Self-taught sight-reading

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SunnyDee
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Self-taught sight-reading

Post by SunnyDee » Fri Jun 16, 2017 3:58 pm

I'm a confident self-learner/teacher. I always say I can't afford a teacher better than I am. But I would like a few suggestions exactly how to go about learning some fundamental "sight-reading".

I say "sight-reading" but I don't ever intend to have to read in public on the fly or to read really complex classical pieces. Rather I want to be able to quickly pick out a melody line or read a tab without slowly figuring it out. I'm also not overly concerned with being able to "hear" a piece as I read without playing, although, that's a by-product of practice for sure.

I understand HOW to read, meaning I can read, given time, because I do know the staff and all that. I also know the fretboard.

My request is just for suggestions about best practices in how to match up what I see with my fingers. So far, I'm creating little exercises that show both tab and staff in Musescore. (I'm much more focused on the staff, but I figure might as well see tabs, too.) I've learned the open strings well, so I can play those in randomly generated staff. Now I want to know what next. So, two questions....

FIRST:
What's the best way to learn more notes? Again, I know the notes, but don't have a quick connection between seeing the note and touching the fretboard. I've begun learning the notes in C major on the first frets, but what do you think? Is there a better way?
I've got musescore staff/tab for each note between 1 and 12, but practicing that doesn't seem that useful for reading melody, etc. Thoughts?
Should I learn the chromatic scale? Learn by keys? Ideas?

SECOND:
How far ahead should I read while learning? Should I focus on each note as I learn to solidify the hand/eye coordination or read in patterns/shapes right away? It seems like that might make it so I can play in context (which I could already do to a degree) but not pick out unknown pieces so well. Suggestions?
"Militantly left-handed."

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Rasputin
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Re: Self-taught sight-reading

Post by Rasputin » Fri Jun 16, 2017 4:20 pm

I'm in a similar position - I do have a teacher but we don't discuss sight-reading much. Improving this skill is one of my little side-projects.
SunnyDee wrote:
Fri Jun 16, 2017 3:58 pm
My request is just for suggestions about best practices in how to match up what I see with my fingers. So far, I'm creating little exercises that show both tab and staff in Musescore. (I'm much more focused on the staff, but I figure might as well see tabs, too.)
But then you are not working on working out the fingering on the fly, which is part of the skill of sight-reading on the guitar IMHO.
I've learned the open strings well, so I can play those in randomly generated staff. Now I want to know what next. So, two questions....

FIRST:
What's the best way to learn more notes? Again, I know the notes, but don't have a quick connection between seeing the note and touching the fretboard. I've begun learning the notes in C major on the first frets, but what do you think? Is there a better way?
I use an app for this (can't think what it's called but I'm sure they're easy to find). This makes it a bit abstract but that's partly the point - when you learn a scale you can rely on the pattern and the sound and can get away with not having instant knowledge of which notes are where - it's almost like you have to run up the scale in your head to find them. There is no time to do that in an app, it forces to you learn which notes are where as a separate piece of information. This will then help with memorising scales, so it's not as though it's totally disconnected from the rest of the learning process.
I've got musescore staff/tab for each note between 1 and 12, but practicing that doesn't seem that useful for reading melody, etc. Thoughts?
I would get the Delcamp scores or violin scores and just do loads and loads of practice.
SECOND:
How far ahead should I read while learning? Should I focus on each note as I learn to solidify the hand/eye coordination or read in patterns/shapes right away?
My approach is to try to read as far ahead as I can in sight-reading practice, and be on the lookout for patterns all the time. If I'm actually called on do so some sight-reading, say in a lesson, I will just do whatever comes naturally. My thinking is that if the skills are there I can trust the gubbinry in my skull to use them to the appropriate extent, at least if it's given half a chance to figure out what that is - whereas if I haven't consciously worked on these things in sight-reading practice they won't be there in the first place.

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SunnyDee
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Re: Self-taught sight-reading

