Moreso, when my Mother accompanied me on piano. Then I was sight reading and transposing for trumpet over her left shoulder from the same music she was playing.
     
  9. mchs3d

    mchs3d Mezzo Forte User

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    My suggestion would be to practice sight-reading.
     
  10. trickg

    trickg Utimate User

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    It's a good suggestion, albeit one that's boring and frustrating and not a lot of fun. LOL!

    One way to REALLY improve your sight reading is to add some pressure. For instance, take this Easter gig I played a couple of years ago. As the gig got closer and closer, I kept wondering, "when are we going to get the music?"

    We got the music about 15 minutes before the first of two services, and it wasn't easy stuff. We're talking an old church, lots of hard wood and plaster, a high ceiling, and us sitting right up front, right in front of the choir! Our first "rehearsal" was the first service. Needless to say, I missed some stuff, but less than I thought I would, and the second service was actually pretty clean. Fortunately we were able to handle it, and I came out of it on the other side a better reader than when I went in. :D

    At the end of the day, you've just got to read a lot of music in order to be a good sight reader, and you can't forego sight reading altogether - that's necessary too. If you've got a practice buddy, sight reading duets is a great way to push each other to be better readers.
     

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