PracticePrompt Blog

An Extreme Sight-Reading Pre-study Checklist!

Posted in Sight-Reading by elwynrees on January 31, 2012

We are used to the idea of “Extreme Sports” so how about an “Extreme Sight-Reading Pre-study” Checklist? ¬†ūüėČ

Lately I’ve ¬†formalised my sight-reading practice into two tasks: firstly an away from the piano pre-study task of around 20 minutes. ¬† Secondly the play through at the piano.

The aim of the pre-study of the score is to really suck out as much information as possible.   This is completed prior to sitting down and playing through the piece at the piano.   I think that this skill is one aspect of what good sight-readers do intuitively and quickly.

To help this process, I started writing a check list of things that I must look for in the score during the pre-study. ¬† In recent weeks this has now evolved into the “Sight-Reading Pre-study Checklist” shown here and which has gone through several cycles of revision.

My experience using this has been very positive in that it helps to grasp and assimilate the score and keep focus during the pre-study of the piece. ¬†What has also been an eye-opener, is writing out the notes, staffs, scales runs, chords and so forth on the blank staffs I’ve put in the checklist. ¬† This greatly helps with the decoding of for example, the highest or lowest notes on each staff and those in particular with lots of ledger lines.

I’m finding it’s currently taking around about 20 minutes to go through a simple Grade 2 piece (ABRSM).¬†¬†¬† I’ve also noticed that the number of problems encountered during the “real” play through at the piano have reduced (and so I have dropped the ‘at the piano’ ¬†study task to 3 minutes).¬†¬† Any problems are noted down afterwards. ¬†The completed forms for each sight-read piece are available for¬†subsequent¬†review.

Further details and a link to a PDF of the checklist can be found  in the full article.  The checklist is in an evolutionary state and your thoughts, ideas and comments are most welcome!

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Practice Log for 30/01/2012 at 22:08:09

Posted in Captain's Log by elwynrees on January 30, 2012

A tricky sight-reading piece from Christopher Norton’s MicroJazz book1. Came together after a few repeats. The studies and peices went well….

Total practice time for 30/01/2012 : 88 minutes
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Practice Log for 29/01/2012 at 22:57:26

Posted in Captain's Log by elwynrees on January 29, 2012

Total practice time for 29/01/2012 : 26 minutes
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Practice Log for 28/01/2012 at 21:57:23

Posted in Captain's Log by elwynrees on January 28, 2012

Covered everything today. It all went well, studies, exercises, pieces and sight-reading.

Total practice time for 28/01/2012 : 103 minutes
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Practice Log for 27/01/2012 at 23:24:10

Posted in Captain's Log by elwynrees on January 27, 2012

Total practice time for 27/01/2012 : 111 minutes
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Practice Log for 26/01/2012 at 22:05:13

Posted in Captain's Log by elwynrees on January 26, 2012

Increased the tempo on some the studies and exercises… Scales seemed quite smooth today although the Bminor was a bit iffy at times…

Total practice time for 26/01/2012 : 47 minutes
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Practice Log for 25/01/2012 at 22:18:01

Posted in Captain's Log by elwynrees on January 25, 2012

Total practice time for 25/01/2012 : 60 minutes
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Practice Log for 23/01/2012 at 22:46:37

Posted in Captain's Log by elwynrees on January 23, 2012

Finished the Grade2 collection that I had been using for sight reading yesterday. So started on Christorpher Norton’s MicroJazz book 1 today. This went well and was great fun! I studied the score for 20 minutes (and then some) before playing through (which went well). I then practiced the piece and brought the tempo up. Not sure what ABRSM grade this collection is but one of the pieces was recently used at G2 in the ABRSM exams, so I’m guessing it’s in the right ball park…. The studies, exercises and pieces also went well. I started another cycle of scales around the circle of fifths and increased the metronome setting to 92. The sixteenth notes were the cleanest they’ve been at these higher tempi (for me!)….

Total practice time for 23/01/2012 : 80 minutes
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Practice Log for 22/01/2012 at 23:03:40

Posted in Captain's Log by elwynrees on January 22, 2012

Total practice time for 22/01/2012 : 60 minutes
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Practice Log for 21/01/2012 at 22:39:01

Posted in Captain's Log by elwynrees on January 21, 2012

Total practice time for 21/01/2012 : 85 minutes
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