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Updated sight reading thread

 
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JakeJew



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

PostPosted: Sat May 21, 2011 9:45 pm    Post subject: Updated sight reading thread Reply with quote

It's been a little project of mine to try to get through all seven books of the "Mel Bay's Modern Method for Guitar (expanded edition)" series, and I just finished the last page of the last book a few days ago. (!) Took quite a while, doing maybe 10m every day or so...might have been a year and a half or so, I'd have to check my notes.

I couldn't sight read a lot of the stuff in the later books, I'd have to slow it down and take maybe a half hour to work out some of the more complex classical-influenced pieces, but I think it was all still a good effort for my sight reading. I've also been sight reading other material in the process.

So, it gets asked a lot, but I'll ask again, what specific books would you recommend for sight reading practice?

Now, I'd appreciate you being specific...a lot of the time people say "clarinet studies," and while that's sensible I'd love a url or book title so I can just buy that s*** and start shedding!

It would be awesome if we could get a really great, long list going here. I'd love to just have a library of stuff to read through so that by the time I got to the last book I had totally forgotten the music in the first book, if you know what I mean.

my sight reading material has been:

any classical guitar music I can get my hands on...but a lot of that stuff I have to "read" at tempos so slow it renders the process ridiculous

the right hand of a lot of piano music

this site: http://www.mne.psu.edu/lamancusa/tunes.htm

other bluegrass/fiddle tunes...

any transcriptions I can find on the net

omnibook

all realbooks/fakebooks

....
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PaulD



Joined: 18 Sep 2004
Posts: 1129
Location: Chicago

PostPosted: Sat May 21, 2011 10:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've been using the following books in my never ending quest to improve my sight reading:

"Rhythms complete" by Bugs Bower - Lots of easy 8-bar exercises, in various keys. I take a couple of pages per day and play each exercise in 4 different positions.

"Modern Reading Text in 4/4" by Louis Belson - just rhythms

"Melodic Rhythms for Guitar" by William Leavitt - been through this book cover to cover, but I also have it in BIAB format, so I randomly choose a few pages and transpose them to various keys.

"30 Studies in Swing" by Ben Paisner - some easy studies

"Streamlined Etudes" By Harry Huffnagle - some more easy studies

"Jimmy Dorsey Saxophone method" by Jimmy Dorsey - lots of material to read

"Method for Clarinet" by H. Lazarus - from easy to challenging

I have a bunch of fake books too - I go through lots of tunes

BIAB - I have tons of tunes in BIAB so I can transpose tunes to any key when I read. I also have BIAB generate a solo to a tune and try to read along (verrrry slooowly)

I have also been playing around with 3 ipad apps (probably available for iphone too):

'Guitar at Sight' - shows a note in standard notation, you have to touch it on a virtual guitar neck. You can customize it to limit it to certain frets or certain string sets. I use this on my commute to work.

'Read Rhythm' - several levels of difficulty, shows a 2-bar rhythmic figure that you have to tap out 3 consecutive times and it tells you how far you deviated. You can set the tempo and the level of difficulty. I also use this on my commute to work.

'Play this note' - like flash cards - shows a note, you play it on your guitar and it tells you if it's correct or not. You have to get very close to the ipad for this one to work, with no background noise. I use this in the hotel room where it's quiet enough.

Give me 10 more years, I'll be an average reader yet Embarassed

Paul


Last edited by PaulD on Sat May 21, 2011 11:57 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PaulD



Joined: 18 Sep 2004
Posts: 1129
Location: Chicago

PostPosted: Sat May 21, 2011 11:56 pm    Post subject: Re: Updated sight reading thread Reply with quote

JakeJew wrote:

this site: http://www.mne.psu.edu/lamancusa/tunes.htm


Cool Cool Cool
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JakeJew



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

PostPosted: Tue May 24, 2011 1:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Cool Paul, thanks for responding. I will have to check out some of those books!

