How to improve sight reading?
I suck at sight reading. It takes me multiple trips through a piece--even an easy one well below my ability--to stop making stupid mistakes. I can't explain why this is so hard. What can I do to improve?
slow down first.
I normally would have suggested to join a local community orchestra... but not this time given your situation. One thing I did is to sight read duets with my teacher playing along.
Can you explain what you mean by stupid mistakes?
read string chamber works and other pieces with recordings at tempo or work up to tempo with a speed changing app. There are tons lf poeces on imslp and youtube for free.
Exactly right, Ed!
I suck at sight reading too :(
First of all, the accuracy of sight-reading is never 100%, so be kind to yourself.
I'm sure it's just practice. I've never been great at it but in the Good Olde Days of HS 38 years ago I was reasonable. So the reason I suck now is probably mostly just that I haven't done it in a while. I have been playing through etudes the last few days and can feel myself picking things up faster. I have a tendency to want to work something to death in an (utterly vain!) attempt at perfection, so I'm spending 10 min or so and making myself move on. I mark the ones I like to return to later on.
In my experience sight reading is a skill that gets lost when it is not used. I used to play quartets weekly with a constant group for 5 plus years and all we did was sight reading. Then my job forced me to move and I haven't had as much opportunity to sight read since. My ability has declined quite a bit--I discover that at the occasional sessions but also when I try to read something at home. That my eye sight has weakened and that I now have to use progressive lenses hasn't helped either by the way--maybe you also had better eye sight in high school?
I think sight-reading, for advanced players, lies at the intersection of technical automation, visual pattern-recognition, and aural familiarity.
Yeah--I feel that reading ahead is impossible. I keep my eyes glued to what I'm playing. I see that's the problem--I am too often surprised by what comes up.
My sight reading improved dramatically when I had no choice.
I read the responses from Charles and Lydia and I have nothing to add except that you just need to do it more. Nobody wants to hear that but it's often the best thing. Of course "doing it more" works better if you have a theoretical understanding of what you're trying to do and a practice plan. That's where I think Charles and Lydia have offered really great suggestions.
We should consider ourselves lucky of course: Unlike pianists we generally have to sight read only one note at time. I admire pianists who are good sight readers!
Albrecht--true, BUT when pianists hit the note it's at least going to be in tune without their worrying about that! :-)
Don't worry too much about intonation when you sightread--correction: Don't worry at all. The point of sight-reading is to get through the piece as best you can and without interruption so you don't have to stop the rehearsal. When you can do that is the time to improve from there.
I went to an Irish 'slow session' group last week, and a lot of the music was sight read. No it isn't classical but as Lydia suggested, it is easier to see 'chunks' of notes and patterns that are often repeated. Sight reading an Irish jig or reel will make your eyes and hands work hard while your brain learns to co-ordinate. I think there is something to be learned from different genres of music.
Count aloud (important), count the subdivisions (very important), and count to a metronome (essential), and start your daily sightreading drills at about 60mm (ie begin slowly).
Not on violin, but another instrument, to reinforce what Janice said, I have a copy of O'Neill's Music of Ireland (real thick; lots of tunes) and every practice session I open it randomly and play a few tunes on sight. I don't play Irish music, otherwise, but it's regular in pace, and the note groupings are transparent.
I love Irish music, so that sounds fun! Any suggestions as to which book to buy? Amazon preferred.
If you want to familiarise yourself with the tradition this is an excellent book
Truly generous, thank you Timothy....
Thanks so much! I grabbed a few. They are all very easy, but clearly harder when played faster! Should be fun!
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