Self-taught sight-reading

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ddray
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Re: Self-taught sight-reading

Post by ddray » Sat Jun 17, 2017 6:24 pm

SteveL123 wrote:
Sat Jun 17, 2017 5:00 pm
AndreiKrylov wrote:
Sat Jun 17, 2017 3:09 pm
..............
most efficient way is - doing it...
and it will take time, effort, and patience... :)
I have made many attempts to learn to sight read by "doing it" but never make any progress. I get a real bad headache while doing it! I can hear a melody (if not too fast or complex) and play it back immediately on the guitar but I can't sight read and play it in tempo to save my life! My headache comes from the many steps I have to go through from a single note on the staff (never mind a chord!)... to the fingerboard.

The only staff notes I know well are C3 and B3 (middle staff line) and they are my reference. I have to use those 2 notes to count up or down alphabetically in my head to come up with a note letter name, then find the note on the fret board. This is too many steps to be efficient or fast to play in tempo. So I rely on my ears to memorize the sound of the notes once I've read them in non-real time. Maybe I have a mental block of some sort.

Any advice appreciated.
I think the only thing we can do, once we have the knowledge of what notes are represented where on the staff, is just patient and constant practice. I know that was the case with the piano, you just keep it up until it becomes instinctive in a way. One thing that befuddles me is how some people prefer tabs. I think they're harder to read than standard notation.

SteveL123
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Re: Self-taught sight-reading

Post by SteveL123 » Sat Jun 17, 2017 6:25 pm

I know the various acronyms but they are part of the problem. It adds an (unnecessary step IMO) from staff to finger board. We humans are more visual/ sound based rather than text based. At least I am. I think what I'd like to have as a sight reading learning/practice tool is computer based that works like this:

As a note on the staff comes up on the screen, it flashes an image of the finger board with the note marked with a big white dot as well as play the note, I place my finger on the finger board based on the image. This is as close to from staff to fingerboard as you can get and eliminates the letters and acronyms altogether, which has been my hangup all these years.

Does something like this exist?

Rasputin
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Re: Self-taught sight-reading

Post by Rasputin » Sat Jun 17, 2017 6:53 pm

Well, the iOS app Guitar at Sight is not a million miles from that - in practice mode you touch the virtual fretboard and you get the dot with the note name and a staff showing that same note. In test mode it shows you the staff and you have to find the note.

Personally I wouldn't have filed recognition of notes under sight-reading because it is necessary for any kind of reading - but actually quite a few of the issues in this thread have had to do with identifying the notes on the staff rather than (or at least, as a preliminary step to) finding them instantly on the fretboard and figuring out which finger to put down.

Forgive me but despite what you've said above I can't help thinking that with regular practice recognising the notes would become second nature. I think you may be overcomplicating things.

Francisco
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Re: Self-taught sight-reading

Post by Francisco » Sat Jun 17, 2017 7:54 pm

To drive the point again that Rasputin and others have made in different ways, there really is no magic way to read and find the notes quickly on the guitar, other than doing it over and over with different pieces of music. If what you are after is a more methodic approach that allows you to isolate and practice different aspects of the sight reading skills, the exercise book I mentioned before will be very useful if you do some exercises every day. If you look for "Sight Reading for the Classical Guitar" in the big site named after mythical female warriors, you will be offered the chance to look inside the book to determine if that’s what you may be looking for. If you sign in, you can view more pages than if you don’t.
However it is you do it, the skill won’t develop overnight. Identifying and finding the notes can be learned relatively quickly, at least in the first position. But doing that while following the rhythmic information correctly is a quite different matter. Discipline and patience are the only tools.
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BugDog
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Re: Self-taught sight-reading

Post by BugDog » Sat Jun 17, 2017 8:01 pm

Rasputin wrote:
Sat Jun 17, 2017 6:03 pm
Actually it's the spaces that had the acronym: FACE.
This also becomes useful for the ledger lines above the staff. The top line of the staff is F. The next 3 ledger lines are A,C, and E. For ledger line below the staff it also works but you got to spell it backwards. The bottom line of the staff is E. The next 3 ledger lines down are C, A, and F.
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SteveL123
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Re: Self-taught sight-reading

