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Tips on reading...?
i would like some help to improve :P
Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 (1 votes) 
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Nokturne
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September 30, 2013 - 11:26 pm
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Hellooooooooooo!!!!!!! been awhile!!!! :) And well, im messing around still with the violin hehe, improving a bit more here and there, and well, this is my question this time, could anyone give me a couple of hints and tips in order to improve my reading skills? I can now read scores but takes me forever to do...and end up playing by ear, which at times is useful but others is quite messy, so i'm quite stuck right now with it, because i want to play new songs but since i'm lacking on this apartment, i go nowhere :(

Because life is like a violin, with the need of a violinist

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Tyberius
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September 30, 2013 - 11:49 pm
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Hi Hexdragon, there are a lot of helpful tools out there. here is Fiddlerman's. its a fun little addictive game style learning tool.

 

http://fiddlerman.com/fiddle-l.....ring-game/

 

If you are unable to consistently read music, per say,  there is alternate forms of music you can play. Have you ever heard of Notation? Within minutes, as long as you know the 4 strings, you can play music. It has the 4 strings (spaces) and what finger to set down. There are other basic symbols, but what I said will get you going. I don't recommend using this all the time, but when you get frustrated, pick up a nice piece in fiddle note and let it carry you away. I collect them when I can and they are easy to find online.

 

Here's a sample......

 

 

Amazing-Grace-notation.jpgImage Enlarger

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"I find your lack of Fiddle, disturbing" - Darth Vader

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RosinedUp
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October 1, 2013 - 12:04 am
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Hexdragon said 

I can now read scores but takes me forever to do...and end up playing by ear, which at times is useful but others is quite messy,

Ear playing is an amazing skill, and if I had to give up either reading or playing by ear, I would give up the sheet.  However in the context of learning to read music, I have to consider it cheating.

The stories in your first-grade reading book were not as important as the reading skills you gained by reading those stories.  They were probably not stories that you had heard before, and I don't expect that your teacher explained the stories to you before you were required to read them.  So ...

I would say to play easy pieces that you don't know.  That forces you to figure out what the sheet is telling you to play.  And I would say to choose some pieces that you don't care much about.  It's good to check your work against a recording or a teacher, though, after you are pretty sure you've got it right.

Don't worry too much about how long it takes to learn a piece now.  Keep doing it and you will get better at it.  Think more about the reading skills you are trying to grow than playing the particular piece in front of you.

Later on, you'll probably be using all the skills you have, including ear playing, to learn a piece that you love and want to perform for others.  Try to recognize that that isn't necessarily the same as learning to read music.

Or so goes my opinion.

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1stimestar
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October 1, 2013 - 1:16 am
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Egads it took forever for me to learn to read music.  At first I would put the letter and number over the note like A2.  I don't recommend doing that though as it just prolongs the necessity of actually learning to read the music.  But it does get you actually playing faster if you need a pick me up.  I don't know at what point it clicked, but one day I was just reading music.  My fingers knew what to do.  I guess just like anything else, practice practice practice.  Good luck and hang in there.  

 

Opportunity is often missed because it wears suspenders and looks like hard work.

 

Alaska, the Madness; Bloggity Stories of the North Country

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RosinedUp
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1stimestar said
Egads it took forever for me to learn to read music.  At first I would put the letter and number over the note like A2.  I don't recommend doing that though as it just prolongs the necessity of actually learning to read the music. 

My guess is that teachers ask their students to do that as proof the students are able to correctly translate the dots to the letters.  Do sight readers hear or see the letter names in their minds as they are reading the dots?  IDK, doubtful.  Certainly advanced readers don't mark up the sheet with the letters.

To me, that and other supposed "shortcuts" and "learning tools" such as tablature, ABC notation, marking the sheet with fingerings, and using finger tapes are side tracks that require learning in themselves and distract from the main things to be learned.

There are reasons why standard staff notation has been dominant for hundreds of years.  I don't believe that it's mainly because of any supposed relentless enforcement by any hypothetical musical powers that be.

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1stimestar
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October 1, 2013 - 2:52 am
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Nah, my teacher told me not to do that.  I did it anyways, at first.  But yea, it did form a habit that had to be broken.  

 

Opportunity is often missed because it wears suspenders and looks like hard work.

