Sight reading represents one of the skills necessary to develop for any Musician who intends to go a little further in his musical career. Although in countless working situations like concerts, recordings, auditions (Orchestras, Cruise ships, etc …), rehearsals, we will need this skill, often it represents a headache or demands a little extra concentration. With practice one becomes increasingly efficient in this task and is no longer an impossible mission to perform.
The 5 tips I share below have always helped me through the years to overcome any written music and many situations of tension in sight reading.
1- Visualization: this is an important point since many times the time we can have to start playing a score are minutes and besides need to be as efficient as possible, on several occasions we do not even have the instrument at hand when we are given the parts. The visualization implies imagining how the written music would sound, in which place of the instrument (fretboard) we should play it, which technique we should use, how to fingering certain passages, with what degree of difficulty we will find among several more details. Then when we start playing the part we will feel that the written music does not surprise us so much and we will be able to play with fewer mistakes.
2- Register: something very useful before starting to read/ play is to see which is the register that covers the score. ie the lowest note and higher note written. This helps us understand the range of the instrument in which we are going to develop.
3- Chord symbol: in many occasions we must read and interpret a chord cymbol and it is important to be able to make the selection of appropriate notes according to what corresponds. To do this, understanding what each symbol means and its respective implication is extremely necessary. In the post #11 – How to Correctly Write a Chord Symbol! (Part I)/ #12 – How to Correctly Write a Chord Symbol! (Part II) you will find more information about this topic.
4 – Rhythm: when find passages of rhythmic complexity that include syncopations, upbeats, slurs over the bar line, irregular figures/ metrics, among others, deciphering and singing them, helps to understand and later to be able to play them without problems.
5- Complex passages: find and visualize technically rhythmic/ melodic complex passages helps to ensure that written music does not surprise us. Also visualizing measures before and after these passages gives us the perspective of how to arrive and continue playing in a fluid way. In many cases to use some open string when possible gives us the possibility that passages with changes of positions and more extensive range, sound more friendly.
There are no excuses to start reading any score you find along the way. Until the next Post.