Self-taught sight-reading

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BugDog
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Re: Self-taught sight-reading

Post by BugDog » Mon Jun 19, 2017 2:07 pm

A concept that I've been toying with lately is how non linear the learning process is, at least for guitar and music. You start somewhere taking certain things on faith until you got that down, then move to another and another until you're examining those things that you took on faith. Then reexamining the stuff you previously learned in light of new information and concepts. Learning how all those thing are connected together.

It's more of a spiral approach and the spiral goes on forever. Although there are probably good and bad places to start, essentially you could start anywhere as long you eventually cover the territory. If you do it well enough you'll probably wind up accomplishing the things on Andrei's list.
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SunnyDee
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Re: Self-taught sight-reading

Post by SunnyDee » Mon Jun 19, 2017 5:32 pm

BugDog wrote:
Mon Jun 19, 2017 2:07 pm
A concept that I've been toying with lately is how non linear the learning process is, at least for guitar and music. You start somewhere taking certain things on faith until you got that down, then move to another and another until you're examining those things that you took on faith. Then reexamining the stuff you previously learned in light of new information and concepts. Learning how all those thing are connected together.

It's more of a spiral approach and the spiral goes on forever. Although there are probably good and bad places to start, essentially you could start anywhere as long you eventually cover the territory. If you do it well enough you'll probably wind up accomplishing the things on Andrei's list.
Recursive is the word that comes to mind for me. I've found that to be so, for me, especially because music is built of interconnecting patterns. I find something new and then realize it's just another view of the same pattern. The first year this happened constantly, nearly everyday I'd learn new bits, and then realize I could've known that earlier if I'd just fully grasped it the first time I encountered it. It's slowed down now as I'm finally getting all the basics down. Thank goodness.
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Francisco
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Re: Self-taught sight-reading

Post by Francisco » Mon Jun 19, 2017 8:21 pm

I find that once a piece is memorized, one tends to play it always without looking at the score. It makes sense because you can play better that way. But for purposes of sight reading training or reinforcement, I think it makes sense (now and then) to play those pieces as if you didn't already know them, forcing yourself to actually read the notes you are playing, even though you know them. I believe this should in theory speed up or at least reinforce the automatization process of going from notes on the staff to notes on the fretboard, because the fact that you already know the piece, means there won't be any hesitation gaps. However, the work of learning by reading new pieces, or pieces one has not yet memorized, remains the most essential. Because when you read what you already know well, it is very easy for your eyes to kind of "slur" through the notes without actually looking at each one of them. I sometimes play Carcassi's Op 60 No 1 as part of the warmup, and I often try to make it a point to look at the notes as I play them. But I almost always find that my eyes get lazy and they will easily skip some notes here and there, even though my fingers play them.
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SunnyDee
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Re: Self-taught sight-reading

Post by SunnyDee » Tue Jun 20, 2017 2:11 pm

Francisco wrote:
Mon Jun 19, 2017 8:21 pm
I find that once a piece is memorized, one tends to play it always without looking at the score. It makes sense because you can play better that way. But for purposes of sight reading training or reinforcement, I think it makes sense (now and then) to play those pieces as if you didn't already know them, forcing yourself to actually read the notes you are playing, even though you know them. I believe this should in theory speed up or at least reinforce the automatization process of going from notes on the staff to notes on the fretboard, because the fact that you already know the piece, means there won't be any hesitation gaps. However, the work of learning by reading new pieces, or pieces one has not yet memorized, remains the most essential. Because when you read what you already know well, it is very easy for your eyes to kind of "slur" through the notes without actually looking at each one of them. I sometimes play Carcassi's Op 60 No 1 as part of the warmup, and I often try to make it a point to look at the notes as I play them. But I almost always find that my eyes get lazy and they will easily skip some notes here and there, even though my fingers play them.
I teach proofreading and students have essentially the same problem proofreading what they've written. I have them put the text in a different font, a monospaced one works best, and this stimulates the conscious mind to pay attention to the details again. Changing the colors of the notes is the same trick for this. Only as an exercise, of course, but it works well. :)
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AndreiKrylov
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Re: Self-taught sight-reading

