Sightreading Awesomenessin PB Guitarstudio FORUMS Sun Aug 24, 2014 8:37 pm
by Scottulus • 222 Posts
So, I have really gotten serious about sight reading. I stumbled across this, and what Pebber says makes sense.
Although I can read, I have never really felt totally comfortable with it. I mean, I would like to get a LOT better at it.
Incrementalism. I love that...
Anyways, I am understand position reading, but to be completely honest I am a horrible cheater at reading. I get ahold of the music beforehand and read through it a few hundred times. I do that because, as Pebber described in his video, I was the kid who learned how to play, and never looked at a piece of sheet music (Well, I did have a lot of tab...) until I went to music school. As such, I got killed in all of my reading labs, and my private lessons (Which centred around "Modern Method For Guitar") Great books. Time for another, serious look at this...
So now, I have decided that reading, and visual musical literacy is supremely important to me. I had a friend who is a saxophonist rattle off an Eric Johnson solo. First look, sounded pretty good. Now, he was transposing at the same time. This experience made me think two things. 1) I want to kill people who are good at reading, and 2) I need that skill at a much higher level than I am currently at.
I understand rhythms, and I can sight sing (Solfege). I know all of my scale fingerings, and the notes on the neck.
Now, when I read I always "crutch" to about 5th position. I like the idea of playing any idea in as many positions as it will allow, that's very cool, thanks Pebber for the vid. I am quite a bit above the level of the video, but the discussion was very useful, and it's a topic that really interests me.
Now here is a question, how does one get away from looking at each note and acknowledging what it is? I mean... I am literally rattling off the notes in my head just slightly before I play it, and if I do something too many times, like many of the tunes in the real book I end up memorizing the melody. Classical, jazz, rock, whatever. It's all part of the language, right?
So yeah, I basically am curious as to what everyones ideas on the topic of sight-reading are.
RE: Sightreading Awesomenessin PB Guitarstudio FORUMS Mon Aug 25, 2014 6:40 am
by dlraben • 278 Posts
Long time no read Scott. Not much advanced discussion on here these days. Here's my sight-reading experience.
I've spent 20+ years now reading dual clef standard+tablature notation and I feel I'm really good at it now. I typically can take a new piece of music and just play (obviously governed a bit by how technical it is vs my skill sets, but that would be true of standard notation too). When the tab is electronic, I regularly modify the wacky fingerings the net can provide to what "makes sense" to me. Actually, this is probably the main reason why I find it hard to memorize full pieces (something I've posted about before). If I'm just playing/recording (i.e. not gig'ing), why not just sight-read? As you already wrote, the more you play pieces the more your fingers remember them on their own. So "reading" in such cases is really muscle memory refreshing. If there's a huge gap in one's ability to "read" old favorites and new pieces, I'd say you're probably not really sight-reading much at all. If there isn't, then I'd say you have developed a great skill.
To me the complete key to effectively sight-reading tablature is DUAL staff reading. The rhythms presented by the standard notation staff are MORE IMPORTANT than the tablature staff. Granted I'm no professional, and really don't ever intend to be, but for me shedding the tablature staff and using only standard notation doesn't seem to have much upside. Now if you have a treasure trove of pieces available to you only in standard notation AND you don't want to invest the time to transcribe them with your favorite music notation software then fine. Or if your job is to spot read lead sheets + heads, then fine.
Having written that, I've had a run at the Berklee modern method volumes and I just recently started going through them again in search of the answer to "what am I missing?" While doing so I'm transcribing many of the duets in guitar pro so I can have it play one part while I play the other. Entry is slow going, but I feel this manual process is really solidifying the fretboard and staff. But that can be achieved in many ways. So the answer for me so far is that it's really getting me to understand composition a bit better. I get that the examples are pretty simple, but harmonization, voice-leading, and even a bit of modulation is coming through. In my experience, these skills don't develop when reading tab.
Instead of reading this you should be practicing. Slowly. With a metronome.
RE: Sightreading Awesomenessin PB Guitarstudio FORUMS Mon Aug 25, 2014 5:16 pm
by Scottulus • 222 Posts
20 years, yeah it has been almost that long since I finished music school.
