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Matthew Martinez
Matthew Martinez

Sight Reading Mastery For Bass Guitar Exercises NEW!

In a modern world where we have instant access to guitar tablature, YouTube videos, slowdown software, lesson apps and midi, what is the value in learning to fluently read music on bass guitar?

Sight Reading Mastery for Bass Guitar Exercises

The problem with many other sight reading texts is that the student quickly memorises the study pieces that are included, however, Sight Reading Mastery for Bass Guitar cleverly avoids this problem.

As I read through the book, it reminded me of the kind of sight reading I did when I started learning guitar as a classical guitar student. The cool thing about the exercises is that he builds on the logic of the open position, string by string and gradually increasing the difficulty as he adds more notes and more rhythmic subdivisions.

The book in uncompromising. It does what it sets out to do. This is not a book that you pick up for fun, but a book that you will study on your music stand daily to challenge your sight reading, musicality and technique.

Some of the exercises can be boring at the beginning, but patience rewards those who embark on this journey. I really liked the challenge of reading passages when he introduces rests and more syncopated phrases. As we go into the later part of the book, the etudes get really challenging especially when you get to the higher register and larger interval lines.

Music Crab (iOS version here) takes gamification to improve sight-reading skills to whole a new level. With fun underwater graphics and notes in the guise of various sea creatures, it could make a nice break from the more studious apps while still providing some worthwhile exercises. As with most games, the better you do, the higher level you can access for more difficult exercises and challenges. If you need to get a young musician to practice sight reading, this is the app that can do it.

Abstract--This study was intended to examine whether differencesexist in the motions employed by pianists when they are sight-reading versusperforming repertoire and to determine whether these differences can bequantified using high-speed motion capture technology. A secondary questionof interest was whether or not an improvement in the efficiency of motioncould be observed between two sight-reading trials of the same musicalexcerpt. This case study employed one subject and a six-camera digitalinfrared camera system to capture the motion of the pianist playing twotrials of a repertoire piece and two trials of a sight-reading excerpt.Angular displacements and velocities were calculated for bilateral shoulder,elbow, wrist, and index finger joints. The findings demonstrate theusefulness of high-speed motion capture technology for analyzing motions ofpianists during performance, showing that the subject's motions wereless efficient in sight-reading tasks than is repertoire tasks.

Pianists are frequently confronted with situations thatnecessitate adequate sight-reading skills. This widespread need forsight-reading at the piano may be due in part to pianists' participationin collaborative music-making, as professional pianists often sight-read inthe course of collaborating with other musicians or accompanying choralensembles. The size of the piano literature also contributes to the need, asthe repertoire is so voluminous that no one player can be familiar with allsolo and collaborative pieces written for piano. Recordings of pianoliterature tend to be restricted to the most well-known and familiar pieces,and recordings of pedagogical piano literature, in particular, are sparse.

The nature of sight-reading varies widely. The pianist might havea few minutes to examine a score or might have to read the music with littleor no preparation. In any case, the sight-reading task may be viewed indirect contrast to a repertoire task, in which the pianist has engaged inweeks and often months of cognitive and physical training, thus gaining ahigh level of familiarity with the music being performed.

Sight-reading entails a number of demands that can bedistinguished from those inherent in the performance of practiced repertoire.Basic elements that must be attended to during sight-reading include:

In addition to these basic constructs, there are also more subtlecues--such as maintaining balance between the hands or attention toperformance practice--embedded in the music that may or may not be renderedin a sight-reading attempt based on the experience and musical sophisticationof the instrumentalist.