Post by AndreiKrylov » Tue Jun 20, 2017 6:54 pm

Francisco wrote:
Mon Jun 19, 2017 8:21 pm
I find that once a piece is memorized, one tends to play it always without looking at the score. It makes sense because you can play better that way. But for purposes of sight reading training or reinforcement, I think it makes sense (now and then) to play those pieces as if you didn't already know them, forcing yourself to actually read the notes you are playing, even though you know them. I believe this should in theory speed up or at least reinforce the automatization process of going from notes on the staff to notes on the fretboard, because the fact that you already know the piece, means there won't be any hesitation gaps. However, the work of learning by reading new pieces, or pieces one has not yet memorized, remains the most essential. Because when you read what you already know well, it is very easy for your eyes to kind of "slur" through the notes without actually looking at each one of them. I sometimes play Carcassi's Op 60 No 1 as part of the warmup, and I often try to make it a point to look at the notes as I play them. But I almost always find that my eyes get lazy and they will easily skip some notes here and there, even though my fingers play them.
Yes, to read more one need to read more... :)
But - I am not sure what is the goal of OP in this topic - to read or to learn certain pieces?
If reading of standard notation feels like something artificial and has to be make easier with the help of different colors and computers etc. - maybe reading is not necessary?
Maybe tabs would be just fine?- as tabs fine for those who like to learn certain piece by heart and perform it?
For me reading is a pleasure - it gives me access to almost unlimited amount of music and make it possible to personally experience it - and then I can feel certain music in a different way, very often not like it was presented to me by certain performer...it is a great experience for me to read music ... same as to read books...
Good luck with your music reading everybody! :)
I'd better speak by music...Please listen it on Spotify, Apple Music, Deezer, etc. Thanks!

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Re: Self-taught sight-reading

Post by SunnyDee » Wed Jun 21, 2017 4:33 am

AndreiKrylov wrote:
Tue Jun 20, 2017 6:54 pm


Yes, to read more one need to read more... :)
But - I am not sure what is the goal of OP in this topic - to read or to learn certain pieces?
If reading of standard notation feels like something artificial and has to be make easier with the help of different colors and computers etc. - maybe reading is not necessary?
Maybe tabs would be just fine?- as tabs fine for those who like to learn certain piece by heart and perform it?
For me reading is a pleasure - it gives me access to almost unlimited amount of music and make it possible to personally experience it - and then I can feel certain music in a different way, very often not like it was presented to me by certain performer...it is a great experience for me to read music ... same as to read books...
Good luck with your music reading everybody! :)
The goal is to read, for exactly that reason, it gives me access to more music. I'm using the colors and computers and such as learning tools, because I don't yet have a connection between seeing the notes and playing them. Possibly, you've played so long and so well that you never had this experience as an adult, but I've only just learned the fretboard and only started playing guitar a year ago. I don't know how you would teach a little child to read, but I don't think you'd just hand them a stack of scores and say go read more. Once I learn it, I expect it to be a pleasure, too. That's the point of learning.

I am learning to sight read tabs because they also give me access to music, but I don't like them much.

I'm not learning certain pieces this way at all.
"Militantly left-handed."

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AndreiKrylov
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Re: Self-taught sight-reading

Post by AndreiKrylov » Wed Jun 21, 2017 6:37 pm

SunnyDee wrote:
Wed Jun 21, 2017 4:33 am
AndreiKrylov wrote:
Tue Jun 20, 2017 6:54 pm


