Glasses for sight reading

October 9, 2005 at 05:11 PM · I am having trouble seeing the notes clearly when I read; it isn't that the notes are blurry or anything like that, I can see fine up close (reading, etc.) but a C becomes an A and vice versa, also the same with B and D. My teacher says I need to go to the eye doctor and get music glasses; she says, and I agree, the distance you read from when the music is on the stand is an odd one, way further than you hold a book at when you read. I measured it and it's right at 24 inches for me. So I want a pair of glasses that will from that distance make the notes about twice as large. Have any of you done this? Do I just go to the eye dr. and say what I just said here? Do I take my stand, violin and music for a true frame of reference when I do go? Thanks!

Replies (23)

October 9, 2005 at 05:39 PM · The doc can prescribe glasses that are optimized for certain distances. Mine are for computer screen distances since I work at one all day.

October 9, 2005 at 08:03 PM · wow thats weird i seem to have the same problem sometimes...yea its a weird distance to the music stand but for some reason I would say that for reading music like that one would need glasses to see far (not reading glasses) I know that some people prescribe glasses that are for both near and far sighted where the more one looks down, the more they become like reading glasses and vise versa. If you normally use reading glasses that would probably make the music on the stand look more blurry. Maybe you should just tell the eye doctor the approximate distance from you and the music stand and say that it's like reading for that far a distance so that way he'll understand exactly what you mean. well anyways good luck

October 10, 2005 at 03:25 PM · I agree with Jim. The eye doctor will probably ask you how far you sit from your monitor (or music stand). You can probably answer this without bringing your stand with you. I use a cheaper approach. I buy glasses at the drug store. They're *much* cheaper. When you go to buy them, bring some sheet music or reading matter and hold it at about the same distance from your face as your music stand would be. You may need to prop it up on a shelf or bring an accomplice with you to help by holding it.

October 10, 2005 at 08:26 PM · I use half height reading glasses so that when I glance up I can see the conductor clearly over the top of the lens.

I had my optometrist help me decide on the strength.

October 10, 2005 at 11:58 PM · Its interesting that you bring this up, as I just went through the same thing (isn't it confusing to play when As look like Cs?)

Anyway, what I did, and I recomend, is to go see an eye doctor. They will be able to figure out why ou can't read your music, and, they will then be able to have glasses made for you or give you an idea of what would help.

Good luck


October 24, 2005 at 01:53 AM · Forgive the plug, but if your eyecare professional recommends reading glasses, we have supplied them at 3 pair for $9.99 since 1999 at . Hope you don't mind a post on a violin site from a keyboard player :)

October 29, 2005 at 12:49 PM · Go to your local drug store and choose reader eyeglasses with a ½ lens and try reading some really small print around the store. My best eyeglass ratio for reading music which is about 40 inches away is 1.25

These reader glasses sharpen and darken the image and you can choose whichever ratio seems to do the best job for you.

Ted Kruzich

October 30, 2005 at 06:52 PM · I work at an optical every other week and the problem you are having is quite common. It is that you need something for the intermediate distance, not close up, but not far. This is easily solved with progressive lenses. These are the no line bifoculs and they incorporate different prescriptions at every part of the lens so that you can see distance intermediate and reading. They do lessen the peripheral vision a little bit but I think that the varilux lenses provide a little more peripheral vision.

Well, I hope this info helps you. It's never a perfect solution, but a solution.


November 21, 2005 at 02:14 AM · If you measure the distance from your eye to the music on your stand (don't stab yourself in the eye on the measuring tool), your eye doctor can give you a prescription for that distance instead of the shorter distance to a book. My mother's doctor did this all the time for her piano glasses. I am having the same problem with notes and am about to fix that.

May 8, 2006 at 02:47 PM · Hey that happened to me too!

And i got glass and now i dont have that go the the optomitrest and get glasses!!!!

May 8, 2006 at 03:02 PM · I know of at least 2 people who bring their music stand & a sheet of music to the eye doctor.

May 8, 2006 at 03:15 PM · A few years ago I had the eye Doc. give me music reading glasses. It's really easy to do. I just measured the distance from my eyes to the music and told him what that was and that was that. Works just fine.

On the other hand, don't get new glasses and increase your transposing expertese.

May 9, 2006 at 09:24 AM · Don't overlook proper lighting. I have this problem and the right light makes all the difference.

May 9, 2006 at 12:30 PM · The right lightning makes the big diffrence for me, but I also relate this problem to dislexia.

May 9, 2006 at 06:50 PM · It's bad on your eyes to let them be out of focus even if you know the music...if you need glasses to sight read, I'd say save your eyes and wear them while playing music you know as well.

July 1, 2006 at 05:26 AM · thats really funny...I used to have the same problem....solution-new glasses! ^_^

July 2, 2006 at 08:37 PM · Even with glass, (I have trifocals!!!!) sometimes it helps to go the the copy store and have the sheet enlarged by 20% or so when the notes are very dense. Whatever it takes!

April 7, 2016 at 01:33 AM · I agree with Karen here. I have bad eyes from working on computers all day and reading small letters on music sheets at night, so I had my eyes checked again and told them of the adjustments they need to make because of my lifestyle and this store: really knew what they were doing.

Like what Karen advised, I also had the font size of my music sheet enlarged. This would be your best move as you want to avoid straining your eyes too much, because even if you have your glasses adjusted but keep on giving it a hard time, your eyesight will just get worse.

April 7, 2016 at 02:20 PM · When I was active as an orchestral cellist, which wasn't so long ago, I eventually needed prescription glasses specifically for the cello. The cellist's music stand is further away than the violinist's, so what worked for reading or violin playing didn't work for the cello.

Tip: avoid bifocals, or even some varifocals, for reading music, especially in an orchestral context. You can easily finding yourself trying to interpret an unexpected 4- or 6-line stave! That was my experience at one time.

April 7, 2016 at 03:36 PM · Everyone can try whatever Roman Kim wears.

April 7, 2016 at 05:03 PM · We may need special glasses for music for three reasons:

- the scores are at arm's length;

- we can't constantly turn our heads to find the "sweet spot" in vari-focal glasses;

- correction for astigmatism varies according to focal length.

April 7, 2016 at 07:37 PM · Yes, bifocals (even progressives) are a pain. I have to compromise with my stand mate on height - a bit too low for him, a bit too high for me - to get something we can both get by with. I once did get a special set of single-focus glasses made, designed to focus 2 or 3 feet away - and just after I picked them up my eyes changed. They now focus perfectly between 6 and 8 feet. Grrr...

April 7, 2016 at 07:45 PM · im partially sighted (one eye unusable, the other poor vision) and i have this issue too, im prescribed vari-focals from a specialist eye hospital so it will be hard for me to go to any other place for special glasses for reading music.

i can only bee seen for my eyes at this hospital which is some distance away

im also not sure supermarket type glasses will help me due to the nature of my eyes

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