View Full Version : Sight-reading problems

02-03-2006, 03:44 AM
I am learning piano now, and it requires that I can read music. The problem is, once I have a piece in front of me...my ear takes over and I become less focused on learning to read as I do just playing the tune by ear.
The music has become just an aid to help me get started, then help me when I get stuck.
I was wondering what exercises or techniques anybody has used that are more effective to actually sticking to the music?
...and I know, staying focused and disciplined are two key elements...but I won't be able to take lessons for awhile, so just looking for some basic approaches here.
Thanks in advance.
(I've thought about just randomly writing notes on some staff paper-sticking to one key, like C-Major first, and just running through them, making sure I hit the right note every time. Would it be better to do scale runs first?)

widdly widdly
02-03-2006, 04:37 AM
For sight reading it really helps to have sheet music for melodies you are not familiar with. I guess writing out random notes would work. Another option would be use something like a fake book which is sure to have some tunes your not familiar with. Also the songs are often in difficult keys with lots of sharps/flats which will add to the challenge. I don't think reading scalar runs will keep you occupied for long. Sight reading chords is more challenging too and worth focussing on.
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02-03-2006, 04:54 AM
you say it as though using your ears is a bad thing...this is a hearing art form.

melodies that you aren't familiar with will help, but even then your ears should always dictate what you play. If you see a major chord notated and you play something that doesn't sound like a major chord look up and see what you did wrong. If you see a major chord and you play the notated major chord and your ears tell you it's right then perfect. This is how to best memorize stuff...get to the point where it isn't your muscles or your mind that tells you you did something wrong, but rather just your ears. It's certainly better then the other way around...not knowing what it sounds like, but being able to read anything off of a page. But I suppose that's just an opposite extreme.

02-03-2006, 05:33 AM
I guess saying that playing the piano 'requires' me to read music could be argued...(the late Ray Charles comes to mind). So, silent-storm, you are right on there!
I should say I want to learn to read music.
Thanks for the input from both of you. I know (especially w/piano) the more I just sit down and play with sheet music, the better I will become at sight reading.
I will try chords too.