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Now that I started yet again practicing, I've come to some conclusions. I do play music for most of my life, but this new beginning is different. I decided to start from.....well, the beginning. I started studying George Dandelot's excellent book, about 10 days ago, and during this period I did manage to get a good grasp of both the F and the G clef. Now, with a decent grasp of the notes, in both clefs, I also started the Russian Method by Nikolaev. Not from the beginning though, I started where he introduces both hands playing.

What I did notice is that this approach is much more effective than using an app. Three years ago, I did use flowkey, and I must say, this time I progress much better. Having real sheet music in front of you may be beneficial, I am not sure, but sure enough, I progress better. To be exact, my progress has a deeper foundation now.

I do try Piano Marvel, a few minutes every day, but frankly, I just cant find an appeal. It just seems.... I don't know how to put it, inefficient? Slow? Game-y? I certainly find it more tiring than just opening a book.

All in all I am very satisfied with my progress now, and I truly believe that taking it slow is helping me.

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I am probably bias here because I come from Russian school and that's how my training started - with Nikolaev's book smile It is very methodological. It might feel slow, but it is a solid foundation. But I wouldn't disregard Piano Marvel. I just started using the app in my lessons with students - I think it is a great tool for sight-reading. That moving line helps your eye to look ahead in the music. We tend to go back and correct all mistakes during sight-reading if we don't visual help. I hop it makes sense smile

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Originally Posted by dilyara
I am probably bias here because I come from Russian school and that's how my training started - with Nikolaev's book smile It is very methodological. It might feel slow, but it is a solid foundation. But I wouldn't disregard Piano Marvel. I just started using the app in my lessons with students - I think it is a great tool for sight-reading. That moving line helps your eye to look ahead in the music. We tend to go back and correct all mistakes during sight-reading if we don't visual help. I hop it makes sense smile
I don't find Nikolaev's book slow at all. If anything, the simple pieces that it introduces are very well thought out, and certainly are not so easy, at least for me now, because I am not memorizing them on purpose, playing them by sight reading instead. In any case, a method is....a method, it does need to go step by step!
I'll try to find the russian version by the way.

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Who could have imagined that a book is better than an app!

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Originally Posted by Ubu
Who could have imagined that a book is better than an app!
Lol mate, you are right. We get so caught up with technology, that we, wrongly, think that it has an easy solution for everything.
I am sure that maybe some people get results from using various apps, but I am old school, I prefer books and actual teachers smile I just made a promise to myself, to get a teacher if I manage to attain the necessary discipline needed to learn both clefs perfectly. Yeah, I am going backwards, but I want to be able to sight read decently before getting a teacher. With everyday practice, I reckon that this will take the better part of around 5-6 months. Mind you, when I say sight reading, I mean getting 99-100% of the notes and around 50% of the rythm, so it shouldn't be vere hard.

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Since you are just getting started with your "learning experience" I will try to get you started with correct terminology.

You seem to think that when you play music as you look at the notation (sheet music) that means you are sight reading.

You are not. You are reading.

You are learning to play while reading from the sheet music.

That is a good method and keep it up.

However, it is not sight reading.

It is reading music.

Now, here is the hard part .....

Sight reading is when you play music by reading sheet music of something you have never, ever, ever, ever seen before that moment.

Let me repeat .... If you are playing music by reading sheet music of something you have never ever seen before that moment ... then you are sight reading.

Most players seldom do that or have any reason to do that.

I hope that is clear.

Good Luck to you


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Originally Posted by dmd
Let me repeat .... If you are playing music by reading sheet music of something you have never ever seen before that moment ... then you are sight reading.
Does it count if you have heard the music before? Asking for a friend.

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Originally Posted by dmd
Since you are just getting started with your "learning experience" I will try to get you started with correct terminology.

You seem to think that when you play music as you look at the notation (sheet music) that means you are sight reading.

You are not. You are reading.

You are learning to play while reading from the sheet music.

That is a good method and keep it up.

However, it is not sight reading.

It is reading music.

Now, here is the hard part .....

Sight reading is when you play music by reading sheet music of something you have never, ever, ever, ever seen before that moment.

Let me repeat .... If you are playing music by reading sheet music of something you have never ever seen before that moment ... then you are sight reading.

Most players seldom do that or have any reason to do that.

I hope that is clear.

Good Luck to you
I am aware of the distinction, and yes, I do mean sight reading and not just reading. Dandelot's exercises are completely random, so playing them, really doesnt allow for any kind of memorization. I do use normal beginner pieces too of course, and those really need to be played once, so I only use them for a second time after I've completely forgotten about them, and this sparingly.
The reason I have a need for sight reading skills is the fact that I know it will make my life much easier later on, even I am just mediocre at it.
Just reading is much much easier, I did that away from the piano, but I stopped it as it poses no real challenge.
Having said that, keep in mind that I am still not truly sight reading, as I cant follow the rythm well enough. I am going really slow on this. I guess its......hybrid reading 😁

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To be honest, I think you will make better progress by getting a teacher now and learning to read along with everything else. Teachers don't expect their students to be able to read before taking lessons.

