2022 our 25th year online!

Welcome to the Piano World Piano Forums
Over 3 million posts about pianos, digital pianos, and all types of keyboard instruments.
Over 100,000 members from around the world.
Join the World's Largest Community of Piano Lovers (it's free)
It's Fun to Play the Piano ... Please Pass It On!

Shop our online store for music lovers
SEARCH
Piano Forums & Piano World
(ad)
Pianoteq
Steinway Spiro Layering
(ad)
Piano Life Saver - Dampp Chaser
Dampp Chaser Piano Life Saver
(ad)
Wessell Nickel & Gross
PianoForAll
Who's Online Now
55 members (DFx, anotherscott, axomas, David B, bwv543, Dfrankjazz, DaveCSparty, 8 invisible), 2,687 guests, and 283 robots.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
(ad)
Estonia Pianos
Estonia Pianos
Previous Thread
Next Thread
Print Thread
Hop To
Page 3 of 3 1 2 3
Joined: May 2015
Posts: 10,876
Gold Subscriber
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
Offline
Gold Subscriber
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
Joined: May 2015
Posts: 10,876
Originally Posted by trigalg693
Originally Posted by pianoloverus
And that pianist undoubtedly has heard that piece many times which means it would be easier to sight read than a piece she had never heard.

I think it's fair to say if you've heard the piece enough that you know how all the notes sound (even without perfect pitch or music theory knowledge), you're not really sight reading anymore, because at the minimum you have a sense for the rhythm and approximately where your hands have to be. What I noticed is that even mediocre amateur string players have a very strong ability to get weird syncopated rhythm correct while sight reading, while pianists have less of that ability for the equivalent skill level.

If I don't even know how something sounds, the sheet music can be extremely simple but I find I often can't play it. If I've heard it once, then it immediately becomes far easier. That's just me though.

You are not alone in finding it easier to play music that you have heard at least once. That is good news snd also bad news. The bad news is that if you always grab a recording first, you are not developing the skill of playing music you have not heard. The only way to improve is to quit listening first. It will take time to catch up to develop the read without hearing first skill.


"Music, rich, full of feeling, not soulless, is like a crystal on which the sun falls and brings forth from it a whole rainbow" - F. Chopin
"I never dreamt with my own two hands I could touch the sky" - Sappho

It's ok to be a Work In Progress
Joined: Mar 2022
Posts: 624
500 Post Club Member
Offline
500 Post Club Member
Joined: Mar 2022
Posts: 624
Originally Posted by dogperson
Originally Posted by trigalg693
Originally Posted by pianoloverus
And that pianist undoubtedly has heard that piece many times which means it would be easier to sight read than a piece she had never heard.

I think it's fair to say if you've heard the piece enough that you know how all the notes sound (even without perfect pitch or music theory knowledge), you're not really sight reading anymore, because at the minimum you have a sense for the rhythm and approximately where your hands have to be. What I noticed is that even mediocre amateur string players have a very strong ability to get weird syncopated rhythm correct while sight reading, while pianists have less of that ability for the equivalent skill level.

If I don't even know how something sounds, the sheet music can be extremely simple but I find I often can't play it. If I've heard it once, then it immediately becomes far easier. That's just me though.

You are not alone in finding it easier to play music that you have heard at least once. That is good news snd also bad news. The bad news is that if you always grab a recording first, you are not developing the skill of playing music you have not heard. The only way to improve is to quit listening first. It will take time to catch up to develop the read without hearing first skill.
True 😃

Joined: Aug 2008
Posts: 1,310
T
1000 Post Club Member
Offline
1000 Post Club Member
T
Joined: Aug 2008
Posts: 1,310
My high school teacher taught me to always pick up recordings first, so that probably has something to do with it XD

Joined: May 2015
Posts: 10,876
Gold Subscriber
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
Offline
Gold Subscriber
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
Joined: May 2015
Posts: 10,876
Originally Posted by trigalg693
My high school teacher taught me to always pick up recordings first, so that probably has something to do with it XD

You think??? 😸


"Music, rich, full of feeling, not soulless, is like a crystal on which the sun falls and brings forth from it a whole rainbow" - F. Chopin
"I never dreamt with my own two hands I could touch the sky" - Sappho

It's ok to be a Work In Progress
Joined: Jul 2021
Posts: 44
L
Full Member
Offline
Full Member
L
Joined: Jul 2021
Posts: 44
Originally Posted by trigalg693
My high school teacher taught me to always pick up recordings first, so that probably has something to do with it XD
That is very bad advice. It would be like reading a book aloud (and everything else he is 'learning' to read) to a child before he is allowed to read the same book for himself.