Post by SunnyDee » Fri Jun 16, 2017 4:44 pm

Rasputin wrote:
Fri Jun 16, 2017 4:20 pm
I'm in a similar position - I do have a teacher but we don't discuss sight-reading much. Improving this skill is one of my little side-projects.
SunnyDee wrote:
Fri Jun 16, 2017 3:58 pm
My request is just for suggestions about best practices in how to match up what I see with my fingers. So far, I'm creating little exercises that show both tab and staff in Musescore. (I'm much more focused on the staff, but I figure might as well see tabs, too.)
But then you are not working on working out the fingering on the fly, which is part of the skill of sight-reading on the guitar IMHO.
I think I see your point, but I couldn't read tabs either, so I'm learning them at the same time.
Rasputin wrote:
Fri Jun 16, 2017 4:20 pm
SunnyDee wrote:
Fri Jun 16, 2017 3:58 pm
SECOND:
How far ahead should I read while learning? Should I focus on each note as I learn to solidify the hand/eye coordination or read in patterns/shapes right away?
My approach is to try to read as far ahead as I can in sight-reading practice, and be on the lookout for patterns all the time. If I'm actually called on do so some sight-reading, say in a lesson, I will just do whatever comes naturally. My thinking is that if the skills are there I can trust the gubbinry in my skull to use them to the appropriate extent, at least if it's given half a chance to figure out what that is - whereas if I haven't consciously worked on these things in sight-reading practice they won't be there in the first place.
See, I think the goal is different with this practice, but I'm not sure, that's why I'm asking. My goal right now is not to be able to play what's on the score. It's to build the automatic connection between what's on the score and my fingers. I think it's the same reason that people practice sight reading with little random unknown pieces. Because if you know the piece, you ignore the score. If I play the pattern, I ignore the score, which seems like it won't help build that connection. I'm not at the stage, yet, where the score is just a suggestion for my own playing and fingering. Well, it is, but that's not helping me read. Does that make sense?

Thanks for the suggestions. Good points.
"Militantly left-handed."

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Rasputin
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Re: Self-taught sight-reading

Post by Rasputin » Fri Jun 16, 2017 5:25 pm

SunnyDee wrote:
Fri Jun 16, 2017 3:58 pm
SECOND:
How far ahead should I read while learning? Should I focus on each note as I learn to solidify the hand/eye coordination or read in patterns/shapes right away?
Rasputin wrote:My approach is to try to read as far ahead as I can in sight-reading practice, and be on the lookout for patterns all the time...
SunnyDee wrote:See, I think the goal is different with this practice, but I'm not sure, that's why I'm asking. My goal right now is not to be able to play what's on the score. It's to build the automatic connection between what's on the score and my fingers. I think it's the same reason that people practice sight reading with little random unknown pieces. Because if you know the piece, you ignore the score. If I play the pattern, I ignore the score, which seems like it won't help build that connection. I'm not at the stage, yet, where the score is just a suggestion for my own playing and fingering. Well, it is, but that's not helping me read. Does that make sense?
Yeah, makes perfect sense. If you work on seeing patterns that are going to take you into autopilot then you will be working that bit less on linking a note to a fret position, and it may take a bit longer to reach your current goal. Still, I suspect it would only be a tiny bit longer, and that you would get to the longer-term goal of playing what is on the score quite a lot faster. I am not great at autopilot because I hate practising the same thing over and over. I do know some scales and arps by muscle memory, but when I mentioned patterns I was thinking more of taking in 3 notes as "up E7 from the third". This is faster than "G# then B then D" and sticks better, which allows you to look further ahead. I would still have to find those notes on the fretboard so am not losing that element of practice.

Long term, I think it is better to link the note to a sound and the sound to a fret (there's some famous Sor quote along those lines) but linking the note to the fret is still a good place to start.

Francisco
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Re: Self-taught sight-reading

Post by Francisco » Fri Jun 16, 2017 5:32 pm

Search for this:
Sight Reading for the Classical Guitar, Level I-III: Daily Sight Reading Material with Emphasis on Interpretation, Phrasing, Form, and More
by Robert Benedict
(there are also Levels 4-5)

It is pretty boring, but if you manage to stand at least 5 minutes of these daily exercises for a few weeks, it should help.
Yamaha GC42S

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SunnyDee
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Re: Self-taught sight-reading

Post by SunnyDee » Fri Jun 16, 2017 6:54 pm

Francisco wrote:
Fri Jun 16, 2017 5:32 pm
Search for this:
Sight Reading for the Classical Guitar, Level I-III: Daily Sight Reading Material with Emphasis on Interpretation, Phrasing, Form, and More
by Robert Benedict
(there are also Levels 4-5)
Thanks, Francisco, I'll look for that.
Rasputin wrote:
Fri Jun 16, 2017 5:25 pm
Yeah, makes perfect sense. If you work on seeing patterns that are going to take you into autopilot then you will be working that bit less on linking a note to a fret position, and it may take a bit longer to reach your current goal. Still, I suspect it would only be a tiny bit longer, and that you would get to the longer-term goal of playing what is on the score quite a lot faster. I am not great at autopilot because I hate practising the same thing over and over. I do know some scales and arps by muscle memory, but when I mentioned patterns I was thinking more of taking in 3 notes as "up E7 from the third". This is faster than "G# then B then D" and sticks better, which allows you to look further ahead. I would still have to find those notes on the fretboard so am not losing that element of practice.