Yes, to read more one need to read more... :)
But - I am not sure what is the goal of OP in this topic - to read or to learn certain pieces?
If reading of standard notation feels like something artificial and has to be make easier with the help of different colors and computers etc. - maybe reading is not necessary?
Maybe tabs would be just fine?- as tabs fine for those who like to learn certain piece by heart and perform it?
For me reading is a pleasure - it gives me access to almost unlimited amount of music and make it possible to personally experience it - and then I can feel certain music in a different way, very often not like it was presented to me by certain performer...it is a great experience for me to read music ... same as to read books...
Good luck with your music reading everybody! :)
The goal is to read, for exactly that reason, it gives me access to more music. I'm using the colors and computers and such as learning tools, because I don't yet have a connection between seeing the notes and playing them. Possibly, you've played so long and so well that you never had this experience as an adult, but I've only just learned the fretboard and only started playing guitar a year ago. I don't know how you would teach a little child to read, but I don't think you'd just hand them a stack of scores and say go read more. Once I learn it, I expect it to be a pleasure, too. That's the point of learning.

I am learning to sight read tabs because they also give me access to music, but I don't like them much.

I'm not learning certain pieces this way at all.
Yes, people may go by different ways to achieve the same goal...
and it is normal part of learning - to take a look on table of notes on fretboard or computer screen with colors for that.
When I was learning it I just force myself to use table less and less and to rely on my memory and knowledge of notes more and more...
As less as possible. It seems me that if I would use more of such "help" than my learning (notes on fretboard) will go on forever.
Good luck!
I'd better speak by music...Please listen it on Spotify, Apple Music, Deezer, etc. Thanks!

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SunnyDee
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Re: Self-taught sight-reading

Post by SunnyDee » Wed Jun 21, 2017 7:00 pm

AndreiKrylov wrote:
Wed Jun 21, 2017 6:37 pm

Yes, people may go by different ways to achieve the same goal...
and it is normal part of learning - to take a look on table of notes on fretboard or computer screen with colors for that.
When I was learning it I just force myself to use table less and less and to rely on my memory and knowledge of notes more and more...
As less as possible. It seems me that if I would use more of such "help" than my learning (notes on fretboard) will go on forever.
Good luck!
The help is only for learning them at first. Once I've spent a day with the colored note, I put it back to black, and practice it that way. Then add new notes. I'm not looking at anything to find them on the fretboard. I spent a couple months with charts, etc., but I know those now. It's really only taking a few months.
"Militantly left-handed."

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Lawler
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Re: Self-taught sight-reading

Post by Lawler » Wed Jun 21, 2017 8:25 pm

Interesting discussion. Good posts, lagartija!

Staff notation represents the sound of the music - pitch and rhythm. Fingerings are a helpful add-on for the player re mechanics.

For any who feel like the pieces you play are so technically challenging that you're separated from the expression in the music... sing the lines you play. That draws you in. You'll have no idea what I'm talking about until you do it. 8) Sing note names if you can (letter names or solfege) but that's less important than just singing the lines. When you get the music in your mind's ear... in your head... it changes everything. In a good way.

Steve Langham
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Re: Self-taught sight-reading

Post by Steve Langham » Thu Jun 22, 2017 11:50 pm

I was hoping for some thoughts/suggestions on something I'm wrestling with my sight reading practice...
I've done some regular sight reading practice before but I've lapsed and I'm trying to now do 10 mins per day every day and just see how I go with this. I'm working on my grade 5 exam and I did grades 4 and 3 previously but my sight reading was always the weak link and so I'm trying to make an effort to improve.
I've got both the Robert Benedict books which I like and I've been using them for my practice.
My question is around the fact that when I sight read even basic stuff in these books at the early levels, I will commonly hit duff notes, this might be either right hand or left hand. For example, in my head i see on the staff I need to hit a A note on the 3rd string (2nd fret) but i might end up hitting the E note on the 4th string 2nd fret instead. Or I'll have my left finger down at the right place but my right hand will hit the adjacent (incorrect) string when I think I'm hitting the correct one.
I generally know all the notes on the staff and I know where these notes are on the fretboard, it's almost that I lose track of where I am on the fretboard and end up hitting the wrong string with my left or right hand.
I'm not sure if you have any thoughts on improving this?
Also, in approaching sight reading, how should you progress with the pieces you are practicing with? ie, should you stick with simple single lines or basic two voice pieces until you can nail these every time before moving on or just try lots of different pieces at different levels even though you'll make mistakes? On the Benedict books for example, I'm not sure whether I should stick on the lower levels for a lot longer before moving forward on to the Levels 3 and upwards?
Any thoughts would be appreciated.
Thanks