I always come back to the Berklee Books, Modern Method For Guitar 1,2,3 to get my reading groove back on. The last time I got obsessive with reading improvement I spent a year doing only reading as my guitar practice. There are a couple of other reading books put out by Berklee that I dabble in, and as well a few others. I'm always looking for recommendations, though...
I can read pretty much anything in time and rhythmically accurate in Treble or Bass clef. In order to get a decent tempo, though, I need to run through a piece several times. I guess that the objective is to be able to read fresh material at a higher tempo. A good starting tempo for something that is unfamiliar is about 80bpm tops. This includes classical stuff with note stacks, or complicated 16th note rhythms.
Wanna know something funny? I can sightsing (solfege) much better than I can sightread on guitar. I can sightread drums with way more precision than guitar
I have a theory that I am at the point of reading single notes as I play them, but I need to get to the point of recognizing musical 'words' as opposed to just the letters, if that makes any sense.
I feel strongly, and was always taught to read rhythmically first, so I will continue to do that. I found a few flashcard apps for the ipad, and I was surprised at how helpful that was.
I am going to try spending about a half hour every night just reading notes that I have entered in randomly on staff paper. I am thinking of going in cycles, and keeping it diatonic to whatever key I am currently practicing. For instance, yesterday I worked on single notes. Tonight it will be 2 note interval stacks, and tomorrow it will be 3 note interval stacks, the day after it will be 4 note interval stacks.
Then I spend about an hour working out of the books, then another half hour working on music I like out of transcription folios. Lol it is a pretty mind draining 2 hours, but I think it will be worth it...
RE: Sightreading Awesomenessin PB Guitarstudio FORUMS Sun Aug 31, 2014 6:24 am
by mr. gurgle (deleted)
Interesting subject but goes over my head every time I say to myself it's time to start! The only time I had to learn to sightread anything was when I was 16-17 and we had to play some Mel Bay exercises in front of the class. I had some vague understanding but I think I might've memorized some of it. Of course the Mel Bay exercises were followed by some junior shredding to the tune of teacher shouting and students laughing.
RE: Sightreading Awesomenessin PB Guitarstudio FORUMS Sun Aug 31, 2014 12:44 pm
by Scottulus • 222 Posts
Heh reminds me of reading labs in music school. Reading seemed to be the lowest priority, one of those "Oh, we'll get to that later..." Kind of things. I am currently spending well over half of my practice time on reading, and intend to continue to do so for the next two or three years. I spend a bit of time also scoring and transcribing material from transcription folios, basically getting rid of the tab, haha
I bet everyone would be a good reader if there was no tabulature...
RE: Sightreading Awesomenessin PB Guitarstudio FORUMS Sun Aug 31, 2014 2:06 pm
by mr. gurgle (deleted)
Hah, yes I can imagine how little interest reading can generate in music school, when there's a million other things that can be learned much easier and that can generate excitement in other people. That is just the way it is.
That two to three year plan really is a testament to dedication! You should document it! Make a thread of how you progress and tell the ups and downs of learning and mastering the art of standard musical notation. It would be an inspiration for others to follow! I for one am endlessly fascinated by the subject and also admittedly scared of trying to start that kind of process! It seems that one day I have to, because in 98 I said to myself that this thing has to be sorted out, and I tried to enroll for a course in music theory etc, but at the moment they were booked full and then of course it gave me an excuse for the next, what 17 years to not try anything! You could say, progress on my part has been slow of late, but perhaps next time.....
And yes if the tabs didn't exist I bet we all could read. It is ironic, the thing that is there to help actually helps to kill any interest in learning to read.
RE: Sightreading Awesomenessin PB Guitarstudio FORUMS Tue Dec 23, 2014 1:31 am
by Justip • 47 Posts
The thing with learning to sight read is that it opens a whole world of classical music that is just downright cool to play.
Sax, Violin, Cello, Oboe and other stringed and wind instruments, different tempos and styles
I'm no expert at it either, but it seems easier to pick up sheet music from a second hand shop for $1.00 than spend heaps on a tab book.
Managed to give the theme from 2001 A Space Odyssey a wee learn some time ago, Arpeggios and chords everywhere that I may not have even thought of, or how they could be combined in such a way before
Just my opinion
RE: Sightreading Awesomenessin PB Guitarstudio FORUMS Thu Dec 25, 2014 11:35 am
by Scottulus • 222 Posts
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