When I give my students new pieces to learn, I put the music on the music rest and watch them sight-read it, and never play it for them. That way, I know what their reading abilities are (and problems, if any) at every stage of their learning.

Joined: May 2015
Posts: 10,876
Gold Subscriber
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
Offline
Gold Subscriber
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
Joined: May 2015
Posts: 10,876
Originally Posted by liliboulanger
Originally Posted by trigalg693
My high school teacher taught me to always pick up recordings first, so that probably has something to do with it XD
That is very bad advice. It would be like reading a book aloud (and everything else he is 'learning' to read) to a child before he is allowed to read the same book for himself.

When I give my students new pieces to learn, I put the music on the music rest and watch them sight-read it, and never play it for them. That way, I know what their reading abilities are (and problems, if any) at every stage of their learning.



thumb thumb

Joined: Jan 2017
Posts: 1,050
R
1000 Post Club Member
Offline
1000 Post Club Member
R
Joined: Jan 2017
Posts: 1,050
Originally Posted by liliboulanger
Originally Posted by trigalg693
My high school teacher taught me to always pick up recordings first, so that probably has something to do with it XD
That is very bad advice. It would be like reading a book aloud (and everything else he is 'learning' to read) to a child before he is allowed to read the same book for himself.

When I give my students new pieces to learn, I put the music on the music rest and watch them sight-read it, and never play it for them. That way, I know what their reading abilities are (and problems, if any) at every stage of their learning.
I disagree. Using the book analogy:

The reason you don't have to read a book aloud to a kid is because the kid already knows the language, for the most part. They already know the sentence construction, the phonetics etc. through mere exposure over thousands of hours. Reading therefore becomes the skill of translating text into what they already know (language).

However, most kids don't have thousands of hours of passive listening experience with classical music. They (well, most) haven't internalized harmonic rules and solfege like they have grammar and phonetics.

So, wouldn't the analogy be more similar to the following?
You want to teach kids to read a language like Romanian, which they don't know beforehand. What would your approach be? I would personally be making them consume as much content as they can in the target language first until they get a feel for it, maybe a few hundred hours in total. I wouldn't even bother teaching them to read before they can speak simple sentences fluently. Why don't we do the same with music? I think the answer is because we mistakenly assume the music itself is self-obvious. IMO

Last edited by ranjit; 05/28/22 03:58 AM.
Joined: May 2015
Posts: 10,876
Gold Subscriber
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
Offline
Gold Subscriber
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
Joined: May 2015
Posts: 10,876
Ranjit
Before the days of the internet, millions of piano students learned to sight-read without hearing the music first. How? By relying on the basic theory of notes, basic key theory and rhythm learned as part of their training. In fact, on a recent thread regarding sight-reading, you stated you did not listen to new music before you sight-read it; don’t you do this by applying the skills you have learned during your lesions?

It does work: as I child, I only had consistent access to printed scores, but not to recordings. I developed proficient dight-reading skills, as did my peers.


"Music, rich, full of feeling, not soulless, is like a crystal on which the sun falls and brings forth from it a whole rainbow" - F. Chopin
"I never dreamt with my own two hands I could touch the sky" - Sappho

It's ok to be a Work In Progress
Joined: Feb 2019
Posts: 3,236
S
3000 Post Club Member
Offline
3000 Post Club Member
S
Joined: Feb 2019
Posts: 3,236
There is no particular value for most amateurs to be an extremely proficient sight-reader. Unless one needs it for professional reasons or when one has to play new pieces in front of an audience, being an average sight-reader is enough. It is more important to be proficient in reading.


Blüthner model 6
Joined: Oct 2010
Posts: 15,592
B
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
B
Joined: Oct 2010
Posts: 15,592
Originally Posted by Sidokar
There is no particular value for most amateurs to be an extremely proficient sight-reader. Unless one needs it for professional reasons or when one has to play new pieces in front of an audience, being an average sight-reader is enough. It is more important to be proficient in reading.
There is no difference in the skills required for both, except that when sight-reading for real (i.e. when accompanying/collaborating - or in a sight-reading test), you keep going whatever happens, and keep playing in time and with the beat.

Unless the amateur is a closet pianist and never plays for, or with anyone, and nobody ever listens to him, and he doesn't care how badly he sounds as long as he likes what he's doing, the ability to do that is a very useful skill. It enhances his musicality and his enjoyment of playing - and discovering for himself - a wide range of music as well as the confidence to play for, and with others. (Who wants to listen to - or play with - any musician who stops/stutters every time he hits a clanger or misses a note?)

