48 votes

Why don’t piano teachers teach the chord method of playing to young children and adults?

Just like there's pop, rock, folk, jazz, metal, etc. guitar, there are many different disciplines of piano playing, each with a different set of required skills: classical piano pop piano jazz piano ...
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46 votes

Should sight-reading be emphasized less for piano instruction with new developments in technology

You added a different flavor of this question in the comments: i think the spirit of my question was, has anyone found that using newer styles or technology for reading music advanced their students ...
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  • 51.5k
43 votes

What's left for musicians to learn if they can sight-read?

Being able to sight-read even very difficult pieces is certainly a great skill to have. But there's a lot more to any piece of music than just the dots. There's interpretation - which may consist of ...
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  • 174k
42 votes

Why are accidentals not just indicated next to the note in sheet music to make sight reading easier?

It is related to "chunking", once you are used to keys, it is easier to quickly understand the single chunk "This piece is in G major" instead of having to see and interpret each of the individual ...
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  • 17.5k
35 votes
Accepted

Is it really mandatory to practise sight reading at the piano?

Yes it is really important to practise sightreading. Being able to sightread well makes it much quicker to learn new pieces and eventually possible to play pieces reasonably well without having ...
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  • 20.9k
35 votes
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Notation - when to use staccato vs rests

I endorse Aaron's and Richard's answers, regarding what staccato means conceptually. This answer is mostly to provide some examples and details as to how staccato will typically come out in the case ...
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30 votes
Accepted

I sight read at 20 bpm, and not getting any faster

The advice about starting slow and gradually increasing is certainly not wrong, but I'd consider adding another "mode" of practicing especially when it comes to sight reading. So the default mode is ...
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  • 4,083
28 votes
Accepted

Is it better practice to read straight from sheet music rather than memorize it?

Very simply, playing a song from memory is one very useful skill, whilst being able to sight read is another very useful skill. It sounds like you have a wise teacher who is giving you a balanced ...
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27 votes

Should sight-reading be emphasized less for piano instruction with new developments in technology

Using sheet music is like reading Latin, converting it to English in your head, then playing English on the piano. Well, you probably never really translated Latin, at least not in a good way. ...
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  • 5,750
26 votes
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How do experienced pianists sight-read chords?

Many different ways! Some players who are extremely good readers will simply look at the dots and their fingers will automatically land on the correct keys. Others, like myself, will be expecting a ...
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  • 174k
25 votes

Is it ok for a choir to learn by listening?

I'm in a high school choir and we just got a new teacher. He is adamant that we don't listen to rehearsal tracks or recordings, because "real musicians don't." Is there merit to this? It's certainly ...
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23 votes

Why are accidentals not just indicated next to the note in sheet music to make sight reading easier?

It wouldn't be easier to read. Firstly, most instruments are not tied into any particular key signature. A simple sequence like someone singing/playing a scale in E major and someone else singing a ...
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  • 231
23 votes

How do I improve in sight reading?

We ALL found that hard at one point: counting up from the F and down from the G. You need another reference-point, and there IS one. The note on the second leger line above the treble clef is a C and ...
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21 votes

Are Piano Stickers for Keys good or bad?

I cannot find any research on the topic, only various anecdotes from different teachers. There are some common threads: A downside reported by some teachers is that the labels can become a crutch ...
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  • 51.5k
20 votes

Notation - when to use staccato vs rests

The core difference is that eighth notes/rests and quarter notes/rests (etc.) are durations; whereas, staccato marks are articulations. While it's true that staccato affects the duration of the note, ...
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  • 56.9k
19 votes

When you read sheet music do you read the notes or the intervals?

We get to a point where we do NOT look at a dot, think 'that's a D', then find it on the instrument. And it could be any instrument. We often see how many lines or spaces (or combinations thereof) ...
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  • 174k
18 votes
Accepted

How can I help a piano student who doesn't slow down to read the notes

I understand that anxiety can cause a kid to freak out a little and start "flopping" the fingers, but I won't allow it to continue. I stop them and maybe do one measure at a time, or even one note to ...
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  • 5,484
18 votes
Accepted

How should I write this passage to make it the most readable?

Certainly not the first. The second is unobjectionable. But why not the third? It's the standard notation, and is just fine.
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16 votes

Is it ok for a choir to learn by listening?

"real musicians don't." Is there merit to this? As you have stated it, so bluntly, this assertion has no 'merit'. Countless great musicians - including jazz folks, not just rockers - have learned to ...
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  • 6,713
16 votes

How do I improve in sight reading?

I'm struggling with the idea that you are considering taking grade 8 when you still have trouble recognizing notes on a stave. If that really is the case I think you may need to step back and put in ...
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  • 4,821
16 votes

Should sight-reading be emphasized less for piano instruction with new developments in technology

Every musician knows that sheet music can be frustrating at first, but almost everyone has spent quite some time learning it. I've met literally dozens of people (students, fellow musicians etc) that ...
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15 votes
Accepted

Should these notes be played as a chord or one after another?

The notes happen simultaneously, but it’s notated this way to indicate that two independent lines are happening. The A E F G moving line should sound distinct from the octave-doubled line. This will ...
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  • 17.9k
14 votes
Accepted

How do I read bars with only one or two notes?

There isn't any rhythm in that tab. In the absence of any rhythm, and with the numbers written with even spacing which provides no visual hints at rhythm, I would just play even values per bar. In ...
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13 votes

Is it recommended to practice sight reading by "feeling out the music" instead of counting

Yes, with reservations. If I encounter a bar with four crotchets, I don't count them. I know what it's going to sound like; I don't need to go 'one, two, three, four'. If I encounter a bar with a ...
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  • 9,479
13 votes
Accepted

How to do Jumps while sight reading

Apart from years of practice, which will bring this sort of ability out naturally (eventually), there are a few things you can do in order to help the process along: One is learning to play scales ...
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  • 2,623
13 votes

I can't sight-read at intermediate level

As with anything, it will improve with practice. And, as with anything, you should tailor your practice to the problem you're having. Since your problem is looking down at the keys, devise a practice ...
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  • 78.8k

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