Sight Reading Workshop Survey Results

Michelle Aalders circulated a survey At our May 17th meeting, which featured a panel discussion about sight reading.  These are the results to the survey conducted:

Sight-reading Survey SRMTA Saskatoon 2017

  1. Do you consider yourself a good sight reader? Yes/No (please circle one)
    • Yes- 12 people
    • No- 2 people
  2. If you answered yes to #1- how did you become a good sight-reader?
    • Sight-reading a lot of music for fun
    • read through a lot of repertoire
    • “no idea”
    • playing in church/hymns/reading chords
    • playing in church at a young age
    • accompanying choirs & soloists
    • necessity/played at church/spontaneous sing-alongs/no notice to prepare/accompanist for singers& choirs & instrumentalists often on short notice/learned from Boris Berlin
    • variety of repertoire, especially church music/accompanying
    • playing for a choir/church
    • lots of learning music in a short time/always new scores/mostly chamber music/accompanying
    • accompanying/especially modern pieces
    • Piano Kids/Leila Fletcher/ABC
    • 4-Star, hymn reading, teaching
  3. If you answered no to #1- why do you think you are not a good sight-reader?
    • emphasis placed on learning repertoire
    • teacher didn’t emphasize it
    • “I am a non-fixed pitch instrument”
  4. What method did you use as a young student to learn how to read music?
    • Leila Fletcher/John Thompson
    • 4-Star
    • sight-reading and rhythm every day
    • 4-star
    • John Thompson
    • Michael Aaron/read as much music as I could
    • Leila Fletcher
    • Kelly Kirby Method
    • kno lo pla/Bastien
    • sang everything by ear until university age (17)
    • “sight-reading was only done a few weeks prior to examinations- and that was to be done only at home”
  5. What are some of the books you use with your students for sight reading?
    • Music Tree Activities/Piano Adventures Sight-reading books, Winning Rhythms, I Can Read
    • Music/Barbara Siemens piano workbooks/4-Star/Bennett & Capps
    • Melodia- complete sight-reading/solfege sheets that they generate/movable do
    • various easy duets/pronto pizazz/methods with duet parts (like Alfred Premiere or Piano Adventures)/rhythm cups (from website “compose/create”)
    • 4-star/supplementary material- easier music
    • RCM sight-reading/random books from my music library
    • Bastien/Four Star/Dozen-a-Day
    • Cora Ahrens/Frederick Harris
    • 4-Star/anything
    • sight-reading/rhythm every day/ Piano Adventures/Flashcards & Books
    • 4-Star
    • lots of ‘Pop’ music/Disney movie music/ for older students- any music that has a lot of accidentals & dynamic changes/prior to exams I use the new Sight-reading books put out by RCM
  6. If you are technologically savvy, what are some of the apps you use for sight reading?
    • piano maestro/rhythm lab/rhythm cat/rhythm cat 2/note rush/flash note derby
    • perfect ear
    • flashnote derby/rhythm cats/read ahead/rhythm cats
    • flashnote derby/mynotegames/note rush
  7. What are some of the techniques you use when asking a student to sightread?
    • cover up the music as they read it, so they look forward/give quick studies- one new piece
    • every week from a beginner method/play with CD so that if they get lost, they need to look
    • ahead and come back in/intervallic reading/chord shapes/ count off before beginning/name the key before beginning/look for patterns & changes in position/set a slow tempo
    • identifying chords/key/patterns
    • look over the music generally-time signature/key signature/work out difficult notes/highest & lowest notes/playing duets/counting difficulties such as dotted rhythms & irregular rhythms
    • find the key/correct breath before beginning
    • identify key of the piece/sing up & down the scale on syllables/identify the starting pitch
    • look at the music first & emphasize not stopping
    • duets at an early age
    • patterns/known already- e.g. broken triads, pentascales/technique 1 learned from Boris Berlin/doghouse game/flash cards/sight-reading games
    • slogans/intervals-steps & skips/magnet board
    • decide key/look at chords & triads of the keys/clap rhythm of piece/think ahead & keep going
    • try to see the picture- focus on melodies & barlines/less importance given to textures
    • cover the bars they are playing: eyes forced forward/count aloud for organization & fluency; use metronome/ visualization/audiation/play on lap/encourage expression & phrasing above all
    • looking ahead/patterns/key/rhythm
    • find a metronome tempo they can do (they set it)
    • key- basic chords- V-I/set the tempo, then fit the notes into that
  8. Please add any additional comments about sight-reading that you think might be helpful:
    • Christmas carol arrangements-expressive reading/modern pieces open minds to patterns & keys & rhythmic groupings
    • “I think it is important to teach this in connection to musical pieces, even simple ones (learn holistically)- e.g. phrasing, shape, tones (words, breathing)”
    • think of the whole piece
    • students are encouraged to sight-read their theory/have students play duets or accompany an instrument at sight
    • start small/be consistent/occasionally use simple, but well known tunes (e.g. Star Wars)
    • “I encourage my students to ‘play’ all types of music during holidays like Christmas, Easter, summer. I don’t encourage students to actually ‘practice’ during holidays, but to enjoy anything that they choose.”
    • “I enjoyed the workshop- going to incorporate in my studio”