Long term, I think it is better to link the note to a sound and the sound to a fret (there's some famous Sor quote along those lines) but linking the note to the fret is still a good place to start.
I'm sure that long term linking the note to the sound is best, too, but that's a long way off for me. I don't have a musical background to draw from.

As for the patterns, yes, that's what I mean, too. We are seeing intervals, not note names. It's relatively easy for me to know where a measure starts on the fretboard then play short passages in intervals from there. But I'm trying to make this connection with the notes in isolation, because I think it will be faster ultimately, to jump between passages... maybe... I think.... so I'm actually not naming the notes at all. Rather, I'm trying to see the note on the staff directly as a symbol and go straight to the fret for it.

Obviously, on guitar, with the repetition of notes, this isn't going to work very well all over the fretboard, but it's what I'm going for now and it's another reason to glance at the parallel tab in Musescore... maybe... I think. :)

Again, suggestions are very welcome.
"Militantly left-handed."

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Re: Self-taught sight-reading

Post by Denian Arcoleo » Fri Jun 16, 2017 6:59 pm

The most effective way to learn to sight read is to read music (on the instrument of course) every single day. Start with simple music and make sure you're aware of the pulse and playing the correct (as notated) rhythms. Gradually work your way towards more and more complex music. If you do this every day you will be a great sight reader after a few years.

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Re: Self-taught sight-reading

Post by AndreiKrylov » Fri Jun 16, 2017 7:23 pm

SunnyDee wrote:
Fri Jun 16, 2017 3:58 pm
I'm a confident self-learner/teacher. I always say I can't afford a teacher better than I am. But I would like a few suggestions exactly how to go about learning some fundamental "sight-reading".

I say "sight-reading" but I don't ever intend to have to read in public on the fly or to read really complex classical pieces. Rather I want to be able to quickly pick out a melody line or read a tab without slowly figuring it out. I'm also not overly concerned with being able to "hear" a piece as I read without playing, although, that's a by-product of practice for sure.

I understand HOW to read, meaning I can read, given time, because I do know the staff and all that. I also know the fretboard.

My request is just for suggestions about best practices in how to match up what I see with my fingers. So far, I'm creating little exercises that show both tab and staff in Musescore. (I'm much more focused on the staff, but I figure might as well see tabs, too.) I've learned the open strings well, so I can play those in randomly generated staff. Now I want to know what next. So, two questions....

FIRST:
What's the best way to learn more notes? Again, I know the notes, but don't have a quick connection between seeing the note and touching the fretboard. I've begun learning the notes in C major on the first frets, but what do you think? Is there a better way?
I've got musescore staff/tab for each note between 1 and 12, but practicing that doesn't seem that useful for reading melody, etc. Thoughts?
Should I learn the chromatic scale? Learn by keys? Ideas?

SECOND:
How far ahead should I read while learning? Should I focus on each note as I learn to solidify the hand/eye coordination or read in patterns/shapes right away? It seems like that might make it so I can play in context (which I could already do to a degree) but not pick out unknown pieces so well. Suggestions?
1. Memorize fretboard
2. start to read music
3. start with more simple pieces
4. try to find scores to read of music which you are really like
5. be patient, do not expect immediate progress
6. challenge yourself to do something which seems overwhelming - after a while you would feel it easier
7. after some time you will find out that many chords, positions, passages etc. repeat itself or similar in works of different authors
8. expect to work not hours, not days, but years to move ahead, but after 1st-2nd year you will feel much more comfortable with reading
9. be prepared to learn new things and have progress all your life
I'd better speak by music...Please listen Andrei Krylov at Spotify, iTunes, Apple Music, Amazon Prime etc. Thanks!

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Re: Self-taught sight-reading

Post by ddray » Fri Jun 16, 2017 9:16 pm

Rasputin wrote:
Fri Jun 16, 2017 4:20 pm
I'm in a similar position - I do have a teacher but we don't discuss sight-reading much. Improving this skill is one of my little side-projects.
SunnyDee wrote:
Fri Jun 16, 2017 3:58 pm
My request is just for suggestions about best practices in how to match up what I see with my fingers. So far, I'm creating little exercises that show both tab and staff in Musescore. (I'm much more focused on the staff, but I figure might as well see tabs, too.)
But then you are not working on working out the fingering on the fly, which is part of the skill of sight-reading on the guitar IMHO.
That's also the most difficult thing I'm encountering in learning the guitar, and I don't have a teacher either. What I'm doing so far is working on the Sagreras lessons (available here) and also working slowly but steadily, measure by measure on fairly heavily-edited arrangements for guitar by expert players and try to learn a little by example. Those editions that specify string and fingers used are what I look for at the moment and as you said the Delcamp editions are great for that.

