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Topic: Progressive exercises for piano sight-reading?

  1. #1

    Progressive exercises for piano sight-reading?

    I'm looking to improve my piano skills, particularly when it comes to sight-reading.

    I do a lot of professional work as a conductor, where piano competency would be a major help (not to mention how much it would improve my composition process).

    I play piano every day for my jobs, and improvise regularly while composing, so I know my way around the keyboard. I took several years of piano lessons as a child, and I studied composition through a master's degree--so I *understand* just about any piece of music you put in front of me, and (to an extent) I can hear it in my head. My brain gets it, but my fingers
    don't always get the message.

    In particular, my left hand needs work (it seems capable only of playing 5ths, octaves, triads, and 7th chords in simple voicings and rhythms), and I could use some help on hand-independence--especially playing interesting LH rhythmic patterns underneath a melody.

    I know that the first answer to this question is "just sight-read a lot" and the second answer is "use a metronome, don't stop for mistakes." I will try all of this, but I wondered if anyone can recommend a specific, progressive set of exercises (or books/software/etc.) that is a little more structured than the needle-drop method. Any advice from personal experience would be helpful.


  2. #2

    Re: Progressive exercises for piano sight-reading?

    Practicethe left hand with Hannon Exercises. Master one a week and use it as a warm up before playing even on jobs. Read Hym books (left hand only) for about thirty days. It may sound silly and childlish, but when alone make yourself count out loud while practicing the left hand with Hyms. Only read piece once and then move on to the nest one. Start at the beginning of the Hym book and work your way through to the end. Never play a page twice. When you finish the book, then do the same with the right hand. When you have gone through the book with both hands indvidally then on the third time thorugh use both hands to gether. Playing the wrong note does not matter, but playing the wrong rhythm does. If the note are wrong only a few people in an audience will notice. If the rhythm is wrong every in the band/orchestra and the audience will notice.

    This comes from some one who began as the worlds worst sightreader. I am now much better at it. The Hyms made the difference. Especially, when I had to play them in church.

    Another method is to pick about 100 rhythmic patterns and master them. Try to pick the most common one. Again a Hym book is good for that. Also, mastering one time signature at a time is most helpful. 2/4, 3/4 and /4/4 the rhythmic patters will be basically the same you'll just have one additional beat in each respective time signature. 3/8, 6/8, 9/8, 12/8 the same thing applies.

    This like building a house out of bricks. You can only put in one brick at a time. If you work consitently you'll soon have one wall up and then two. Next thing you'll know is the whole house is done. Remember brick laying is hard work.

    P.S. I teach private piano. My students leave playing a song the first lesso even if they have never played before.
    Last edited by Samantha Penigar; 02-15-2007 at 06:49 AM. Reason: Additions

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