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Popular Piano Lessons: Fundamentals - Sight Reading Pointers

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So what exactly
is sight-reading?
Sight-reading is the ability to read music
with the same fluency as if you were to
pick up a book and
read the passage from the book out loud.
Now, learning to read music is just like
learning to read a foreign language.
The first step to doing so is number one,
to get comfortable with the musical
alphabet within each clef.
We're talking about the G-clef and
the F-clef that we'll be primarily
using with these lessons.
So, you really wanna be comfortable
with being able to read and
identify what those notes actually
are as close to on sight as possible.
Now another tip for sight-reading is to
learn to look at the edges of the music.
In other words, look at the top notes and
the bottom notes, the melody and the bass.
Or in reverse, if the melody is written
below the accompaniment, you want to be
able to look at the outer edges, the very
tops and the very bottoms of your music.
Now, this course is designed to introduce
basic chord patterns, the shapes of which
you will eventually be able to recognize
on sight with practice, just like you
start to recognize words instead of having
to spell them out letter by letter.
Now, after you do this, then you'll
be able to progress to more advanced
permutations of those chord patterns.
Now, the best way to learn
to sight-read is just like
reading in a foreign language,
practice, practice, practice.
Simply put,
the more you read the better you will get.
Now, you will eventually be able to
recognize notes just by how they look
on the given staff.
So what you're going to want to do
is want to work on a horizontal
mastery before vertical.
What do I mean by that?
Well, you're gonna want to focus on
being able to read the melodic line,
okay, primarily read through
the melodic line and
then pick out the base
notes just as needed.
One example may be to simply
read the melody line and
just play the first notes of the bass,
the first notes of each measure,
just to start, or
just the bottom of a given chord.
So, let me give you an example.
Here is Greensleeves.
And if I'm reading this and I'm trying to
sight read this for the first time, and
I'm getting kind of comfortable
with my G-clef notes,
and I'm kinda comfortable with my
F-clef notes, but maybe not as fluent,
maybe what I would do is
read it something like this.
Just pick up the first note.
Of the left hand.
And try to read the melody
as fluidly as I can.
All right?
Now, let's show you another example.
Let's say, I have a whole bunch of chords.
Okay, again,
you could do the same kind of thing.
Here's the Blue Danube.
Instead of playing all the notes,
I'm gonna look at the outer notes.
Instead of playing the full chord,
just the top of the melody line.
So, that's what I mean by developing
a good horizontal reading first, okay.
And then as you're reading,
you wanna try to keep a steady speed and
try not to double back,
even if you're missing notes.
Try to use, if you want for
extra practice,
try using a metronome
at a very slow speed.
And doing so can be a big help,
the idea being that you're
forcing yourself to go forward.
And that's really the key
thing to sight-reading.
Good sight-reading doesn't double
back after you miss a note.
You just keep going forward and
read as if you're reading out loud
straight out a book, or a poem, or a play.
The more you can move forward instead
of repeating yourself going back,
the more fluid you'll become.
And again, this is something that
takes a long time to master.
But if you're reading
a little bit everyday,
you'll be able to master your
musical library quite quickly,
and eventually,
you will be able to sight-read.