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reading in higher positions?

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Joined: 30 Jul 2005
Posts: 2190
Location: Boston, MA

PostPosted: Mon Jun 25, 2007 7:46 pm    Post subject: reading in higher positions? Reply with quote

This is a teaching question/post.

I haven't spent serious time practicing sight reading until lately. I know my keys very well, so when I do read, I rely heavily on that. I lock into a scale fingering or two and move in the intervals on the page, but I still pay attention to note names.

If I didn't know all my keys so well I don't really know how I would do this.

One of my students is a bit of a former classical guitarist, but all of the peices she has done have been mostly open position, ocassionally going up on the high E string to a C or so. We're learning some standards, and I'd like her to be able to play the melodies.

My intuition would be to have her learn some scale fingerings, starting low on the fretboard, and go from there. What do you guys think?

Additionally, what do you think is a good way to get students comfortable reading higher on the fretboard? Just gradually going up the fretboard (start at open position, then 1rst position, then 2nd, etc.) and learn many scale fingerings on the way?
"Inspiration may be a form of superconsciousness, or perhaps of subconciousness - I wouldn't know. But I am sure that it is the antithesis of self-consciousness." - Aaron Copland
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Joined: 04 Jan 2005
Posts: 1037
Location: Denmark

PostPosted: Sat Jul 07, 2007 3:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hmm, I dont really know....

I have never had any classes based on how to read, so I dont know any "standard" procedure.
That particular subject is IMO, a subject that a person should work on him/herself.
You can teach how to read notes, but from the point the the person know what all those strange little dots means, both rhythmically and melodically, I think its up to the person self how much time they will use on the mastering of "prima Vista" sight reading.

One will eventually get to a point where he/she does it automathically without much thinking as with anything else.

But I think its so important to jazz musicians to spend alot of time on.
Its easy enough for a bass player to get a call asking if he can play tomorrow night just bringing some real books. But guitarists often miss alot of those "easy money-jobs" because of their lack of reading skills.


Ibanez Guitars - Classical Guitar - 7-String Classical Guitar - 6-string YAMAHA JONH PATITUCCI signature - 8 String Mandolin - 10 String Viola Caipira - Cavaquinho - Pianica & Flutes.
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Joined: 22 Sep 2007
Posts: 184
Location: Blue Mountains Australia

PostPosted: Sun Sep 23, 2007 7:56 am    Post subject: solution for you Reply with quote

I am an associate of Trinity College London in Classical guitar. I also make a living playing classical guitar- and jazz.
Generally classical training IMO does not give players appropriate reading skills to make jazz session work easy. The classical methods and grades are somewhat different to what is required in Jazz. Classical guitar training generally focuses on technique. Many pieces are polyphonic in nature with rich harmonies. Rhythms are more likely to be fairly basic when compared to bebop style melodies.
The fluid horn type single lines you often come across in a Jazz lead sheet are more linear, and less predictable. Although most lead lines are monophonic in nature, there are very often accidentals, changes in rhythm and very often guitarists need to play in Keys such as Eb which are not as commonly used in classical music.
The solution is a clear mind free from ego pertaining to whatever classical pieces or levels of complexity that have been played or achieved.
Start from the start and work through A modern Method for Guitar by William Leavitt - 3 volumes in all. It is a magnum opus, but worth the effort. A good classical player should be able to move through book one fairly quickly, but will find exactly what you are talking about on page one of book two. The preparation of studying book one will facilitate smooth progress without undue difficulty.
The method is the standard text for Berklee College.
Classical guitar skills and Jazz guitar skills are vastly different fields of endeavour and both require persistence and patience.
BEst of Luck!
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