Saturday, December 10, 2011

Progress Report (4 Years!)

Whoa -- I've been working on this for four years! Hard to believe.

I've worked pretty hard on sight-reading during this last year, mainly because I've been taking lessons. In the last six months in particular, I've felt like I'm finally gaining traction, and seeing a faster rate of improvement. Check out this post for a description of what I've been working on, and advice about what has helped my playing the most.

Here are some recordings to give you a feeling of where I stand today.

I've been using the first tunes below for all my progress recordings, so of course it's not strictly sight-reading anymore. Also, I've read through my hymnals many times, so although I don't remember the tunes, I have played them before.

This is how I played Hymn 296 after three months of sight-reading.

This is how I play it now, after four years of sight-reading.

After three months.


After three months.


Here is a hymn from a Methodist hymnal that I just got from the library. I have never played it before, but it's possible that the same song is in the other hymnals I've worked with.

This is what it sounds like when I play it.

Here is a non-hymn tune from a library book. I've never played this, nor do I recognize the tune.

This is how I sound when I play it (BTW, I'm aware of the the rhythmic errors I made).

Finally, I've mentioned that one of the benefits of my sight-reading work is that I can practice tunes and get better at them without actual memorization. I read through this song a bunch of times each year, though I've never worked on getting it close to perfection.

Click here to hear me play it.

And you can hear my regular playing in my most recent Christmas Video.

That's it for now. Thanks for all the words of encouragement. I'm hoping that I'll make faster progress this next year -- see you then!


Richard said...

I am 27 years old and picked up learning to play the piano a year ago. I am also having trouble with sight reading and have been surfing the web for tips. I must say that your perseverance and patience inspire me. I will also try out numerous tips you mention. Thank you.

Unknown said...

It's great that you've started posting again. It's really inspiring and you give some really good advice. its one of my regular daily reads. Keep it up!

Anonymous said...

Wow 4 years! That is so inspiring! I have been practicing sight reading every day for the past 3 months but it is very discouraging because progress is so slow. Your blog gives me motivation to keep going

Anonymous said...

Thanks so much for keeping this blog going. It's very inspiring in my own sight reading journey. Keep it up!


Murf said...

Hi Al. You have inspired me during my struggle with sight reading. I passed my grade 5 sight reading a painful period daily sight reading from a beginner level like you. I had read your blog frequently to keep me going. And now, I can finally sight read grade 5 without much thought. It was a terrible nightmare but all well worth it.
Thank you.

By the way, I have sight read (practice) for 200 hours. For those who want to know how much of your life you have to sacrifice for grade 5 sight reading.

Sharon said...

I couldnt believe it when I saw your copy of the Christmas song. I had the same one from my aunt, but one of my dogs ate it! I have been looking for this one for over a year!
I tried to fix it, but its a mess.
Please can you tell me where I could get the same copy again.
I have to play it for a church concert on xmas eve.
Thank you.

Anonymous said...

It's from the Reader's Digest Merry Christmas Songbook. HTH!

Sharon said...

Thank you so much - I was only given a photocopy of that song.
Now I can go and buy a good copy online.
Merry Xmas.

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