Sunday, 1 June 2014

Prioritise Your Reading

Hi again, here's another lesson on the art of sight reading.
So you've sat down and tuned up, and your handed a piece of music to read.  You don't have long to analyse it, maybe 30 seconds to a minute.  This is my own checklist on what to do:

  • Priority 1 - What key are we in - Sharps or Flats?  Tempo - Fast or Slow?  Time signature - How many beats per bar?  What is the basic unit of time - crotchets, quavers, semiquavers, triplets? 
  • Priority 2 - Any difficult fingerings needed?  Any barres?  Special techniques - slurs, harmonics, etc.
  • Priority 3 - Accents. Dynamics. Phrase marks.
  • Priority 4 - Places in the music that allow you time to look ahead e.g held notes, rests, ralls. or rits. 
This is far from all of it, there are other things that could certainly catch me out... do I know my ledger lines, can I read music written under 8va octave lines, do I know how to read the music quickly using the beam slants.  I think I may expand on this another time, but let's just say there's a lot a beam slant can tell you about what's going to happen within a group of notes.  I think it's a good idea to have a check list of what to aim for when your about to be reading music, so I'd encourage anyone to make their own list of priorities.  

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