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Originally Posted by Qazsedcft
To be honest, I think you will make better progress by getting a teacher now and learning to read along with everything else. Teachers don't expect their students to be able to read before taking lessons.
I am getting a teacher at the first opportunity, no question about it. My effort to sight read has more to do with my weaknesses. I know that I will frustrate my teacher, and myself, if I go about my usual way of doing things, concentrating mainly on technique and playing my pieces as best as I can, disregarding theory and reading skills. Keep in mind that this is also new to me, I play music on and off for about 21 years, and this is the first time I spend time actually trying to read.
I would call it the sight reader's........high 😂 Lots of endorphins when I get four notes divided on both clefs, right, in under 8 seconds 😆

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Originally Posted by Skropi
Originally Posted by Qazsedcft
To be honest, I think you will make better progress by getting a teacher now and learning to read along with everything else. Teachers don't expect their students to be able to read before taking lessons.
I am getting a teacher at the first opportunity, no question about it. My effort to sight read has more to do with my weaknesses. I know that I will frustrate my teacher, and myself, if I go about my usual way of doing things, concentrating mainly on technique and playing my pieces as best as I can, disregarding theory and reading skills. Keep in mind that this is also new to me, I play music on and off for about 21 years, and this is the first time I spend time actually trying to read.
I would call it the sight reader's........high 😂 Lots of endorphins when I get four notes divided on both clefs, right, in under 8 seconds 😆
I agree with Qazsedcft. While you are teaching yourself to sight-read, you are also ingraining "bad habits," such as getting the rhythm correct only about half of the time. Yes, you are learning rhythm (incorrectly) right along with reading the notes, whether you intend to or not. Speaking from personal experience, it can take a lot of time and effort to unlearn poor rhythm.

Most teachers would rather start with "raw" material than have to undo poorly or mis-learnt habits.


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Originally Posted by ranjit
Originally Posted by dmd
Let me repeat .... If you are playing music by reading sheet music of something you have never ever seen before that moment ... then you are sight reading.
Does it count if you have heard the music before? Asking for a friend.

Well, some would say yes .... some no ....

It doesn't really matter which you believe.

Having heard it before will perhaps allow you to be able to "predict" what is coming next and that might help you be correct when you decide what to play as you "read" the music.

You do not have to decide if a particular activity "counts".

All that really matters is that you are gaining skill at playing music while "reading" the music that you have never seen before.

If you are, then you must be doing something right.

If not, then you may wish to evaluate your method.


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One thing that may help you is to practice sight reading only the rhythms of pieces. You can do this away from the piano, simply by tapping with your left hand for bass clef notes, and your right for treble as you read the sheet music.

I have found that when I practice rhythms this way, and also practice note-reading via an app* (I use phone apps when I'm waiting around in daily life), the two come together much better when I sit down at the piano to sight read actual pieces.

One final thing: to get more out of your sight reading material, once you've played it and know how it sounds, you might try looking only at the intervals to play it transposed into other familiar keys (many keyboard harmony courses make you do this). It helps me a lot, as apps only teach note reading, and this forces me to practice interval reading too.

* I never forget the more central notes that I learned in childhood lessons, but whenever I get separated from my piano for a long time, I lose the outer notes/ledger lines. I also use apps to drill the notes on the mandolin fretboard back into my head after extended time away from that instrument too.


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I believe I did not explain myself all too well. I don't get the rhythm right because I don't try too, I just concentrate on note reading. My rhythm abilities are much more developed than my note reading ones. I never had much problems with the rhythm, even when I started playing guitar, two decades ago.
About the intervals I am a bit torn. My brain automatically tries to read the intervals, I believe this happens because its easier? I am not sure. I do actively try not to read intervals yet, at least until I get a better grasp of the actual notes. Maybe I should just combine both from the get go?

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I think part of getting better at sight reading and playing from score is familiarity with the patterns. (Learning theory, even if subconsciously). After a while, when you’re in a key you can predict the chords and notes coming up. If you’re in C major, you will recognize moving to G or F, Am and the rest. You will tell by the melody where it’s leading you. This subconscious awareness starts to feel natural to where you don’t have to stop and think of the intervals or the bass accompaniment because you’ll just know. For example a left hand chord. You don’t have to know what those three notes are you’ll see the familiar pattern and your mind and fingers will just go there. Same with the notes above and below the staff. Your experience and intuition will tell you that’s a low C or a high B-flat without having to count the lines and spaces.


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Originally Posted by Ubu
Who could have imagined that a book is better than an app!

That also comes as a shock to me.


Will do some R&B for a while. Give the classical a break.
You can spend the rest of your life looking for music on a sheet of paper. You'll never find it, because it just ain't there. - Me Myself
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Originally Posted by dmd
It is reading music.

I would go even further, and say that it's not even reading music. It's just reading a documentation of something that has the potential of sounding like music.


Will do some R&B for a while. Give the classical a break.
You can spend the rest of your life looking for music on a sheet of paper. You'll never find it, because it just ain't there. - Me Myself
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Originally Posted by RaggedKeyPresser
Originally Posted by dmd
It is reading music.

I would go even further, and say that it's not even reading music. It's just reading a documentation of something that has the potential of sounding like music.
I agree. In fact that is what I am doing right now, as my main aim is getting the notes right quickly enough.

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Time for an update. I used Dandelot's book till I got 4 octaves down, and then I started practicing from the same book, hands together, 3 ledger lines below and above the staves (and between). At that point I also started using Super Sight Reading Secrets, and although I am still at VP1, I see good progress from using both methods together. Apart from that, I do have the Easy Piano Clasiscs collection, and play three pieces daily, sight reading them painfully.

For a method book I eventually decided on the Methode Rose, as I like its pacing, and the pieces themselves are quite nice.
All in all I am happy that I found a process that works for me nicely. Now I just have to wait and see what my future teacher will have to say about it 😄


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