Sunday, February 10, 2008

15. Progress Report (2 Months)

I'm now one sixth of the way through the year, and where do I stand? Well, progress continues, but it is still less than I had hoped for.

Some days I'll have a breakthrough, but it's always hard to tell whether I've gotten better or just hit a patch of easier songs.

For example, a few days ago I'd already put in my hours of practice, and was surfing the web for some new sight-reading tips. After looking through, and some other sites, I realized that though I've been working at recognizing intervals rather than pairs of notes, I should extend this concept further. That is, I should try to see all the music in terms of intervals. For example, instead of seeing this (treble clef):

as a a sixth with B in the bottom, followed by a third with E in the bottom, followed by a D, I should see it like this: A sixth with B in the bottom, then move up a fourth, and play a third, then move down one step.

The idea is to eliminate all note names as much as possible, and just look at the movements within the notes in the key.

I tried this out, and immediately saw an improvement! However, the next day my new skill wasn't as evident.

So I continue to slog along. I've read through an entire Presbyterian hymnal -- some of it reading only one hand at a time.

My middle back pain has gotten worse, so now it hurts on jazz gigs as well as during sight-reading practice. I'll be on a surfing trip in a month or so, so perhaps it will heal given a break in practicing. Until then, ibuprofen is my friend.


Anonymous said...


Very nice blog, thanks for taking the time to write it.
I don't know if you're using a digital piano or not, but if you are, do you think a MIDI software could help with your task?
i.e. it could tell you if you hit the wrong note or no, set the tempo, hide notes to force you to read ahead, track your progress, etc...


Al said...

Thanks, Yannick.

I do have a digital piano, and it's hooked to a computer via MIDI. I don't need any software to tell me when I've hit the wrong note, but perhaps there are some apps that would be useful.