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 Reading in "real time" on the Stick 
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Post Reading in "real time" on the Stick
I've been doing this pretty religiously for the last few months, and actually recently it's really started to take up, like 90% of my practice time. I always notice an improvement, a serious step forward after every practice session and the time it takes to learn and assimilate new material has decreased by quite a bit. Fretboard layout and knowledge has really gone through the roof. The other thing, is that I find that in the act of "sight-reading" the two clefs, I am forced to work on the independence aspect in a very focused manner. And no, becoming literate won't "hurt" anyone's ability to improvise and be spontaneous.

Now, I am already a pretty good reader on guitar, or bass and can even sightsing/solfege most single note stuff pretty easily. Piano style playing where dealing with two clefs simultaneously has been a real challenge, though... I am not a pianist, never have been so that's new. A lot of work, and quite a gruelling process sometimes. But extremely rewarding. I am curious if anyone else is pursuing the skill of "reading in real time". I'd love to read about your thoughts, what your "workouts" are etc etc...

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Thu Feb 16, 2017 9:49 am
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Post Re: Reading in "real time" on the Stick
Sight reading is great reading practice, and definitely helps with all those things you just described. When I was getting started on the Stick, I used to read passages out of my Music for Sight Singing book from college. It offered a great progression from getting started to more advanced, with both single line and multiple voice stuff.

I don't do it as much anymore, as I tend to be focused on other aspects of my playing, but I still pull the book out from time to time. There's a really great piano sight reading series that I use with two of my piano students that I think would work really well on Stick. The name escapes me right now, but the next time I teach them I'll try to grab a snapshot of the cover. Obviously there will be some things that don't translate directly to the Stick as easily, but that's half the fun in my opinion.

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Thu Feb 16, 2017 11:13 am
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Post Re: Reading in "real time" on the Stick
The_Afro_Circus wrote:
Sight reading is great reading practice, and definitely helps with all those things you just described. When I was getting started on the Stick, I used to read passages out of my Music for Sight Singing book from college. It offered a great progression from getting started to more advanced, with both single line and multiple voice stuff.

I don't do it as much anymore, as I tend to be focused on other aspects of my playing, but I still pull the book out from time to time. There's a really great piano sight reading series that I use with two of my piano students that I think would work really well on Stick. The name escapes me right now, but the next time I teach them I'll try to grab a snapshot of the cover. Obviously there will be some things that don't translate directly to the Stick as easily, but that's half the fun in my opinion.


Josh, hook a fella up! Lemme know what those books are. I am going through a huge volume of "note experience" at the moment, and am looking for new and different contexts...

Mirrored 4ths is fantastic for reading. Reading bass clef on an instrument tuned in 5ths is a bit of a nightmare, especially with the ledger lines. I have my Grand set up for that, (dropping the action a couple of mm made it so that my hand doesn't hurt anymore... and my Railboard in RMR. And I literally treat my Railboard as a completely instrument.

Note familiarity is something that I really, really took for granted on the Guitar; I am really working hard on knowing the neck as best I can so that I can translate what I already do over, only with some cool rhythm playing.

Everybody is different but so far for me, working on my reading has yielded the most "forward" improvement, especially getting warm and fuzzy with the bass clef as it pertains to the bass "side" on the Stick. I wish I had gone more whole hog with reading when I first began. Ahh well, live and learn. Sightreading on stringed instruments is all about position playing, and note familiarity so that one can easily shift positions as required. William Leavitt's Berkelee Books are excellent, Really handy resources.

I make my own stuff up in Finale to work on, but if anyone has some music reading material they know about that is appealing to a Stick situation, let me know!

I just read through "Hey Jude" "Here Comes The Sun" and "Nowhere man" "Carry On My Wayward Son" to finish off my morning practice. It is very satisfying to be able to quickly run down a few tunes without having to do much more than look at the paper, and play. No, they aren't totally beautiful Greg Howard or SA level renditions, but it's an excellent starting point. They sounded like the tunes, and didn't suck too bad for a first time "run through". Very cool.

Plus, Greg Howard's Songbook has the tunes arranged in "lead sheet" format. Which is very convenient also...

As I get more comfortable the arrangements will get more difficult.

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Thu Feb 16, 2017 11:41 am
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Post Re: Reading in "real time" on the Stick
Hey Scott,

I don't ever practice reading both sides simultaneously, so color me mucho impressed!!! For the past year I haven't done it very much at all, but I put in a fair amount of work on it for a while before 2016. I'm definitely not good at it, I can only read "real time" on the really simple stuff, and reading chords is still a "plink it out" affair- haven't applied any focus on that. But I've reached the point that tablature seems a bit "non-musical" to me now. I vastly prefer notes on a staff.

I agree- it's a great skill to work on. It's a huge benefit for the reasons you state and more. When I need to learn a written piece, I've reached the point where I can spend time figuring out _how_ I should play a passage (string/finger, managing transitions, etc.) rather than trying to locate notes on the board.

As for what my "workouts" are, I use sightreadingfactory.com for my practice material. You define what you want: instrument, key signature, time signature, clef(s), note range, difficulty, length, etc. Then it runs an algorithm to generate an original composition. The musical content is not bad- sounds musical enough, and occasionally it's even a bit catchy, but the big benefit is that it's always something I've never seen before. $35/year, which is a steal IMO. (Educators can pay more and get discounted linked "student accounts".) I usually use the iPad app, but you can also use it in a browser. They have a demo of some number of days that I don't recall, if anyone wants to give it a whirl.

Great topic!

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Thu Feb 16, 2017 11:43 am
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Post Re: Reading in "real time" on the Stick
The only time I sight-read is while recording. It's just the fastest way to get through a project. I'm not good at it, so some passages I'm reading in real time and others I'm learning quickly and recording as I go. Since I like to compose without any instruments, I'm usually playing parts for the first time when I'm recording them. If there's any long-term benefit, I think it's that it turns my focus away from the instruments and toward the music. Playing and reading are not my strengths.


Thu Feb 16, 2017 12:11 pm
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Post Re: Reading in "real time" on the Stick
I spent a looot of time reading out of this book for my first few years of Stick playing.


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Thu Feb 16, 2017 2:50 pm
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Post Re: Reading in "real time" on the Stick
Hey Scott, most of what I practice in sight reading comes from piano specific exercise books.
Have you ever tried those? I felt they did wonders from day one! Cheers


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Thu Feb 16, 2017 4:43 pm
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Post Re: Reading in "real time" on the Stick
I have all of the Royal Conservatory method books, and the Suzuki ones; Plowing through! :D

If it's got notes in it, it helps!

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Thu Feb 16, 2017 4:47 pm
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Post Re: Reading in "real time" on the Stick
Jayesskerr wrote:

If it's got notes in it, it helps!

Lol! Quite true! I got some pretty old books that belong to my 105 year old grandmother, from when she was a child.
Work like a charm ;)


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Thu Feb 16, 2017 4:54 pm
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Post Re: Reading in "real time" on the Stick
Arrghhh, you guys! :o
I feel like a complete luddite, but I can really see the value in it, if I could just get the time.
Though there was a time I could read simple classical guitar pieces, which I really enjoyed as a skill and ability.
I'll add this to my growing list of STICK stuff to do. :shock:

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