When I was a kid in my home country, I often spent my annual school holidays with my uncle (who adored classical music) & aunt, and their large family of five children, all of who learnt piano. The oldest was also learning violin. They'd all started learning at a much younger age than me, and had several volumes of music scores, including duets. I was like a kid being given several boxes of assorted gourmet chocolates and sweets, with lots of new pieces to try out and discover for myself. Everything from Minuet in G (Beethoven) to Minuet in G (Paderewski), from Albéniz to Zemlinsky, from the complete Beethoven piano sonatas (and violin sonatas) to J.Strauss waltzes in piano arrangements. I spent hours sight-reading through my cousins' music (when not playing hide-and-seek wink ), also playing duets with them, including violin & piano music, sight-reading through stuff like Dolly Suite and Godard's Berceuse from Jocelyn. Though I had no piano lessons during those school holidays, my piano playing - and sight-reading skills - improved......(as well as my musicality, my knowledge, my acumen, my.....)

Wallowing in nostalgia for the good ol' days when everything I sight-read was a new discovery cool:


I remember a scene in a movie about Chopin (probably the one where Fryderyk coughs and splatters blood onto the keyboard while playing whistle), where Liszt breezes into the salon, sees a new score on the music rest on the piano, and sits down to sight-read it. (It was the Heroic Polonaise, I think.) He was enjoying the music so much (along with everyone else in the room) that he didn't want to stop even when the composer enters to see who was playing his music so well, and shakes hand with him while continuing to play with one hand, with the composer playing the other hand's part on the adjacent piano with his free hand. (Hmmm, must try that myself one day if I can find an obliging pianist smirk ).


"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."
Joined: May 2001
Posts: 32,658
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
Online Content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
Joined: May 2001
Posts: 32,658
Originally Posted by Sidokar
There is no particular value for most amateurs to be an extremely proficient sight-reader. Unless one needs it for professional reasons or when one has to play new pieces in front of an audience, being an average sight-reader is enough. It is more important to be proficient in reading.
Totally agree. It's more important how well one can play the piece the third or tenth time which is related to how long it takes to learn the notes. This is related to one's reading ability.

Joined: May 2015
Posts: 10,876
Gold Subscriber
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
Offline
Gold Subscriber
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
Joined: May 2015
Posts: 10,876
Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Originally Posted by Sidokar
There is no particular value for most amateurs to be an extremely proficient sight-reader. Unless one needs it for professional reasons or when one has to play new pieces in front of an audience, being an average sight-reader is enough. It is more important to be proficient in reading.
Totally agree. It's more important how well one can play the piece the third or tenth time which is related to how long it takes to learn the notes. This is related to one's reading ability.


Wonder why the exam syllabi include sight-reading in the exam fir adults?


"Music, rich, full of feeling, not soulless, is like a crystal on which the sun falls and brings forth from it a whole rainbow" - F. Chopin
"I never dreamt with my own two hands I could touch the sky" - Sappho

It's ok to be a Work In Progress
Joined: May 2001
Posts: 32,658
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
Online Content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
Joined: May 2001
Posts: 32,658
Originally Posted by dogperson
Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Originally Posted by Sidokar
There is no particular value for most amateurs to be an extremely proficient sight-reader. Unless one needs it for professional reasons or when one has to play new pieces in front of an audience, being an average sight-reader is enough. It is more important to be proficient in reading.
Totally agree. It's more important how well one can play the piece the third or tenth time which is related to how long it takes to learn the notes. This is related to one's reading ability.
Wonder why the exam syllabi include sight-reading in the exam fir adults?
I assume those tests measure if one is a reasonably good sight reader not an extremely proficient sight reader. And sight reading ability is usually related to reading ability. No one is saying sight reading ability is not important, only that it's usefulness can be overrated and that reading ability is probably more important.

Joined: Jan 2017
Posts: 1,050
R
1000 Post Club Member
Offline
1000 Post Club Member
R
Joined: Jan 2017
Posts: 1,050
Originally Posted by dogperson
Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Originally Posted by Sidokar
There is no particular value for most amateurs to be an extremely proficient sight-reader. Unless one needs it for professional reasons or when one has to play new pieces in front of an audience, being an average sight-reader is enough. It is more important to be proficient in reading.
Totally agree. It's more important how well one can play the piece the third or tenth time which is related to how long it takes to learn the notes. This is related to one's reading ability.


