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#21224 - 11/30/03 06:31 PM Sightreading--will this work?
KeyboardKandyce Offline
Resident Member

Registered: 11/24/03
Posts: 118
Loc: Ca
I have a few students who really struggle with sightreading. I have always thought that if a student can sightread music well, they have half the work done already. If they can "play" a song all the way through when sightreading, then they have more time to focus on the more musical aspects of the piece and won't be hung up on notes or rhythms.
I was trying to think of how I can encourage students to practice sightreading skills at home and came up with an idea. If I were to make up packets of music--songs or excerpts that they haven't ever seen--and send a new packet home with them each week, do you think they would look at a new piece or excerpt everyday? Would this be a terrible waste of time or a valuable experience. Do you have any suggestions or changes?

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#21225 - 01/02/04 01:58 PM Re: Sightreading--will this work?
Joan Lulich Offline
New Member

Registered: 01/02/04
Posts: 2
Loc: Reston, VA
In my pedagogy class, I was taught to send as much sight reading material as possible home.

There is a book called "The Science and Psychology of Music Performance: Creative Strategies for Teaching and Learning", Authors, Richard Parncutt and Gary E. McPherson. It promotes as much reading pratice as possible. It seems that a lot of accompanying is a plus also. I am a fairly good sight reader and have done many years of accompanying.

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#21226 - 01/11/04 11:27 PM Re: Sightreading--will this work?
KeyboardKandyce Offline
Resident Member

Registered: 11/24/03
Posts: 118
Loc: Ca
I realize that sightreading is extremely important to musical training. When I was taking lessons, I would sightread all the time. My mom always picked up books and music from yard sales that I played through just for fun. The problem is that I don't think my students are doing the same. I don't know if they have the same access to music as I did growing up. Should I provide that for them? If I dig through my closet of music, I'm sure I could put together some sightreading packets that they could take home each week. A new one every week to go through. Do you think this might be more encouraging than just telling them to do it and trusting that they have the means to do so?

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#21227 - 01/12/04 08:52 AM Re: Sightreading--will this work?
Jalapeņa Offline
Star Member

Registered: 02/20/03
Posts: 1143
Loc: New Mexico
I did a lot of sightreading at home (using books my mother purchased for me) & years of work as an accompanist & as a church pianist.

I doubt that money is the issue with most piano students. People these days seem to have money to go on vacations, participate in various extra-curricular activities in addition to piano, & own cell phones, video & digital cameras, etc. I think that the problem with most piano students is that they don't have/make time to do extra piano-related activities. They're doing well if they complete their basic weekly assignments, so expecting them to go "above & beyond" is probably unrealistic.

Still, the development of fluent sightreading skills is important, so...

What I did was place sheet music (mostly freebie samples I received from various publishers, but I also printed out some free music from the internet) in sheet protectors & put them in 3-ring binders, sorted by level. My students were free to check out the binders, take them home & sightread the music. I have never liked to either borrow or lend things. This system worked well for me because I didn't have to worry about lending music that I purchased & not getting it back.

Another thing I did was to create a musical library in my studio. I gave longer lessons (at least 45 minutes in length), so I had time to pull music off the shelf for a student to sightread during lesson time. This ensured that each student had at least a little bit of sightreading experience each week. I have never been one to assume that my students would do anything extra during the week between lessons. I learned a long time ago that the more accomplished during lesson time, the better. Of course, parents had to pay more for longer lessons, but they were getting more for their money than the parents whose children took lessons from teachers who only gave 30-minute lessons.

Hope this helps.

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#21228 - 01/12/04 04:03 PM Re: Sightreading--will this work?
pianoannie Offline
Mainstay Member

Registered: 07/20/01
Posts: 946
Loc: midwest USA
I've had great success with my Lending Library. In fact, it's really considered a "treat" by many of my students to get to borrow extra music for sightreading, because they know if they haven't done well on the current week's assignment, I won't let them check out a library book. Through the years, by taking advantage of FJH and other publishers' generous teacher discounts, I've been able to grow my library to over 100 books, over 100 sheets, plus numerous classical CD's. I think it does help immensely with my students' sightreading. I always mention my Lending Library in the initial interview, and explain its benefits for the students. Parents see how this saves them money (not having to buy new sightreading books all the time). I have never had a book not returned (each student has a page in my sign-out binder for keeping track of the books as they go out and come back in.) Even the wear and tear has not been a problem (in 10 years, although obviously some books no longer look brand new, none have needed replaced due to wear.)

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#21229 - 01/12/04 07:23 PM Re: Sightreading--will this work?
Carole Offline
Star Member

Registered: 06/08/00
Posts: 2229
Loc: southern California
The lending library is is something I would really like to do, although I will have to expand what I can offer. The sight reading aspect of my teaching has always been lacking. I do have them sightread at every lesson and do the rhythm cards I have mentioned and keep the results on a chart. Still, that is only once a week. I have tried to think of how to do this, but I think the lending library is the best way. Do you hear all of what they read at each lesson?

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#21230 - 01/13/04 07:10 AM Re: Sightreading--will this work?
Jalapeņa Offline
Star Member

Registered: 02/20/03
Posts: 1143
Loc: New Mexico
I wish I could say that I trust people to return books, but I don't. My students in TX couldn't even keep track of their own books, for cryin' out loud! I once loaned a couple of books to a girl I'd been teaching for 2 years. They weren't returned, & I had to ask for them back. I got them back, but not without telling the parents that I'd bill them for the books if they weren't returned. :rolleyes:

Of course, I didn't have problems lending out books when I taught in Costa Rica, \:\) so maybe all the problems I experienced in Lubbock was just a TX thang. Lord, I hope so!

I've just gotten to the point where I don't assume that anyone's going to follow studio policies or return music books.

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#21231 - 01/13/04 10:51 AM Re: Sightreading--will this work?
pianoannie Offline
Mainstay Member

Registered: 07/20/01
Posts: 946
Loc: midwest USA
 Quote:
Originally posted by Carole:
Do you hear all of what they read at each lesson?

Oh no--they usually take home 1 or 2 books, and I might listen to portions of a couple of songs. Some weeks I might not listen to any. But over the course of time it gives me a good idea of where they're at, sightreading-wise. If you do start a LL, be sure to clearly write out your policies regarding loss or damage. Another good place to get music inexpensively is the shopmusic email list--a yahoo group for music teachers for buying and selling music.

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#21232 - 01/13/04 01:12 PM Re: Sightreading--will this work?
pianojazzgirl Offline
Mainstay Member

Registered: 07/26/03
Posts: 847
Loc: Montreal
The most enthusiastic my students ever get about sightreading is at Christmas time when they'll read through every Christmas carol they can get their hands on! The rest of the year it's more difficult to keep them motivated to check out new music on their own. I love the idea of a lending library but the problem for me is that I teach at their homes - I can't exactly cart all of my books and sheet music with me everytime I go to teach... If I assign them daily sightreading to do on their own they just don't do it so for now it's pretty much limited to during lesson time. (Although I do assign those students I can trust to be careful with notes and rhythms self-study pieces that they prepare for me without my having gone through the piece with them at the lesson.)

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#21233 - 01/13/04 01:53 PM Re: Sightreading--will this work?
Carole Offline
Star Member

Registered: 06/08/00
Posts: 2229
Loc: southern California
Pianoannie, how do I get to the yahoo site? Thanks.

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