Sight reading suggestions?

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Parkerweiss, Jul 20, 2013.

  1. Hugh Anderson

    Hugh Anderson Pianissimo User

    Sep 18, 2011
    Find the downbeats.
  2. kingtrumpet

    kingtrumpet Utimate User

    Sep 20, 2009
    New York State USA
    the downbeats are all in Washington DC -- oops, I got the wrong thread on "no politics" ---- and I guess I meant deadbeats, anyhow --- I'm bad, so sorry!!!! ROFL ROFL ROFL
  3. gmonady

    gmonady Utimate User

    Jan 28, 2011
    Dayton, Ohio
    I bet you can... at least hum... that helps you out with relative pitch, which I do believe is another tool that assist with site reading.
  4. Hugh Anderson

    Hugh Anderson Pianissimo User

    Sep 18, 2011
    No, that's dead-beats.
  5. Franklin D

    Franklin D Forte User

    May 23, 2009
    The Netherlands
  6. Franklin D

    Franklin D Forte User

    May 23, 2009
    The Netherlands
    Try this one:

    Brass Trainer

    On my computer I have to use the arrow buttons.
  7. duanemassey

    duanemassey Piano User

    Jul 14, 2009
    The more you sightread the better you will become. Several other suggestions: Find transcriptions of recorded solos, and sightread along with the recordings; if you have the time (and a pencil), make notes/marks on the possible "problem" measures; read thru the parts without playing, fingering the notes and concentrating on the rhythm; find some other players who also want to improve their reading and have fun with it.
    When I was very young (13 or so), my dad (bass player) would have my brother (tenor sax) and I read thru a set of books called the Combo Orks series. Each book had 20 songs written for three parts. We would take one book each time, read the song, swap parts, and read it again. 20 tunes each night, once a week. My sightreading and ear-training got me thru many situations where my lack of training on the mechanics of playing the trumpet were a potential liability. To this day I typically sightread a piece pretty much as good as I will play after several rehearsals. The argument could be made that I'm a decent sightreader but a mediocre trumpet player, but that's a different topic.
  8. barliman2001

    barliman2001 Fortissimo User

    Jul 5, 2010
    Vienna, Austria, Europe
    The one problem with learning to sight-read while playing trumpet is that you will tend to overstretch your chops. But you can still practise sight-reading: Just sing whatever is put before you. Prepare a small piece of wood with three dots on it - as a trumpet simulator - and do the fingering on that. And try doing the same left-handed. You will find that sight-reading will come to you much faster if you can do the fingering left-handed as well.
  9. Ed Lee

    Ed Lee Utimate User

    Aug 16, 2009
    Jackson NC
    After 65 years of sight reading, inclusive of transposition, I don't have much of a problem that my ophthalmologist can't help with. I recently got new glasses. It irks my wife when I tap my fingers on the table edge fingering the music that is on my mind. Ever since laying aside a French horn, I don't do it left handed so much anymore ... except when I'm simulating the keyboard bass harmony.
  10. kehaulani

    kehaulani Fortissimo User

    May 14, 2011
    Hawaian homey
    Guys, if all you are doing is playing and playing you're missing some very helpful techniques to reading jazz and big band literature. Definitely just doing it and doing it with increasing difficulty is productive, but in a sense the point is being missed if you are not reading the rhythms first and foremost.

    Most jazz (and I'll include big band whenever I write "jazz") relies on a relatively limited number of familiar rhythmic patterns. OK - maybe a lot of patterns, but not as many as you might think. Learning to recognize these patterns until you don't have to read the entire pattern but just click into regurgitate-mode is what you want to train yourself to do. So, when you are sight reading, instead of reading one single note-value followed by another single note-value at a time, you look at a group of notes which represent a familiar rhythmic-note-grouping and you see all of those notes as one thing, not as a bunch of things. Then you are reading like you should be doing all along; groups of notes as single rhythmic units. (BTW, you do not read notes as you are playing them. You should develop the skill of reading ahead of where you are in the music.)

    How do you train yourself to do this? Just recognizing that the patterns exist is a big step forward. Look at big band charts or jazz tunes and start to see where note-groupings make a familiar and identifiable rhythm. You'll start to see tons of them. Then use a little insight on your part and start to recognize where there are other patterns that are variations of the standard patterns you've learned. Here's a dirty little secret to sight-reading. Don't quote me. In the wrong setting, it'll get you fired. But you'll get by much better if you are, for example in a section which is sight-reading a chart, if you push the wrong buttons down but play the right rhythms, than if you are continuously screwing up the rhythms but playing the right notes.

    There are books you might find helpful which have etudes based on typical rhythms and their variations and whose exercises get more complex as you go along. One standard source is the Lennie Niehaus series "Jazz Conception For Saxophone", Jamey Aebersold Jazz: Jazz Conception For Saxophone - Basic #1 Book/CD.

    Along with playing exercises, as perhaps mentioned above, is scat singing music. Keeping in mind how important it is for you to perform the rhythms correctly, the goal of the scat singing frees you from the technical demands of your instrument and allows you the relaxation of just grooving to the music and rhythm. Do this with a metronome, first as you probably are accustomed to (click on every beat) and then with the beats on 2 and 4, where the pulses are usually occurring more characteristically in jazz. Also, just to keep you advancing and becoming more and more free with feeling jazz rhythms, sing along with recordings until your phrasing becomes second nature with the recorded performances. This isn't necessarily a direct sight-reading technique, but it is an overall part of freeing yourself up in performing and recognizing characteristic rhythmic patterns and performing as second nature.

    (extra note: When you're having problems with rhythmic phrasing, look for a key beat in that phrase that you can anchor on and aim for that beat. The beat can vary, but you will soon notice that many times, aiming for a crucial beat placement will force the other rhythms to fall into place.)
    Last edited: Jul 28, 2013
    tobylou8 likes this.

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