Lately on the Music Psychology Linkedin group there has been discussion regarding skills the mind accomplishes while studying music, and specifically sight reading. [There was also discussion on how this may prevent Alzheimer’s]. When we sight read, we make split second decisions. Mary wrote an article on the topic a few years back… located it and will paraphrase a few of the main points.
…sight reading is comprised of several key concepts and processes, slowly and methodically learned. The main processes are:
A – reading in columns
B – picking out chord notes
C – memorization
D – playing what you have memorized while you repeat the above steps A, B and C.
Harpists, and any musician reading or playing from a grand staff (pianists, organists, conductors), must learn to read in columns. [ ] Those who read a grand staff must look at each beat, see all the notes, basically commit those notes to short term memory, and play them while simultaneously looking at the next beat.
[ ] Picking out the important notes, usually located on the downbeats, will anchor you and give you stability while you are reading music that is new to you. What are the important notes? Usually the 1st, 3rd and 5th degrees of the main chords in the key of the song you are working on. To read the full article, click on “SightReading1” below which will give you a PDF with illustrations. Additionally, there is a brief You Tube on the subject.