 

Alaska, the Madness; Bloggity Stories of the North Country

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DanielB
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October 1, 2013 - 3:00 am
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I tend to view TAB or ABC notation as systems in their own right and not as just learning aids for learning standard notation.

Back when I used to use TAB on guitar for learning bits and exercises, it was sometimes shown in parallel with standard notation.  I don't feel I picked up much if any standard notation reading from that.  I learned to sight read standard notation by focusing on learning to sight read standard notation (that was for piano).

Any system one decides to use for notation has to be learned and worked with, if one wants to be able to use it fairly well.   Each has it's advantages and disadvantages.   It's a matter of choice, really.  I personally think the ideal is to be at least reasonably conversant with all the popular methods of notation for the instruments one plays, since that makes for better communication with other players, regardless of the system they happen to use.

But any of them beats the heck out of none.  So long as you can jot down a musical idea for later use or learn a new piece by reading what someone else has written down, that is the primary advantage of reading.

To get better at reading whatever your choice of notation is, do a lot of it.  The more you do, the easier it gets.  "Training wheels" tricks like writing the string and fingering over the note.. Well, I suppose it can be "ok" at first, so long as you understand you have to take those training wheels off to get good at it.  In the long run, I personally think you're better off just tackling reading and playing without such "helps" right from the beginning.  It might be a little rough for a couple weeks, but if you stick to easy stuff at first, you'll be fine after that couple of weeks and won't need to bother with such stuff.

"This young wine may have a lot of tannins now, but in 5 or 10 years it is going to be spectacular, despite the fact that right now it tastes like crude oil. You know this is how it is supposed to taste at this stage of development." ~ Itzhak Perlman

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Fiddlerman
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October 1, 2013 - 7:42 am
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I recommend going back to some simple basic beginner books and just read the easy stuff for improving sight reading. Some people are blessed with the ability to sight read, kind of like some people are great with math and it all makes sense to them right away. Learning to read music requires that you do it a lot.
When I first wanted to learn to type, after learning where all the keys were, I took a book and just started typing what I saw without looking at the keyboard.
Once I decided to learn the 10 number key pad and did it by opening the phone book and typing numbers as long as I could for so many days that I could do it lightning fast without missing any numbers.
Before a big audition back in the day, I would prepare for site-reading by reading my orchestra excerpt books in tempo without stopping no matter how many mistakes I made. The idea there was that on an audition you can't stop just like you can't stop while playing in an orchestra.

I wanted to develop a music reading program for the violin but with a real violin fingerboard = keyboard but that was too costly for my pocket. :-(

"The richest person is not the one who has the most,
but the one who needs the least."

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sunshineb
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October 1, 2013 - 1:17 pm
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hey there @Nokturne!

like you, playing by ear comes more naturally to me than playing by sight....

but, over the years and with much practice, I've been able to get to a point where I feel fairly comfortable.  so here are some of the steps I took/take....

1.  I know it can be boring and not everyone will agree with me, but learning your scales is HUGE!!  so....  for example since the lowest note you will play on the violin is a 'G', I would find a printout of 'G major' scale (treble clef, remember) that spans 2 octaves.  Then, I would map out where those notes fall in 1st position according to your violin finger chart (you may already know your fingerings fairly well, but thought I should include this step anyway).  then, PRACTICE moving up and down the scale as you watch the notes on the sheet so you become comfortable with where the notes fall in that key.

2.  learning to read music is as much about how it progresses as what the notes look like.  take a look at some different pieces of sheet music and start to look at the patterns the notes make.  FOR EXAMPLE.... they start low on the staff and climb from line to space then return in steps back down (ie. GABC DCBA GABC DCBA), or they move from a lower note to a higher note repeatedly (ie. GD GD GD GD) or, they climb for 3 on lines only and then repeat the pattern (ie. GBD GBD GBD GBD).  once you start noticing different patterns in the piece, start trying to play just the patterns you find (repeat each one quite a few times) so that you can start to associate what each pattern looks like to how it sounds.