Post by SteveL123 » Sat Jun 17, 2017 8:39 pm

Francisco wrote:
Sat Jun 17, 2017 7:54 pm
To drive the point again that Rasputin and others have made in different ways, there really is no magic way to read and find the notes quickly on the guitar, other than doing it over and over with different pieces of music. If what you are after is a more methodic approach that allows you to isolate and practice different aspects of the sight reading skills, the exercise book I mentioned before will be very useful if you do some exercises every day. If you look for "Sight Reading for the Classical Guitar" in the big site named after mythical female warriors, you will be offered the chance to look inside the book to determine if that’s what you may be looking for. If you sign in, you can view more pages than if you don’t.
However it is you do it, the skill won’t develop overnight. Identifying and finding the notes can be learned relatively quickly, at least in the first position. But doing that while following the rhythmic information correctly is a quite different matter. Discipline and patience are the only tools.
Thanks! Just ordered a copy from Barnes and Nobles. Let's see if it helps.

ddray
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Re: Self-taught sight-reading

Post by ddray » Sat Jun 17, 2017 8:56 pm

Bradford Werner on his YT channel makes an interesting point in saying that doing things like practicing true triadic arpeggios may help in becoming more familiar with the fretboard as well. True triadic arpeggios meaning e.g. for A minor, A-C-E-A-C-E up and down the fretboard and not just strumming the usual A minor chord. Check out his video on the subject.

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SunnyDee
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Re: Self-taught sight-reading

Post by SunnyDee » Sat Jun 17, 2017 9:40 pm

The discussion above is a good example of how people are at different stages of learning. If you don't know where the notes are on the fretboard and don't know what the notes are on the staff, you certainly need to back up and learn those things. I'm sure it's possible to learn all of it at once, but I'm not in that situation. Bugdog's analogy with typing is what you should go for if you know those things already. You wouldn't teach someone to type before they could read words, right?

I found the book Bugdog recommended on Scribd for free and it starts exactly the way I had figured out myself, with exercises to learn the notes that are represented by open strings (in standard tuning, of course). Exercises for simple notation that are created to slowly add notes as you play and revise old notes is the way to build that connection between seeing notes and playing strings without translating note names. By myself I was having trouble deciding what sequence the notes should be learned after the open ones, so the book is a big help. Again, I also recommend Musescore if you want to create little exercises for yourself. If you like, you can even make notes different colors while you learn. :)

Image

Img: Me adding a new note to ones I already learned with Musescore. (Just to be clear, I already knew how to play this chord and what these notes are. This is to build a reflex when I see that pink note, move my finger automatically to that spot to play. Notice the open 5th string in there to help me relate the new note to the one my eyes and fingers already know on that string.)

The book Francisco recommended has 20 pages on Scribd also but it starts assuming more knowledge than the other one.

I don't know about others, but I wasn't looking for a magic or quick way, just a systematic one. I took a couple months to learn the fretboard and that was fine. Now, I will take a few months to learn to read and play notes from notation. (Rhythm isn't an issue, and I don't plan to play very advanced pieces - I'm a songwriter.) So I'm happy.
Last edited by SunnyDee on Sat Jun 17, 2017 10:40 pm, edited 11 times in total.
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Re: Self-taught sight-reading

Post by SunnyDee » Sat Jun 17, 2017 9:46 pm

BugDog wrote:
Sat Jun 17, 2017 2:15 pm

Interesting that you've been learning the notes as solfege syllables. I'm sort of going back and supplementing what I know using solfege. Both for learning the intervals and as part of ear training.
Solfege is a miracle for me. It's so much easier in so many ways. One of the best things is that I can easily remember and use intervals with it. For example, in the major scale, there are three major thirds, do mi, fa la, and so ti. I know what a major third looks like on the fretboard, so now I can make a major third in any major key and know where I am in the scale easily. There are only four minor thirds la do, mi so, ti re, and re fa. With just those few syllable pairs and knowledge of how to make them on the fretboard (a few simple shapes), I can stack thirds to make chords on the fly. Hard to describe in a quick post, but a game changer for me as far as knowledge of fretboard, chord structures, improvisation.... I even "invented" solfege names to help me remember enharmonics which were always confusing me before with their double names. The syllables are serving as mnemonics, basically, but really useful ones.
Last edited by SunnyDee on Sun Jun 18, 2017 12:04 am, edited 1 time in total.
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SunnyDee
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Re: Self-taught sight-reading

Post by SunnyDee » Sat Jun 17, 2017 9:59 pm

SteveL123 wrote:
Sat Jun 17, 2017 5:00 pm

The only staff notes I know well are C3 and B3 (middle staff line) and they are my reference. I have to use those 2 notes to count up or down alphabetically in my head to come up with a note letter name, then find the note on the fret board. This is too many steps to be efficient or fast to play in tempo. So I rely on my ears to memorize the sound of the notes once I've read them in non-real time. Maybe I have a mental block of some sort.

