Tuesday, December 10, 2013

I Give Up! -- Or Do I?

[January 6, 2014: After writing this, I've changed my mind.  I'm not going to give up, although I'll be spending less time on sight-reading.  I've been working on a book which is based on this blog, and it made me realize (1) how much I want to be a good sight-reader and (2) how much progress I made.  From now on, I will concentrate primarily on reading modern/pop type music, and not try to get better at hymns or classical pieces. So read the rest of this post with that in mind, and watch for my book on Amazon.  It will be entitled "Become a Great Sight-Reader -- or Not!"]

That's right, I give up.  I apologize to any of you who have been inspired by my quest, but I have decided that my brain is just not wired for sight-reading, and pursuing this any longer is not a good use of my time.

Note that my reading has improved, and instead seeing this as "giving up," I could have framed it as "I've improved my sight-reading enough, and now I'm going to move on to other things."  But that's not how it feels.  After almost six years of concerted effort, I still don't read very well.

I'm quite sure that I did everything right.  I practiced diligently for thousands of hours (literally) and I worked with an excellent teacher, but it just didn't happen.  It is pretty disappointing, because I had really looked forward to being a good reader, and a good all-around pianist.  OTOH, I am pretty happy with my jazz playing, and the extra time I have to devote to jazz tasks (e.g. new licks, memorizing more tunes, working on my sound, transposing, transcribing, listening, technique, etc.) is already paying off.

I still practice several hours per day, I'm just not devoting much time to practicing sight-reading.

In farewell, I hope that you have better luck that I did with this pursuit.  Thanks for all your comments over the years.

- Al 


Evan R. Murphy said...

Oh no!

Samantha said...

Hi. I've been reading keeping tabs on your blog since I started practicing my own sight-reading. It has always been in my bookmarks. I just wanted to say that I appreciate how you've shared your journey online. It has helped me manage my own expectations and this last post, is another poignant reminder. Thank you again.

rob stephens said...

I've followed your posts with great interest. I understand your reasoning and commend you for the progress you've made. Your journey is inspiration to many. I would encourage you to not view this as a zero-sum endeavor, but a journey, and at some point, one you'll take up again when the time is right.

Marco said...

Hi Al,
don't give up!
I was browsing around to see what kind of material is available on the internet as I intend to create a sight reading class and I stumbled in your post...
I'm going to read your book, I'm very interested in knowing your experience with "prima vista".
Your insight may reveal precious in deciding how to approach my course.
Maybe after I read the book we could have a chat and exchange opinions.
Best of luck.