Wonder why the exam syllabi include sight-reading in the exam fir adults?
Respectfully, this place is becoming one giant echo chamber.

Joined: Jan 2017
Posts: 1,050
R
1000 Post Club Member
Offline
1000 Post Club Member
R
Joined: Jan 2017
Posts: 1,050
Originally Posted by dogperson
Ranjit
Before the days of the internet, millions of piano students learned to sight-read without hearing the music first. How? By relying on the basic theory of notes, basic key theory and rhythm learned as part of their training. In fact, on a recent thread regarding sight-reading, you stated you did not listen to new music before you sight-read it; don’t you do this by applying the skills you have learned during your lesions?
I actually also spent maybe about a thousand hours total listening to classical music before I started to read music. And I'm talking stuff like five position exercises. This was partly because I would improvise or play by ear most of the time, and partly because I would figure out small sections of classical music whenever I wanted from synthesia. I had also completed Write Like Mozart which is a composition course on Coursera before I learned to read (again, starting from five finger positions). To be clear, I don't advocate this approach necessarily.

Quote
In fact, on a recent thread regarding sight-reading, you stated you did not listen to new music before you sight-read it; don’t you do this by applying the skills you have learned during your lesions
I'm not quite sure whether I understand your question properly. I think my listening experience played a role as well, definitely. I would say most of the things my teacher taught me were already things I had internalized. What my teacher had to teach me was the technique. There were some things I hadn't realized, but they were a bit advanced imo and weren't super specific to reading. For example, that you leave a bit more time between larger intervals than smaller ones. But to increase in volume as you go up while phrasing, to play the melody louder than accompaniment, to observe leading tones and on vs off beats were things I had figured out.

Joined: Mar 2010
Posts: 917
T
500 Post Club Member
Offline
500 Post Club Member
T
Joined: Mar 2010
Posts: 917
Originally Posted by joe3701
I've come across a few people in my life who could sight read Debussy & Rachmaninoff preludes as well as other seemingly difficult pieces. Sure, it wasn't perfect, but it was extremely impressive. What is the best way to improve sight reading? Does a tool like Sight Reading Factory help? Any other apps, programs, services, or techniques that you think helps? What do you suggest? Any tricks to becoming the best sight reader out there? Any and all advice is appreciated. Thank you.


No tricks! You literally have to sit down at the piano and read through music. The more you do it the faster it will happen. Timeline is different for everyone.

Joined: Jun 2022
Posts: 21
A
Full Member
Offline
Full Member
A
Joined: Jun 2022
Posts: 21
Sight reading is useful and I'm working on it now after I found out by accident I was actually learning to sight read without consciously working on sight reading.
I'm a self taught 45 yo pianist, no formal music background. I used Piano Marvel extensively and in 3 years of daly 1h-2h practice I found myself playing advanced Chopin, Bach, Debussy, yet I'm a complete beginner in sight reading (there is this SARS test on that app and I can't make it to intermediate yet). I did learn a couple of pieces from paper sheets but it took me ages. This wasn't a problem in itself at first and I wanted to avoid learning how to sight read, it just seemed overwhelming... My biggest obstacles were technical: being able to actually play the notes, choosing the correct fingering, rhythm... I would listen to recordings of the piece I was learning over and over and play over them to imitate them.
It still takes me so long to be able to play something that I end up memorising the piece in the process of learning it. I play everything from memory soaking up a particular performance from a pianist. I believed that the whole ideia of sight reading was developed in a time were no recordings where available. That piece of paper was your only source in the 19th scentury... Nowadays you have recordings you can listen and imitate and you have digital apps that can evaluate if you are playing the right notes on time, so sight reading seemed redundant to me as a home amateur piano player. However, I think I was wrong or at least partially wrong... Its all muscular memory in my case and after some time I forget bits of the pieces here and there and I'm stuck because the memory chain is broken.Because I have no musical knowledge I can't spot patterns, chords, keys, things that would become bigger abstract blocks for my memory to handle. My repertoire is just lost and I can only play the pieces I'm practicing regularly. Even those seem to fade away once the process stops being conscious (learning) and becomes more and more muscle memory related. I can't manage to realistically get back to music I learned a couple of months ago and never played again. This is very frustrating now because it takes me months to play a piece, only to watch it fade away. If I'm constantly refreshing my repertoire then I don't have time to learn new music and I'm stuck in the same things. Its extremely frustrating to have 98% of a music in your head and being unable to play it because you can't remember 2% of it and If I could sight read I would just look up the score and remember.
I realised how wonderful it would be to just read it and remembering it, so I could play it again.
We are talking about music I already played extensively, not completely unfamiliar pieces. But learning to sight read seemed daunting.
I found out something weird happened: sometimes I would look at a score and instantly play the right notes without being consciously aware of it. The connection between that dot on the sheet and my hand and a piano key was being made without me being consciously aware of it. This gave me hope that I can actually learn to sight read if I devote some time to it on my daily practice.
My method is based on advice from piano teachers on youtube and using piano marvel. I will do exercises that are just in the border of what I can play instantly, so far its very basic stuff, both hands, simple chords, fixed hand positions, but it's getting gradually more complex each week. I don't think it's fun, but I'm trying to be diligent about it.
I also got Bach well tempered clavier and Chopin's nocturnes and waltzes on two beautiful books and my goal will be to learn from there and then access each block on piano marvel an listen to a recording to see if I got it right, before moving on to the next.
I don't think there is any secret to it, i suppose its just practicing, but it took me 3 years to understand how useful it would be to learn how to sight read advanced pieces and that it would actually be possible if I put in some conscious effort on a regular basis.

