Counting and sight reading
Hello! I am a high school student and I've been playing violin for a while now. I am terrible at counting different rhythms and sight reading? What can I do to improve these two things?
Well, you can't sight read without getting the rhythm right - at least not if you expect to be sight reading in an ensemble. I was discussing this with another player last week as we were both bothered by the tempo changes in our ensemble due to other younger players (the are generally still in their 60s while we two are in our 80s and have been life-long players). The problem was that they were trying to get ALL THE NOTES.
I think "sight-singing" could be an more approachable step to achieving the two things that you just mentioned. Because the human voice is usually less lenient towards intonation and rhythms, so and distortion that's out of the place can be picked up more easily than if you had played it on an instrument.
Look at the time signature and look for the downbeats. Does your teacher have suggestions?
by this time, you should have hundreds of hours of solfeggio... it is a pre-requisite for music playing and, in my opinion, for developing solid sight-reading skills.
Don't worry too much about the sight reading -- that comes with time. As for the rhythms: get a score and a recording of 'Sacre du Printemps' by Stravinsky and read and clap along with the music. This will not only improve your rhythmic skills, but you'll be having a ball too. Once you get the heck of it a bit try clapping or singing the rhythms without the recording. Inventing silly dances that fit (or don't fit) the music is also recommended.
Another good thing for practicing counting and rhythms are the slow movements of baroque and classical era concertos and string quartets. Plenty of them on IMSLP and you can usually find the recordings on YouTube as well.
Will. Beautiful song. I remember seeing the movie while I was in college Freshman year - we found a way to sneak into the theater near our dorm.
This memory palace concept sounds amazingly difficult to me. Why not just read the music off the page, or write down the notes in order on paper?
As someone who uses the method of loci for a lot of stuff, from shopping lists to lists of musical terms, I can tell you from experience it is not maintainable for memorizing music. The music is also contextual. Even if you can build and view the entire score as you make your journey you're likely going to miss out on some of the contextual parts of the music. By breaking it down into such small chunks you lose the overarching phrase structure, among other things. This isn't even beginning to touch on how flawed human memory is, even when using advanced mnemonic techniques such as MoL.
I have a question for those with good sight reading skills: The music you read in the paper "sounds" in your head before you play it or does it automatically transfer from there to your instrument...
Michael, thanks for your input and I fully agree that the 'knowing' and the 'doing' whilst inextricably connected have (major)points of difference.
I recently got the Trala app (on free trial), to give it a shot with sight-reading and counting (and intonation). Might be worth giving it a go - they have a lot of songs you can practice your sightreading with, I believe...
"And the honest answer is that when I look at a music score it takes me a while to correctly identify each note; and even if I could swiftly recognize the notes I find it distracting to look away from the violin and bow and keep playing whilst also trying to read music. To me it would be like getting a number of plates spinning at one side of the stage and havind to dash across to the other side and keep plates their spinning and then have to dash back again all the while listening to the awful noise of plates smashing onto the stage."
Memorizing a piece is a totally different skill from sight-reading.
No, but we were counting the beats, paying attention to the steps, and watching so as not to run into other dancers or wooden columns! It's possible to learn new skills, is all I'm saying.
Learning to read music is a very important part of learning to play violin. I too was intimidated at first, and went through a few method "Book 1"s to learn it before I started exploring real sheet music. That included just reading the little student pieces aloud and naming the notes before even picking up the bow. After a few weeks you'll be able to read it aloud as if you were reading the alphabet.
I highly recommend Rhythm Sight Reading Trainer app. It's $2.99 and well worth it - 5 minutes a day every day can make a huge difference in both learning to count more complicated stuff and sight-counting. It's fun too.
"...by this time, you should have hundreds of hours of solfeggio..."
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