You've mentioned here before (maybe it was a while ago) that you don't get a lot of time to play, but the time you do get you devote a lot of it to sight reading. Why is that, if I may ask?
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PaulD



Joined: 18 Sep 2004
Posts: 1129
Location: Chicago

PostPosted: Tue May 24, 2011 2:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't know that I devote that much time to it relative to anything else I work on. Maybe 20% of my practice is devoted to reading and it's mostly because I'm so lousy at it that I have to keep working on it Embarassed . It's also a great way for me to warm up because I have to do it so slowly Smile, so it's the first thing I do in my morning practice routine. And as I mentioned, I do some of it away from the guitar as well with the ipad apps. I think I made the most progress in my reading when I was playing regularly in a jazz ensemble at a school. But for the last 2 years my work travel has not allowed me to attend the class or even play with others, which I really miss. The upside of the travel is that I get a lot more practice these days since I can keep my guitar at the hotel from week to week.

Paul
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randalljazz



Joined: 19 May 2009
Posts: 92

PostPosted: Wed May 25, 2011 11:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

bach: six sonatas and partitas for violin, six cello suites, lute music (try the keyboard suites, maybe just the upper stave)

david grimes (editor): treasures of the baroque, three volumes (great value)

endless supply of transcriptions (sax, trumpet, etc) all over the web(scooby sax, jeff helgeson, charles mcneal, etc)
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JakeJew



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

PostPosted: Sun May 29, 2011 2:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Randall

By luck I came across a copy of "6 Sonatas and Partitas for solo Violin" From the first page I was thinking "how the f*** do you read this stuff?" - rhythmically a lot of it is a mix of 16ths, 32nd, 64th, dotted 16th, dotted 8th, etc. Sorry...I can not sight read that stuff.

But luckily I got over my intimidation of the first page to see most of it is much less rhythmically complex.

The problem with incredibly difficult rhythms for sight reading is that if I have to read it at under 30/40bpm or so, then I have to use a higher bpm and think of the click as an eighth note, or if the sheet is very difficult/fast, think of the click as a 16th note.

Sometimes this works out ok - it's a tough challenge to read and conceptualize the rhythms that slowly, but unfortunately that's often the fastest that I can interpret the music.

But sometimes it's just a lost cause - doing it that slow makes it far too complicated (for me) to feel the rhythms, doing it any faster makes it too difficult to interpret the pitches and rhythms in real time.

Anyway, big picture, this book is great, I can probably use it for sight reading practice for quite a while, as there's little danger of me accidentally memorizing any of the pieces.
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PlayJazzGuitar



Joined: 11 Feb 2004
Posts: 114
Location: Los Angeles, CA

PostPosted: Wed Jun 15, 2011 4:13 am    Post subject: Sight reading Reply with quote

There was a book that really turned my sight reading around many years ago. I had a chronic disorder when it came to sight reading and for the longest time I thought I'd never get it together. I bought a book by Tommy Tedesco called "For Guitar Players Only" which de-mystified everything for me. The book has since been deleted but in essence he talked about reading in different positions for different keys. For instance, he might read Eb or C minor in position 3 or 8. C major or Gmajor or F and their relative minors at position 5. Db and Ab at position 1, 6, 8, and 13 and so on.

I luckily discovered this whilst at music college so I immediately ran to the music library and rented violin studies and flute music on a weekly basis and practiced reading each different key at different locations.

This was a massive revelation. The other thing that turned me around was auditioning for the National Youth Jazz Orchestra in London. I went to a rehearsal, opened my guitar case, put the guitar on my lap and the leader called a chart. I remember it distinctly. It was a bebop chart called 'Gynacology' (I know, dreadful name!). He counted it off at 290bpm. Well I could barely follow the bars going by let alone read what was in them. I remember the entire rehearsal was like this. I don't remember playing one note! I put the guitar back in its case and vowed I would spent one solid year looking at that damn violin and flute music (and the entire NYJO book) and I would go back and get the gig.

And I did a year later. I don't ever remember practicing so hard in my entire life!. I was determined.

So yeh, in my opinion there are no specific books, you need to just get reading . Anything frankly.

Which reminds me. I desperately need to practice right now. Smile
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