However, in my experience, there are some pupils who are clearly never going to achieve these sight-reading skills. These are often the very same pupils who find it easy to memorise music, which is something I (and no doubt many other good sight-readers) find difficult to do! It is also a fact that Associated Board practical exams are biased towards sight-reading rather than memory skills. I wonder therefore whether it would fairer to all concerned if TWO options were available in the exam: 1) to take the sight-reading test OR 2) to play one of the set pieces from memory (perhaps two pieces from memory in the case of the very early grades).
I would be very interested to receive your comments on the above, before I write to the Associated Board.
I have found with my pupils as others have said that those who are good at sight-reading are not good at memorising and vice versa. Those who want to do exams are forced to confront sight-reading and by a lot of work on this can actually get a lot better than they believed possible. None of my pupils have failed the sight-reading bit of the exam even those who had a complete mental block about it - I have just drummed in the three principles: As a minimum get your hands into the initial position, look at the keysignature, then once you start keep going. The immense pleasure of actually achieving a pass mark in this section has given them great confidence to improve on this as well.
I'm karolina. I'm piano teacher and student from Poland.
I'm very interrested in your discussion about sight reading as I'm writing my diploma essay about piano sight reading (a prima vista). I would e very happy if you could give me some ideas, maybe you know some books, articles etc? Or maybe simple give your opinion on teaching sight- reading.
Thank you in advance,
I studied piano to grade 8 and of course sight reading a piece of music is a fundamental and necessary skill. Afterall, how are you going to learn a new piano score if you cannot read the music to start with. (Unless you have an exceptional "ear" and can "imitate" the performance having heard it on CD or radio)
However having said that, I feel that to artistically express oneself in music, one should learn the piece technically by sight reading, commit the score to memory and then play the piece with great expression and emotion. Afterall this is surely what a concert pianist giving a public performance would do.
Last year my son's piano teacher gave a public performance (small) in our local village hall. She performed every piece reading from the score in front of her. The performances were largely technically correct in respect to the printed score, but were wooden, lacked any expressive emotion, and were peppered with more than a few "wrong notes" due to slavishly following the score.
My advice is to read the score, commit it to memory, and play the piece like you've never played it before.
but about 3 years ago, actually started doing a decent 2, 3 hours practice a day, and discovered your sight reading gets better when you down and try to play every single piece of music you can find, you also find what you like playing.
im now obbsessed with early-mid Liszt , and have vague hopes of a proffesional career.
out of interest, dunno if any of you play them, but which of the Trancendental studies do you find the most difficult, cos im struggling my way through Wilde Jagd, and theres some seriosly difficult passage of horrendously fast chordal passages in there which dont sound so hard when Jando's playing them.
I have come to the conclusion that there are four main ways of playing piano: 1) Play solely from music 2) Play notated music from memory 3) Play by ear 4) Improvise. I don't think the ABRSM exams place enough emphasis on the musicianship aspects of 3) and 4), which are important in helping to be able to sight read effectively.
However I cannot really see a problem with learning a notated score by sightreading firstly, then memorising sections and then re-playing the score from memory.
This is the only way, IMO, that any expressive feeling, dare I say passion, can be put into a performance.
Tell me sincerely, how can you play from the depths of your soul, if you're encumbered by having to read from the score; you cannot close your eyes and 'lose yourself' (not literally)in the mood of the music
Playing by ear is a totally different "kettle of fish" and requires no musical education or knowledege whatsoever.
Quite a few people I know can sit down and play tunes on the piano, even stringing chords together to make quite pleasant harmonic melodies. They cannot read a single note of music!
A lot of people who play by "ear", that I have had any contact with, seem to always default to the key of 'C' major. Of course they do not know it is the key of C but interestingly they stay clear of involving any black notes. The tunes/melodies sound OK'ish but have no "depth" thru' lack of any semitones up or down.
I play (albeit not in the same class as many who contribute to this forum), by reading music, by memory(although in my dotage the memory is not so good these days ) and also by ear (in a variety of keys )
I enjoy playing and I don't feel restricted when following the sheet music...because my heart and my fingers often have a mind of their own, depending on my mood. I rarely play the same piece the same way two days in a row.
Unless you are practising for exams where you will be judged according to the judges' requirements, or performing with or for others I feel playing should be a pleasurable experience.
I just love to sit at the piano and do my own thing.
I do believe sight reading is extremely important for students.
Unless you are planning to play solely by ear, it is a vital tool for all musicians, and should be encouraged from the start.
If you can't sight read how on earth are you going to pick up a new piece of music and play it.
Closing one's eyes is a well known musical phenomenon to the professional amongst us but as you old guys are just "hackers" you wouldn't know a piano stool from a bar stool.
Since when is a bit of levity a crime? ...there is no call to be so rude and insulting
"Old?"..."hacker"? You really wouldn't know about that on either score.
I enjoy my music, even if it's not up to your "professional" standard.
Gill is a "real" professional with a wonderful sense of humour.
If you care to peruse the previous posts in more depth you will see we already replied in a serious vein.
And whatever you do, don't go to the general section and read the post on "Refurbish old wood".