3.  learn what 'intervals' look like.  the term 'interval' is used to describe the distance between notes and gives that distance a numeric name....  if that makes sense.  for example (and you may want to find or draw a staff to follow along with this explanation), if the first note in the piece is a 'G' (second line from the bottom on the treble clef) and the next note you see is a 'B' (third line), you would count the 'G' line as 1 or 'first', the space above it as 'second' and then your 'B' (on the next line) would land on the 'third'.  SO, going from that 'G' to the 'B' above would be an interval of a 'third above'.  likewise, you would do the same for each set of 2 notes learning what each interval is named and what that looks like....  for example, start on a LINE and moving up to the next SPACE would be a 'second above', starting on a LINE and skipping both the next SPACE and LINE and moving up to the next SPACE would be a 'fourth above', and the first note on the third LINE of the staff ('B') skipping the LINE below and moving to the next LINE below ('D') would be a 'fifth below'.  play these once you begin to recognise the intervals by sight and you will notice how they sound and feel.  some people relate the first two notes of a tune to remember how each different interval sounds

second above.... "Doh a deer, a female deer" 

third above.... "Oh when the Saints go marching in"

third below.... "Swing low, sweet chariot"

fourth above.... "Should auld acquaintance be forgot"

fourth below.... "I've been workin on the railroad"

fifth above.... "Twinkle, twinkle"

sixth above.... "my bonnie lies over the ocean"

.....well, you get what I mean!  you can figure out more if you find this helps.

4.  Rhythm.  find some resources that help you learn the value (how many beats or counts) each note gets in a measure of music.  use some sheet music you have around (and aren't familiar with) and start going through them in 4 or 8 bar sections.  sometimes clapping or tapping the notes/rhythms out works better than trying to play with the notes at first as that way you can just focus on the rhythms without getting caught up on whether or not you are playing the correct notes.

5. learn to play in different keys.  in step 1, you started with a 'G major' scale.  learn some different key signatures (remember with those, they note the sharps or flats you will use at the beginning of the piece only.  throughout the rest of the piece, for the most part, you will stick to using those every time you play the corresponding notes throughout the piece -unless it is changed by a natural sign).  try moving up to an 'A major' or 'D major' scale next as those aren't too difficult to play on violin (for now, i'd recommend sticking with the major scales/keys).  *remember to try to move up and down 2 octaves if you can so you get more familiar with what the notes look like on the entire staff.  also remember you will have different sharps or flats to think about in each key, which is why sometimes it is a good idea to focus on playing in one key until you are quite familiar with it before moving on to another.  you have a good ear, so it will probably tell you if you miss one of those sharps or flats.

anyway....  my response was ridiculously long, and won't answer all your questions, but it's a good place to start anyway!  good luck!  ;)

treble-1226crotchet-1218semiquaver-1214crotchet-1218semiquaver-1214violin-studentblurry_drunk-2127lumpy-2134violin-studentviolin-1267

 

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HDuaneaz
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Not sure if I already said this, but when I was young 11, to 16, our teacher didn't really teach us much theory. The only key I really understood was C major. We always warmed up with a one-octave c-major scale starting on the g-string. He did teach us counting of course.

 

I know that is hard to believe, but he may have described it once. The only teaching we got from him about vibrato was the one time when he described how it works. There were 2 or 3 in our high school orchestra that had vibrato and could play in maybe 2nd or 3rd position. I am sure they had a private teacher.

Despite what I just said. I do appreciate our teacher because I believe without him I would not have had the chance to even play the violin. I couple of years ago I wanted to contact him and thank him, but he had passed away.

 

I never really understood how to site read until I taught it to myself when I was in my 40's.

 

I started by learning the different key signatures, and I drew out on index cards the fingerings.

Duane

 

"Violin is one of the joys of my life."

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Nokturne
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October 1, 2013 - 9:06 pm
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YAY!! So many things to do :D :D thanks thanks, gonna start to work with each of your suggestions right away! thanks!!! :D

Because life is like a violin, with the need of a violinist

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RosinedUp
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sunshineb said 

play these once you begin to recognise the intervals by sight and you will notice how they sound and feel.  some people relate the first two notes of a tune to remember how each different interval sounds

@sunshineb IMO that's a great way to unify ear playing and sight reading.  

There's a fairly complete list of examples here:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/E.....ognition  One can make flash cards with the names of tunes on one side and the name of an interval on the other side.  Knowing the sounds and notations of these intervals leads to sight singing ability.

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