Sight Reading

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Annie, May 8, 2007.

  1. Jason Osborne

    Jason Osborne New Friend

    Mar 21, 2007
    Wales, U.K
    Good thread and great advice as always!
    I get my new students to clap the sigth reading exercise i've set them (to a metronome) first, then i give them the first note and get them to try and sing it and then finally play it. Really speeds up there reading.
    My old teacher said to me one day that being a good musician is all about being able to hear what you see (listen with your eyes!) and seeing what you hear (see with your ears!) i.e visualise and auralise!
    If you can hear what's in front of you just before you play it it's so much easier and the best thing to achieve this is just like everyone else has said.... scales and patterns and lots of 'new' material.
    Good luck!

  2. trpt2345

    trpt2345 Mezzo Forte User

    May 21, 2006
    Morelia, Mexico
    Good thought.

    Michael McLaughlin
  3. trpt2345

    trpt2345 Mezzo Forte User

    May 21, 2006
    Morelia, Mexico
    Sight singing is a great exercise too, solfege and all that. Helps you to be able to hear what something is supposed to sound like before you play it.

    Michael McLaughlin
  4. rickperon

    rickperon New Friend

    Jan 17, 2007
    Tucson, AZ
    I think in general, (and I might get called on this one) some just seem to have better coordination with processing it faster. I think you can improve by doing what has already been mentioned. For me those things helped very little. It wasn't until I started playing with rehearsal bands and just doing a lot of playing in many different situations that I began to have more confidence with sight reading. I've sat next to some awsome lead players and have seen pretty much the same thing in all of them - great internal time, and dare I say, a bit of (good, or maybe aggressive type) attitude towards the music. And of course a very high level of concentration. I still read one note at a time or short phrases, also when there are rest you can look ahead. Listening to what is going on around you can be very helpful too. It's funny, because usually when I play a show, I usually play better during the rehearsal.....probably because of the concentration factor being higher? I remember once while I was in my teen years, the Buddy Rich band came to town to do a benefit concert for a young up & comming drummer whom Buddy was quite impressed with & had befriended (who unfortunately was killed in a car accident). Well just about that time (late 70's) Buddy had just broken his foot. The band still came out but with Ed Shaunessy (sp?). At the break, I managed to get Lin Biviano's attention and he invited me back stage to just hang out. I'm still to this day not sure how I managed to get past the security person who was guarding the stairs, but I did. Any how, while back there (and it was quite an eye opener for me at the time) Ed pulled a new chart out of his briefcase and asked the guys if they wouldn't mind opening the second half of the show with it. Sure no problem, I got to look at the lead part (don't remember what the tune was) sitting next to Lin, trying to think of something to ask him....but I couldn't think of one thing. Ed mentioned to the guys that they should look it over because it was a burner. Lin took about what seemed like 10 seconds to look it over and that was it. Well of course when they came out and hit it..... It was just amazing to me that they were burning it up! Especially Lin! I'll never forget thinking that I will never be able to get to that point in my playing. A night I will never forget!
  5. robertwhite

    robertwhite Mezzo Piano User

    Nov 11, 2003
    Good post, Rick! Having that moment of epiphany is a big deal for the developing musician. I think the things you noticed - concentration, assertive attitude - are all big ones for learning to read well.

    Annie, a couple of other books that are helpful in giving you your "raw materials" are the Everett Gates Odd Meter Etudes and Robert Nagel's Contemporary Studies. These books especially address rhythmical understanding and fluency, along with the Starer that Derek already mentioned. Also Sight Reading by Dufresne, Music Speed Reading by David Hickman, and Complete Collection of Sight Reading Etudes for Trumpet by Mark Ponzo are specifically geared toward developing sight reading.

    Beyond that, just read, read, read! Every day!
  6. its a possibility

    its a possibility New Friend

    May 10, 2007
    Last edited: May 10, 2007
  7. Annie

    Annie Piano User

    Nov 13, 2003
    Cool posts, it's neat to see how everyone approaches it. I just had an interesting thought - actually, while I was sitting in a reading education class. The funny thing with me is I am actually a very fast English language reader, I'm not slow at sight reading I just approach it wrong (my teacher talked to me a bit about this on Monday, and changing my approach to looking for patterns jumped my sight-reading, looking for chords, etc).

    Anyone see the correlation between reading the English language at a fast speed, and sight-reading music fast? Both are related to an aural experience, and both are written. It's just music has almost an infinite vocabulary that can be broken down into common steps, intervals, and least that was pretty much what I was thinking in class last night.
  8. NickD

    NickD Forte User

    I'm a pretty good sight reader as pros go. I don't usually mess up. Every post here makes perfect sense, and those who are more immersed in MUSIC education certainly have more to contribute to the methods of learning this skill.

    For me the real ability just came from DOING it. This is a little like throwing a kid into a pool and screaming "try not to drown" as a method of learning to swim. Hence my enthusiasm for the rest of the posts. However, for me, the thing that helped my sight reading was just doing as much of it as possible; i.e. practice READIN etudes NOT learning the etudes. What I used to do was by tough etude books, like the Verne Reynolds or Bitsch etudes and sit down and read them. Once I started to ever so slightly learn them, I'd move on to the next and work on reading it.

    Rich Wiley wrote a set of duet books based on the changes from old standards. These are an EXCELLENT resource for working on reading jazz. I think the series was called "I'd Rather Be Boppin'". They are really well written.

    Ok, gotta get to class.

  9. Tom Mac

    Tom Mac Pianissimo User

    Mar 11, 2007
    Nashville Tennessee
    I am awed by the calibre of advice this thread has produced. I have found the following practice routine to be helpful.
    Set your metronome (always practice w/ a metronome) to play the piece at half tempo or less. Read this way every time you practice for a month or more. When half tempo becomes no challenge increase the tempo. Be careful that you don't "blow your chops" by playing things slowly. If you are reading etudes play them eight bars at a time (there's no rule you must play a piece from beginning to end w/o stopping when you're reading). The important thing is to read the pitches and rhythms accurately, not how fast you read. By practicing slowly your reading at faster tempos will improve.

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