“As a music teacher and church choir director for the past 25 years, I recommend reading this book.”– Linda Johnson, Tacoma, WA
“Lots of hints and ideas.”–Marie Kelleher Roy, Westhaven, CA
On December 10, 2007, I decided to become a great (or at least, good) piano sight-reader. Although I was already an OK jazz piano player (Google Al Macy Jazz), with 4-6 gigs per month, my sight-reading was lousy. Really lousy. Most seven-year-olds who had had a year of lessons could probably read music better than I. So, I vowed to learn everything I could about sight-reading, and sight-read TWO HOURS EVERY DAY FOR AT LEAST A YEAR!
That year stretched out to six, and I learned a lot about what works, and what doesn't. I wrote this book for other adults who want to improve their piano sight-reading (OK, also to show how clever I am, but mostly for others). I kept a careful OCD-like record of my progress, so you can hear exactly how I sounded (via web clips) at three months, four months, two years, etc. In the book I relate what worked and what didn't so that you can benefit from my experience. I answer your questions about how to become a better sight-reader. For example:
Should you hire a teacher? How long should you practice each day? Will you inevitably improve if you just do a lot of reading? How can you find enough practice music? Which are more important, notes or intervals? Is it OK to glance down at your hands occasionally? How far ahead should you try to look? Can practicing with your eyes closed help? How can you get better at leaving things out when you are having trouble? What can you do about the fact that the notes on the bass clef are in different places than on the treble clef? How does understanding the harmonic structure of a piece help you play it? Does it help to sight-sing a piece before playing? Should you analyze the tune before starting? If so, what do you look at? Can you teach an old dog new tricks? Where is Jimmy Hoffa buried? The answers to some of those questions might surprise you.
I also present my very own soon to be patented (not really) method for forcing you to attend to intervals instead of notes. If you find yourself so fixated on the note names that you can't work with the intervals instead, this trick might solve your problem.
So, if you want to take your sight-reading to a whole new level, and want some tips that will help, or are just curious about what the future will hold for you, this book will definitely help. Definitely, definitely. And there are no Rain Man jokes in the book. Zero. Definitely zero.