Rasputin
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Re: Self-taught sight-reading

Post by Rasputin » Fri Jun 23, 2017 12:45 pm

What happens if you take a piece you know well and try to play it with your eyes closed?

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Re: Self-taught sight-reading

Post by Steve Langham » Sat Jun 24, 2017 3:37 am

Rasputin wrote:
Fri Jun 23, 2017 12:45 pm
What happens if you take a piece you know well and try to play it with your eyes closed?
Well I don't play it as well. My left hand accuracy drops off. I'm not surprised by this. Of the pieces I know, I have memorized them all and I look at the fretboard 99% of the time when I play.

I would assume most beginner/intermediates do the same?

I look on in envy when I see players staring into the distance whilst playing!

You think working on this might help overall? How would I start to incorporate it into my playing?

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Re: Self-taught sight-reading

Post by Rasputin » Sat Jun 24, 2017 4:03 am

Well it's probably worth a try, especially if there are no other suggestions. You say you're in the habit of looking at the fretboard pretty much all the time, and that when you do sight-reading it's as if you lose track of where your hand is. It makes sense if those things are connected. If it was me, I'd practise playing from memory while looking out of the window or whatever. Then I would do sight-reading very slowly and deliberately and look as little as possible.

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Update on learning process

Post by SunnyDee » Sat Jun 24, 2017 12:45 pm

Just a little update on my learning process since we were talking about how we learn sight reading. This week, I notice that now I am picturing the notes in my mind, for the ones I've learned. I mean, if there is no score, I can imagine or play those notes, and instantly picture/imagine them on the staff, so that's progress. :)
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Todd Tipton
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Re: Self-taught sight-reading

Post by Todd Tipton » Thu Jun 29, 2017 8:17 pm

Hello,

There are a few things most of my students do concerning sight reading. I do recommend the Robert Benedict books others have mentioned. I also recommend through something new as often as possible. For example, the Bridges Royal Conservatory Books are great for a few reasons. First, they offer a wealth of graded repertoire. Playing through this material not only helps the sight reading, but also exposes you to lots of potentially new repertoire. I would also recommend playing through all of the standard studied and etudes by Sor, Giuliani, Carulli, etc.

As a classical guitarist, I find the Sagreras books to be most useful. I don't expect my students to spend a lot of time in these books, but I think regular work significantly improves the reading. I have my students play through this material in a special way starting from the beginning (or at least starting from lesson 38 in book one). Then follow the guidelines below:

1. Choose 2 to 4 adjacent pieces, and place a bookmark there to mark where you are.
2. Play no piece more than 2 times on the same day.
3. Follow all left and right hand fingerings exactly.
4. Continue this process for as many days as it takes until it can be performed correctly from the first attempt of the day.
5. Once a piece can be performed well on the first attempt, and for three days in a row; then you are finished with the piece.
6. Continue to focus on the remaining pieces and / or add another piece to your Sagreras regimen.

There are a few things to keep in mind. The 2 to 4 pieces you choose will not remain adjacent. For example, suppose you are working on lessons 55, 56, and 57. For some reason, lesson 56 continues to be difficult even though you have moved on to lessons 59, and 60. This is perfectly fine. Secondly, if you truly follow the guidelines above, you won't spend a lot of time working on Sagreras. Also, many fine players have been humbled well before finishing book one; don't be afraid to start at the beginning.

Happy practicing! :D
Dr. Todd Tipton, classical guitarist
Cincinnati, OH, USA (available via Skype)
http://www.toddtipton.com

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