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Stephen, Los Osos, CA
It has been awhile since I last posted.  I am just
starting into my 6th year of violin and wonder if
anyone else has run into the same problem I am
starting to experience.

For the first couple of years I struggled with technique
and elliminating bad habits.  Now I feel comfortable with
better rthym and intonation, as well as playing faster.  At least
in 1st position.

Presently, I am finding that my site reading is lagging behind
my playing.  I canít seem to read ahead of my playing as well
as I use too.

What would be a good exercise for improving my reading speed?

Stephen, Los Osos, CA
7 Responses
Posted: November 6, 2017
Last Comment: November 19, 2017

Sonia Lancaster
Posted: November 19, 2017

Practice makes perfect. Try to look at new pieces as often as you can. I was reading something about sightreading the other day, but I can't seem to find it now :( 

I think what I read said to tackle the rhythm first. Clap 2 bars in when you have fixed the rhythm really well. Then clap the piece of music. When you feel ok with that, look at the key signature. What key is it in? Play a scale and arpeggio. Now hum the notes, don't worry if they're not in tune. Concentrate on whether the pitch rises or falls. Now play the first note and hum or sing the piece again. Look out for repeats/accidental/dymanics as well. Finally try to play the piece. 

Stephen, Los Osos, CA
Posted: November 17, 2017
Thanks Beth!

I will try more complex reading.

By the way, I did step outside my comfort zone to sit in
with the San Luis Obispo Chamber orchestra here where I
live.  It was a very humbling experience.  It is supposed to be 
for amateur players, but a few of them are principles with the
paid symphony orchestra.  It was the first rehearsal for the season
and  I was told it would be site reading for Beethoven's 8th symphony.
I though it was a read along, but it really was playing the piece, just given
the sheet music.  Violin 2's of course, because they don't have violin 5's :-)
Well, I struggled to keep up and lost my place several times. It gave
a whole new meaning to site reading for me.  All in all, they are a very friendly
and encouraging group.  They did ask me to stay and play just what I could or
join them later when I feel I'm ready.  For now that would be a lot of work and
I need to improve my skills more.  I will try again next season. 


I am really not that accomplished at bow divisions, but with enough practice
with the single string and  no cross overs, it works out ok. 

Beth Blackerby
Posted: November 13, 2017
Stephen, I think the two things that slow reading down is complicated rhythmic patterns, accidentals, and lager line notes. I would just recommend combing through and try and read more complex music. It could be that your reading has stagnated because you're only reading music that is "playable" at a glance. Push yourself way outside your comfort zone, then "regular" music will seem so much easier. 

Like it's amazing how easy the Monday New York Times crossword puzzle is for me after puzzling my way through Sunday's.

Posted: November 12, 2017
Ah, the 1st 2 pages of Schradieck! I did that briefly, and then somehow it got lost in my pile of music. I'll have to bring that back out. I just finished working with Wohlfahrt OP 45 No 18 - another similar exercise -can only take that one in small doses because it's very hard on the untrained hand. I would rather work with Schradieck for this - thanks for reminding me about it. However, I am nowhere near being able to slur 32 notes to a bow! 16 is a struggle! You must have terrific bow division and bow speed control in order to do that.

Stephen, Los Osos, CA
Posted: November 12, 2017
Dianne & Jamie,

Thank you for the thoughtful suggestions.

I actual do not memorize anything, in fact I can not
play a single piece from memory.  So I have been reading all along.

I started playing faster after having spent a month of
practicing Shradieck Dexterity Technics.  This has been a powerful tool for me
to play longer slurs and keeping my fingers low near the strings. I can readily
slur 16 notes on a single down bow now and on a very good day 32. Very good days
only come around about as often as a blue moon though. 

This has helped me play 32nd notes and has steadied my hand as well
as executing shorter slurs. 

Here is the first page!

Jaime - Orlando , Fl
Posted: November 6, 2017
Stephen! So nice to hear from you!!!

Hope you are fairing well (including prior health issues)
My local teacher always insists....never try to" memorize" the exercises or etudes.... yet he have me work on any specific one  for  MONTHS if not OVER A YEAR!! Of course it would become like a "letany" I get tempted to play.... without reading....

Keep challenging yourself with new exercises.... persevere my friend! :0)
Prior to play latest challenges, I try to play  the scale in question... familiarize with finger position, then work through with the flats or sharps ... attack each measure at a time... tempo... intonation...

That's all I can honestly say... practice practice....  practice!

Posted: November 6, 2017
Hi Stephen, my 2 cents.. Play through mistakes and keep going. Find out at what tempo you are generally able to sightread and bump it up by 1 or 2 clicks so you are always reaching. Go to IMSLP and sightread pieces at your level, such as some etude books you don't yet own, or slow movements of accessible concertos. Sightread something as part of your practice routine. Basically, I think the more music you are exposed to, the easier it will get. I just crammed for 11 pieces, and it was hard, but it helped me. I just need to remember the orchestral approach of playing through, even in a practice session where I am alone. Congratulations on starting your 6th year!