5th November: Getting some sight-reading practice in!

We were pleased to welcome back Levon Chilingirian and the Piatti Quartet to the Purcell School for Chamber Music Academy. As this was the second session, all the groups had already started to get to grips with the notes so they could really focus on playing together and creating the right sound for their piece be it Brahms or Boccherini. One groups however, decided to take on the challenge of sight reading through a Haydn Quartet…

As a musician, being able to quickly get to grips with a piece of music is important. Some people do seem to have an enviable natural talent for sight-reading, but it is also something that can be learnt. It is a very daunting experience to be sight reading a piece when you’re playing in a small ensemble as playing one person per part is very exposing. So how can you make it easier?

  1. Set the tempo as a group. Sure you might be able to play your crotchet bass line at Haydn’s original tempo marking, Allegro con spitito, but you take into account everyone’s part. Have a discussion about it beforehand.
  2. If you’re going to fluff it, finger it. On first glance, some passages can seem impossible. Have a look before you start and you may find that putting some fingerings in could make it so much easier, it might not of course and this is when private practice is key!
  3. Don’t stop counting. There are lots of things to think about, but, your internal metronome needs to be clicking. It’s more important to focus on rhythm than the pitches to stay together with the rest of your group.
  4. Just don’t stop! This is easier said than done. Don’t mourn over a tricky passage or let it embarrass you into not continuing
  5. It can be very easy to forget what is going on in the other parts when you sight-reading something. It will help you to know how your part fits in with everyone else.
  6. Read ahead. This is possibly the hardest skill to master when sight reading, but it can be one of the most beneficial to see and prepare for what is coming up next.

The Piatti will be joining us for the next 2 session before the Christmas Holidays finish along with Garfield Jackson of the Endellion Quartet.20161105_115848_resized.jpg