What's the standard approach to sight reading a new piece?
We usually just start by diving in and reading the notes one by one. That's how I used to read music on guitar and it was agonizing!
This approach means that we don't see the forest for the trees. And just like in language, individual notes in music combine to form words and sentences. If you're not seeing those, then you'll be forever stuck reading the individual 'letters' of music.
My boy is 3 now and can read individual letters quite well. But if he were forever stuck in this phase, then reading fluently would never happen. Just like we do when we're young, we must transition from seeing individual notes to understanding the larger structures of music. This is the trap that I see many guitarists facing and I hope this checklist will help you get started in seeing the larger structures in music.
Click to download
Use this checklist before sight reading or learning a new piece
Here is the checklist applied to Gavotte by Shand
(click to download)
Learn more about sight reading and follow a proven path that helps you become a fluent reader
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Dr. Daniel Nistico is a passionate performer, author and educator who specializes in the performance practice of 18th and 19th century guitar music. Daniel's teaching and research aims to revitalize the concept of being a well-rounded musician, with emphasis on topics like harmony that can lead to deeper musical understanding and provide tools for composing and improvising.