Joined: Jun 2022
Posts: 21
A
Full Member
Offline
Full Member
A
Joined: Jun 2022
Posts: 21
Just to add that paradoxically, great sight readers like a friend of mine can fall into the trap of always play the pieces through from start to finish in a very mechanical and imperfect way. It seems once you get very proficient at sight reading, then memorising it becomes a conscious deliberate process and some will avoid it. A simple analogy would be an actor. A 'non sight reader' actor will be memorising sounds, unable to read his lines written in a foreign language with a foreign alphabet. He might memorise his lines for a play, even resorting to other actors performance to imitate them, but he can't get back to the text once he forgets his lines because its all muscle memory (throat, mouth, tongue, sounds...) On the other extreme, if an actor is able to read his lines but he is always reading them while performing, he will not memorise them and his performance will never be as natural because he is reading. An actor who memorised his lines can work on actually acting.

Page 3 of 3 1 2 3

Moderated by  Brendan, Kreisler 

Link Copied to Clipboard
(ad)
Best of Piano Buyer
Piano Buyer - Read the Articles, Explore the website
(ad)
PianoDisc

PianoDisc
(ad)
Faust Harrison Pianos
Faust Harrison 100+ Steinway pianos
(ad)
Mason & Hamlin Pianos
New Topics - Multiple Forums
Damper noise
by TimM_980 - 06/29/22 12:03 AM
Czerny availablility in large print?
by geopianoincanada - 06/28/22 11:53 PM
Wound bass strings all the way to C4
by TimM_980 - 06/28/22 11:44 PM
Alternatives to MainStage for Live Performances?
by Gord Webster - 06/28/22 11:29 PM
MSRPs, Margins, Price Matching, DP Retailers
by bob@pei - 06/28/22 10:17 PM
Download Sheet Music
Virtual Sheet Music - Classical Sheet Music Downloads
What's Hot!!
FREE June Newsletter is Here!
--------------------
Forums RULES, Terms of Service & HELP
(updated 06/06/2022)
-------------------
Music Store Going Out of Business Sale!
---------------------
Mr. PianoWorld's Original Composition
---------------------
Sell Your Piano on our world famous Piano Forums!
---------------------
Posting Pictures on the Forums
-------------------
ADVERTISE on Piano World
Forum Statistics
Forums43
Topics213,718
Posts3,204,044
Members105,669
Most Online15,252
Mar 21st, 2010
Please Support Our Advertisers

Faust Harrison 100+ Steinways

Dampp Chaser Piano Life Saver

 Best of Piano Buyer

PianoTeq Bechstein
Visit our online store for gifts for music lovers

Virtual Sheet Music - Classical Sheet Music Downloads



 
Help keep the forums up and running with a donation, any amount is appreciated!
Or by becoming a Subscribing member! Thank-you.
Donate   Subscribe
 
Our Piano Related Classified Ads
| Dealers | Tuners | Lessons | Movers | Restorations | Pianos For Sale | Sell Your Piano |

Advertise on Piano World
| Subscribe | Piano World | PianoSupplies.com | Advertise on Piano World |
| |Contact | Privacy | Legal | About Us | Site Map | Free Newsletter | MapleStreetMusicShop.com - Our store in Cornish Maine


© copyright 1997 - 2022 Piano World ® all rights reserved
No part of this site may be reproduced without prior written permission
Powered by UBB.threads™ PHP Forum Software 7.7.5