Why am I so bad at sight reading?
I've tried to learn, but I'm still horrible. Whenever I try to sight read a song I memorize it before I can sight read it.
- RobertLv 56 years agoFavorite Answer
Sight reading takes practice. Get random sight-reading books, or just songbooks in general, and try to sight-read it once before playing it through and hearing what it really sounds like. It will be a little disappointing at first, but you will get better.
With that said, there are two typical strategies singers use to sight-read. (If you're not a singer, ignore this, or maybe peruse it for your own curiosity.)
Solfege: Everyone knows what the major scale sounds like--they sing it in "do re mi" from the Sound of Music. Most musicians also know what minor scales sound like as well. To sight-sing using solfege, the first thing you do in any piece is find the tonic (that is, the "do"). You find this by looking at the key signature, then by looking at the last note--you can usually determine what the key of the piece is just by these two things. (To be explicit: the last note is usually the tonic, and the key signature will tell you whether it's major or minor.)
Once you know what the tonic is, sing the scale based on that tonic once. Then sing the scale again, but this time stop at your first note. From there, go ahead and try to sing the song.
Once you're comfortable sight-singing using solfege, advanced solfege will throw accidentals at you. To modify solfege to accommodate accidentals simply means to go a half step above or below the expected scalar pitch whenever you see a sharp, flat, or natural.
Another portion of advanced solfege involves accommodating key changes by resetting your mental scale every time you change a key. Often the first note in a new key signature is also the tonic; this makes it easier to change keys.
Solfege is usually the easier of the two sight-singing strategies to pick up, but it is also the more limited of the two, as it faces challenges when singing non-tonal music, or music with very frequent key changes.
Interval: Sight-singing by intervals means to associate each interval in music with an appearance of that interval in a song you're familiar with, and then use that song as a tool to help you memorize what that interval sounds like. Then, you simply start on the first note of the piece, and just sing each interval you see.
For example: some common songs that are used for interval association are: Perfect 4th going upwards = "Here Comes the Bride"; Perfect 5th going upwards = "Twinkle, Twinkle"; Minor 6th, both upwards and downwards = "Theme from 'Love Story'"; Major 6th going upwards = "My Bonny Lies Over the Ocean"; Octave = "Over the Rainbow", etc.
Basically find a famous song you are thoroughly familiar with, for every interval, and use that to help you memorize what the interval sounds like. Then after you've memorized all, or at least the most common, of the intervals, then you can use that to sing.
Interval singing is more challenging to learn than solfege, but it has an advantage in that once you learn it you're usually a better sight-singer than those who learn solfege, because you won't find chromaticism to be all that challenging.
- Anonymous6 years ago
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I live in New York City, I wanted to go to a singing teacher but that would have cost me over $1400 per month. Good thing with this internet, $1400 it's a lot of money for me.
- RockItLv 76 years ago
Because you don't practice reading.
Its not about learning. I assume you know the notes and notation for reading music. So, that's behind you. Now, Its about reading.
The more you read, the more you will get better at it. You should read sheet music every day whether your instrument is with you or not. You have to push yourself.
- Anonymous6 years ago
It is not a disease or like that you can overcome it by practice of few days do you know the fact practice makes man perfect but it also applied on woman dear.So start from right now and tell me on next week what is your position.
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- Doctor JohnLv 56 years ago
join a 4 part choir, especially one that performs unaccompanied. You'll find your reading skills will improve rapidly.
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