More internet resources for teaching

As a follow up to the last post about piano teaching on the internet, I thought I’d make another short list of a few more great resources for information on the internet.

  • If you’re on facebook, there’s lots of great resouces to check out.  There are a number of groups on Facebook that piano teachers can join.  It can be exciting to hear ideas from piano teachers all over the world! Here’s our page.
  • Another place to check out is the website Colour in my piano.  This is another page with some great resources.
  • Thirdly, check out your local library’s website.  The library has great online resources, awesome books, and you can request books from anywhere in the province and pick them up at your local branch.

SRMTA Convention 2014 – day two (Cedar Room)

Whilst some of us were having fun at Knox, there was more activity at the Parktown as well!  The morning was extremely interesting – attendees enjoyed Post-Romantic and Contemporary Style followed by a Masterclass on Teaching Chopin’s Most Popular Works by Marc Durand.  Later, Mark Durand and Thomas Yu did a clinic on The Piano Teacher – This is Your Life.

Marc Durand Masterclass

The AGM luncheon started with a great performance by Whitney Mather and Karen Reynaud.

Convention 2014

Penny Joynt won the 2014 SRMTA Outstanding Achievement Award.  Congrats, Penny!

Convention 2014

After lunch, another Masterclass: The Senior Student: Haydn, Debussy, Beethoven and Grieg.  Look how well attended it was.

Convention 2014

The conference ended with The Journey from Here with clinician Marc Durand and Pianist Thomas Yu.

Thomas Yu and Marc Durand

It was an excellent conference, and thanks to all the folks who worked so hard to put it all together.

SRMTA Convention 2014 – day two (Knox)

Another exciting day at the SRMTA conference!  There was much going on today, and I’m sure the teachers had difficulty deciding what to go see.

At Knox United Church, the morning began with Phoebe Voigts, who gave a great lecture:  Motivating Our Students.  A great topic for all teachers!  The photo is of the attendees warming up our voices.  Members of the Saskatoon Children’s Choir were present to show us how it’s done.

 

Warming up at Phoebe Voigts' clinic

Following this at Knox, Mary-Lou Fallis and Peter Tiefenbach’s first Masterclass of the day was: Performance Skills: Expression in Folk Songs and Contemporary Literature.

Mary-Lou Fallis and Peter Tiefenbach

After lunch, we returned for another excellent Masterclass: Performance Skills: Expression in French and German Art Songs.

SRMTA Conference 2014 – day one

The first afternoon of the SRMTA conference was great! We had four great lectures – Two by Dr. Thomas Green (the RCM 2015 syllabus and From Excellence to Artistry: Building an Elegant Technique).

Dr. Thomas Green

Presenting also were Noreen Wensley and Karen King with their lecture  In the Key of “Now”: Junior Piano Pedagogy from a Multi-Generational Perspective.

Noreen Wensley and Karen King

Finally, at Knox United Church: Twenty-First Century Voice: Bel Canto and Beyond by Dr. Helen Pridmore. What a great way to start off the conference!

Hope to see you all at the Fallis and Tiefenbach concert in half an hour!

Convention 2014

Announcing the SRMTA Fall Convention and AGM 2014!

Inspiring the Next Generation – October 17th and 18th, 2014 in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan

The convention is going to be a great experience.  You can read about the workshops, masterclasses, and other events planned in the documents linked to on this post.  You will also find the events in our events calendar.  We hope to see lots of you out at the conference in the fall!

To Register, you can download this registration form. Full registration is $140 before the early bird deadline of July 2, 2014.

Here you can look at the schedule for the conference.

Read about Marc Durand by clicking here.

Read about Mary Lou Fallis and Peter Tiefenbach.

Piano Teaching on the Internet

There are some great resources out there about teaching music. Here’s a few links to some useful sites:

The Royal Conservatory of Music has information about exams, a blog, and much more.

Also, there are many blogs about teaching piano, and here’s a few good ones:
Teach Piano Today
Diane Hidy
The Canadian Piano Teacher

There are many other great websites about music and music teaching. What are some of your favorites?