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Re: Self-taught sight-reading

Post by Erik Zurcher » Fri Jun 16, 2017 9:48 pm

Notation is not only about reading the right notes, but particularly about their duration.
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Re: Self-taught sight-reading

Post by SunnyDee » Fri Jun 16, 2017 9:57 pm

Erik Zurcher wrote:
Fri Jun 16, 2017 9:48 pm
Notation is not only about reading the right notes, but particularly about their duration.
True. Rhythm is relatively easy at this point, since I already understand how to read. I just don't have the connection between seeing it and putting my fingers on the guitar. Important point for true beginners.
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Re: Self-taught sight-reading

Post by SunnyDee » Fri Jun 16, 2017 10:06 pm

ddray wrote:
Fri Jun 16, 2017 9:16 pm
Rasputin wrote:
Fri Jun 16, 2017 4:20 pm
I'm in a similar position - I do have a teacher but we don't discuss sight-reading much. Improving this skill is one of my little side-projects.
SunnyDee wrote:
Fri Jun 16, 2017 3:58 pm
My request is just for suggestions about best practices in how to match up what I see with my fingers. So far, I'm creating little exercises that show both tab and staff in Musescore. (I'm much more focused on the staff, but I figure might as well see tabs, too.)
But then you are not working on working out the fingering on the fly, which is part of the skill of sight-reading on the guitar IMHO.
That's also the most difficult thing I'm encountering in learning the guitar, and I don't have a teacher either. What I'm doing so far is working on the Sagreras lessons (available here) and also working slowly but steadily, measure by measure on fairly heavily-edited arrangements for guitar by expert players and try to learn a little by example. Those editions that specify string and fingers used are what I look for at the moment and as you said the Delcamp editions are great for that.
Yes, I'm not sure what I will do about this. I don't really need/want fingerings. I know the fretboard so, once I know a new piece in one position, I don't think "transposing" the notes to a different position would be as much of an adjustment. Maybe. :) Btw, Musescore is also really great for this. It's very simple to select/click to move the tab numbers from one position to another while keeping the staff the same. Very nice feature.

I think for me it works better to see the structure of a piece right away, rather than measure by measure, but I'm not playing classical pieces that need to be exact. Do you think that looking at how to play something with the fingerings and strings and all will teach you to read it yourself? I'd suspect, for me, it might just teach me to play that piece or at least it might be much slower for me. Still not sure.
"Militantly left-handed."

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Re: Self-taught sight-reading

Post by SunnyDee » Fri Jun 16, 2017 10:10 pm

Denian Arcoleo wrote:
Fri Jun 16, 2017 6:59 pm
The most effective way to learn to sight read is to read music (on the instrument of course) every single day. Start with simple music and make sure you're aware of the pulse and playing the correct (as notated) rhythms. Gradually work your way towards more and more complex music. If you do this every day you will be a great sight reader after a few years.
You're right, of course, although I think that's a slightly later stage, when a player wants to develop speed and fluency but already knows which symbols on the staff go with which positions on the fretboard.
"Militantly left-handed."

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SunnyDee
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Re: Self-taught sight-reading

Post by SunnyDee » Fri Jun 16, 2017 10:20 pm

delete
Last edited by SunnyDee on Fri Jun 16, 2017 10:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.
"Militantly left-handed."

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First guitar was a vintage Russian 7-string classical.

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SunnyDee
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Re: Self-taught sight-reading

Post by SunnyDee » Fri Jun 16, 2017 10:20 pm

AndreiKrylov wrote:
Fri Jun 16, 2017 7:23 pm
1. Memorize fretboard
2. start to read music
3. start with more simple pieces
4. try to find scores to read of music which you are really like
5. be patient, do not expect immediate progress
6. challenge yourself to do something which seems overwhelming - after a while you would feel it easier
7. after some time you will find out that many chords, positions, passages etc. repeat itself or similar in works of different authors
8. expect to work not hours, not days, but years to move ahead, but after 1st-2nd year you will feel much more comfortable with reading
9. be prepared to learn new things and have progress all your life
Great ideas, thanks! I think it's number 2.5 that I'm asking about. In other words, if you know the fretboard and you can read the notes slowly, what's the most efficient way of connecting the symbols on the staff with the physical position on the guitar without thinking, "hm, that's a C, that's an E. The C is here on the fretboard, the E is there...." There should be some exercises or baby pieces even easier than the "simple pieces" that slowly build this connection, rather like first readers for children slowly build a connection between letters on the page and meaning of words, the vocabulary is graded very slowly, that's part of what I'm looking for.
Last edited by SunnyDee on Fri Jun 16, 2017 10:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.
"Militantly left-handed."

Lefty Acoustics

Martin 00-15M
Taylor 320e Baritone

First guitar was a vintage Russian 7-string classical.

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