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I just worked out something about sightreading

sightreading

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#16 xini

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Posted 11 September 2019 - 13:22

How about a slightly different approach to ensemble playing? I'm thinking teach your pupil to busk 2 chords (perhaps just power chords or even root notes to keep it as simple as humanly possible) on ukulele or guitar - strumming only, on the beat, but keeping in strict time whilst you play the melody.

 

It may help change the approach, allowing the pupil to understand what continuity feels like and sounds like, without all the added busy-ness of working out notes and rhythms at the same time.

 

Of course you could do this exercise on keys, but it may not be 'different' enough to feel novel and thus memorable. Plus I believe the physicality of playing an instrument with larger arm movements can help with feeling pulse. You could transfer it on to keys on a later occasion, once the basics are in place.


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#17 Wavy

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Posted 12 September 2019 - 06:52

Yes, sight reading is nearly always the most difficult part of the exam. But i get my students to practice SR constantly with their other practice. They have to get used to processing information quickly.... the brain can only process what it can at the stage you are at and you have to train it to process quicker. There are so many things going on for the brain and body when SR. One practice method is to play extremely slowly and not to play until both hands are sorted. The flow might be slightly interrupted, but that gradually improves. Then gradually speed up the process over several months


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#18 ma non troppo

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Posted 15 September 2019 - 23:09

Keeping going and sacrifice is what we all do if we are professional accompanists, but that isn't something that just happens for the people we teach. I'm sorry, but this will go right against the flow of what many of you teach - I tell them initially to be accurate, no matter how long it takes. Without that, what is the point? - they get quicker at being accurate eventually. It takes real experience to quickly evaluate what can be sacrificed in order to keep going.

Exam sight reading is a total nonsense really, after all.
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#19 ten left thumbs

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Posted 16 September 2019 - 15:49

Keeping going and sacrifice is what we all do if we are professional accompanists, but that isn't something that just happens for the people we teach. I'm sorry, but this will go right against the flow of what many of you teach - I tell them initially to be accurate, no matter how long it takes. Without that, what is the point? - they get quicker at being accurate eventually. It takes real experience to quickly evaluate what can be sacrificed in order to keep going.

Exam sight reading is a total nonsense really, after all.

Don't be sorry, I like to be challenged. :)

 

If you think exam sightreading is a total nonsense, then I can understand your position. 

 

However, you also say that sacrificing is a skill which we learn, and need. But you don't think that should be taught? I don't follow this. Maybe you think it should be taught/learned at a later stage (e.g. after grade 8). This would be logical, however likely they won't have done grade 8 (if you think the exams are likelwise a total nonsense), still perhaps it should be taught at what we could call an advanced stage.

 

If you think that it shouldn't be taught, but just that some will work it out and those that don't can't be professional accompanists, then I can't agree with this. 

 

(My opinion, for what it's worth, I don't think exam sightreading is a total nonsense. I do think exam sightreading is flawed. I think it's probably the best that can be done in limited time, which is to say, consistently and fairly across exams around the world, in a manner which is financially viable.)


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#20 Latin pianist

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Posted 16 September 2019 - 16:00

I would say that when my students are playing a piece of sight reading, I do as ma non troppo does and encourage them to play slowly and accurately. But for learning accompaniment, we play duets where the student has to keep going. I don't suggest they miss things out but that happens to keep the piece going. So two different skills imo.
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#21 ten left thumbs

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Posted 16 September 2019 - 17:45

Just to be clear, I am talking about sightreading for a grade exam. 


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#22 Latin pianist

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Posted 16 September 2019 - 17:50

My first example is for exam sight reading.
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#23 elemimele

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Posted 16 September 2019 - 19:53

The issue is that there are two fundamentally different sorts of sight-reading:

 

There is accompanists' sight-reading: keep going at all costs, support the soloist as best you can, don't disturb anything. Missing out notes is far less obvious than playing a note at the wrong time. Even wrong notes aren't a problem provided no one notices...

 

And there is exploratory sight-reading, what you do when you're learning a new piece, and exploring what it is, from notation.

 

Exam sight-reading seems to me to be almost entirely accompanists' sight-reading, which is sensible because it's such a vital skill for the professional musician. But it does rather an injustice to exploratory sight-reading, which is a very important skill for the amateur musician. If you can't play accurately from notation then you must either improvise, or play only things you can find on YouTube.

 

The ability to care about playing accurately, and to judge when your playing has become so inaccurate that it's time to go back and do that bit again, may not be as hard a skill as the ability to keep going at all costs, but it's still valuable. I wouldn't have dared write what ma non troppo did, because I'm not a pro, but it really did resonate with me.

 

(I've no personal axe to grind on this. I'm not overly scared of sight-reading in either flavour, though I'm no expert either)


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#24 ten left thumbs

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Posted 16 September 2019 - 20:05

My first example is for exam sight reading.

OK, for exam sightreading, slow and accurate. Actually, this student would not be able, for example, if faced with a piece that starts with a minim, to hold that minim at the slow speed, if she wanted to get the quavers accurate. Slow and accurate is one thing. Entirely lacking pulse is another.


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