52/100 Brushing up on Sight Reading

'4′33″ (In Proportional Notation)' (1952/53) by Cage. (©2013 John Cage Trust/The Museum of Modern Art)

4′33″ (In Proportional Notation)’ (1952/53) by Cage. (©2013 John Cage Trust/The Museum of Modern Art)
Image from http://observer.com/2014/01/there-will-never-be-silence-scoring-john-cages-433-at-the-museum-of-modern-art/

 

I’ve just bought some of the new syllabus ABRSM piano teaching books to have a look at what’s coming up for next term. So I open them up, and start playing through – and

AAARGH!

where have my sight-reading skills gone? I used to just blast through the books, not really working up any kind of “brain-heat” until about Grade 5.

That just goes to show what happens when I’m not practising enough. My fingers felt all disconnected and uncooperative. So, I have set myself the task of checking through a whole grade every day – going through the complete scales and arpeggios list, and then analysing ALL the pieces, making proper notes about techniques, trappy rhythms, suitability for the students I have in mind for the grade. I haven’t done this for a while, but it is proving an interesting experience, especially in the light of the Paul Harris “Simultaneous Learning” ideas that I have picked up.

I haven’t bought his book (yet!)

but I had the chance to explore some of the ideas in a study session on a staff training day. Initially I thought – yeah, another “new thing” . Actually, having used the Practice Starter cards in many of my piano lessons this term, and had a good look at the practice map

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I’m changing my mind. I’m up to grade 3 now, my fingers are re-discovering how the piano works, and my sight-reading is less rusty.

I’ve also bought “A piece a week” book 1 and 2 (the only grades so far) for a couple of pupils who are approaching grade 1 (a quick learner and good note reader) and grade 3 (needs a lot of experience in reading rhythm)

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and a sight-reading duet book

for a young lad who has a totally closed mind about his ability to read music in spite of being grade 4 violin. He does everything by ear – what a talent! – but has zero confidence in note reading.

Let’s see where this gets us next term…

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