Any advice appreciated.
At the very least, skip the naming stage. If you know where the B3 is, don't count alphabetically, etc, just see the interval to the next note as a third or a fifth or whatever and play that interval on the guitar. Doesn't matter what the name of the note is.

If you can't play any interval from any note on the fretboard, without knowing the names, then learn that first. It's much faster and will serve you well.
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quavers
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Re: Self-taught sight-reading

Post by quavers » Sun Jun 18, 2017 2:30 pm

Buy or make up some musical notation flash cards. Shuffle through them every day. It works.

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AndreiKrylov
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Re: Self-taught sight-reading

Post by AndreiKrylov » Sun Jun 18, 2017 10:42 pm

SteveL123 wrote:
Sat Jun 17, 2017 6:25 pm
I know the various acronyms but they are part of the problem. It adds an (unnecessary step IMO) from staff to finger board. We humans are more visual/ sound based rather than text based. At least I am. I think what I'd like to have as a sight reading learning/practice tool is computer based that works like this:

As a note on the staff comes up on the screen, it flashes an image of the finger board with the note marked with a big white dot as well as play the note, I place my finger on the finger board based on the image. This is as close to from staff to fingerboard as you can get and eliminates the letters and acronyms altogether, which has been my hangup all these years.

Does something like this exist?
It could exist but it would not help with real reading, it would help to learn certain piece by heart, not to read in general.
Yes ... it could be difficult to learn, but only effort, time and patience will help.
Headache could be unfortunate part of it...
Did you go through other steps I mentioned?
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

Start from simple things.

Good luck!
I'd better speak by music...Please listen Andrei Krylov at Spotify, iTunes, Apple Music, Amazon Prime etc. Thanks!

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lagartija
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Re: Self-taught sight-reading

Post by lagartija » Sun Jun 18, 2017 10:48 pm

All the teachers I have had recommended that I say the note name out loud as I played. This reinforces the name, position on the fretboard, sound and position on the staff.
I didn't believe them at first, and wanted to skip the naming step, thinking that it would be faster to look at the staff and just play. What happened was that I became position dependent and if I could not remember the position, visually, I would lose my place in the piece.
So I started to play melody lines and bass lines (and at times accompaniment lines) separately from my repertoire pieces, all while saying the note names out loud. (I tried solfege but did not grow up with that as they seem to in Europe and that was not successful.)
By golly saying the note names out loud worked! My sight reading is getting better faster than it was before. Maybe those teachers know something.... ;-)
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SunnyDee
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Re: Self-taught sight-reading

Post by SunnyDee » Mon Jun 19, 2017 9:09 am

lagartija wrote:
Sun Jun 18, 2017 10:48 pm
All the teachers I have had recommended that I say the note name out loud as I played. This reinforces the name, position on the fretboard, sound and position on the staff.
I didn't believe them at first, and wanted to skip the naming step, thinking that it would be faster to look at the staff and just play. What happened was that I became position dependent and if I could not remember the position, visually, I would lose my place in the piece.
So I started to play melody lines and bass lines (and at times accompaniment lines) separately from my repertoire pieces, all while saying the note names out loud. (I tried solfege but did not grow up with that as they seem to in Europe and that was not successful.)
By golly saying the note names out loud worked! My sight reading is getting better faster than it was before. Maybe those teachers know something.... ;-)
Everyone is different... keep trying different things until you find what works for you.
Very interesting observation. When I am improvising as an exercise for consolidating knowledge of fretboard, I do sing solfege syllables (same as naming the notes if I match the solfege to the actual notes on the fretboard) because I can lose my place otherwise. But in reading, it seems to me, that you would only want to do that in the very first stages of learning notes, not as you progress, because it adds a translation step and keeps you focused on one note at a time instead of reading phrases ahead which needs to be done by shape. I do it on making a new staff note to fret note connection, but not after.

Some other people here are describing getting faster at translation, which you may be alluding to. I suspect, as with learning a language (which is so very similar to learning music), that we actually want to skip translating if possible. Interesting. And, you're so right, everyone learns differently. I train language teachers and I always tell them, "Everything works sometimes," so we might as well try everything.
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lagartija
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Re: Self-taught sight-reading

Post by lagartija » Mon Jun 19, 2017 11:33 am

When separating the lines and saying the note names, this is done relatively slowly, deliberately and yes, there would be a step in between just playing the notes directly from staff to fretboard. However, when the piece is played normally, that work that was done on each line underpins the memory of the sound and position of the particular note to be played without translation .
So this exercise helps with position of a particular note in a piece and with the various positions of the same note in other places on the fretboard.
I forgot to mention that I am singing the note names as I play them, so they become part of the memory of the piece along with the count.
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