Prerequisites for successful sight-reading include the ability torecognize musical patterns, generate a large-scale performance plan to governperformance of the piece as a whole, and anticipate how the music continues.(1) In addition to perceiving and decoding aspects of the score, successfulreaders must anticipate problems while continuing to observe musical markingsand evaluate sight-reading execution in order to correct the performance asnecessary. (2)

Piano sight-reading poses a special visual challenge. Looking atthe musical score must be balanced with the need to look at the hand andfingers to accurately place them on various parts of the keyboard in order toplay correct pitches. The pianist easily can lose his or her place in thescore as the eye moves and refocuses. In contrast, rehearsed performancetypically negates the visual difficulties of score reading, as memorizationis common practice. Performance of practiced repertoire allows for freerecall of musical materials and physical mastery of requisite motor skillpatterns. Each time a repertoire piece is practiced, the pianist makes moreinferences about correct pitches and other musical details. (1)

Underlying all of these cognitive and physical considerations isthe daunting constraint of sight-reading with continuity, in"real-time," without stopping to decipher the written score orcorrect mistakes. Maintaining a continuous rhythmic pulse is paramount. Themusician must keep playing during sight-reading, even if he or she executesnotation improperly.

Cognitive studies on sight-reading to date have primarily focusedon determining what internal processes successful sight-readers use incomparison with those musicians who are less skilled or less experienced atsight-reading. Studies in this area to date have focused primarily on eyemovements, (3-5) pattern recognition and "chunking" musical detailsinto larger perceptual units, (6,7) and perception of musical notion within alarger context. (8-10) Cognitive/perceptual studies have addressed theprocessing work done by the brain during the sight-reading task, rather thanexamining physical motions.

While motor execution has not been the primary focus in theaforementioned types of studies, several studies focusing on cognition duringthe sight-reading task have considered motor patterning outcomes in relationto cognitive processing. There is some merit to the traditional and intuitivepedagogical notion that the best way to improve sight-reading ability is toengage in sight-reading activity. Both performance accuracy and consistencyof fingering correlate positively with expertise. (11) Expert pianosight-readers develop rule-governed patterns of motor response in theirfingers that are utilized on recognition of familiar visual notationalpatterns. As expertise increases, musicians are able to combine movementsinto variable patterns that appropriately execute musical notation.

Skilled motor performance in any human endeavor rarely consists ofrigidly programmed motor sequences, where each individual movement arisesinvariably and inflexibly from the prior movement. Shaffer (12) noted thatexpert pianists were able to develop a mental plan that specificallyaddressed the intended sight-reading outcome and employ a flexible motorprogramming system that efficiently enacted the required muscularcontractions. It is thus apparent that skilled sight-readers have betterdeveloped and more flexible motor programming patterns when sight-reading attheir instrument than do novice sight-readers.

Even for those players with this advanced motor programmingability, it is likely that sight-reading is more physically awkward than theperformance of repertoire that has been previously practiced. In theirexamination of pianists learning new repertoire, Halsband, Binkofski, andCamp (9) found that as players moved from the beginning stages of workingwith a piece to more advanced interpretive and expressive phases, theperception of the task changed. Motor skills were less efficient during theearly learning phases of a piece. As pianists began to perceive progressivelylarger metrical groupings as a result of practice, their motor patternsbecame increasingly more efficient. Just how these motor sequences becomeingrained in pianists or other instrumentalists remains a question forfurther research.

As can be seen from a review of the literature, physical motionduring sight-reading has not been a focus of research. Many pianists andpiano pedagogues have asserted that they find the experience of sight-readingto be more physically taxing than performing or practicing repertoire pieces,and some further suspect that excessive sight-reading can expose pianists toinjury. William Westney (13) encapsulated this belief, saying: "There iscertainly a direct link, though it has been little discussed, betweenhigh-level sight-reading and performance injuries."

This widespread perception underscores the unique challengesinherent in sight-reading, which until now have not been investigated from aquantitative scientific perspective. The purpose of the present study was toidentify whether the use of motion-capture technology can identifyquantifiable differences in the motions made by pianists when sight-readingversus performing practiced repertoire. If these differences do exist, thegoal is to describe these differences and draw conclusions regarding motionefficiency based on the quantified data. Inefficient movement may contributeto muscle and tissue fatigue and pain and is often viewed as a factor in thedevelopment of various injuries. A secondary question examined whetherdifferences in motion can be observed from one sight-reading attempt to thenext, which may demonstrate adaptations of motor skills resulting from asingle reading of a musical excerpt. 041b061a72


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