I had never seen the music before last night. And they just expected me to sit down and play it!!
(Actually, I love sightreading so this didn’t bother me.)
Even though I’ve been sightreading for years, I still do certain things before I start to play. I thought I would share these “things” with you today:
1. Make sure you have the music open to the correct song. Yes, you would think this would be a no-brainer, but it never hurts to double-check. 🙂
2. Look through the music. When I do this, I look for the following items:
– Key signature – what key do I start in?
– Clef(s) – Do my hands start both in the treble or bass clef? Or are they normal?
– Time signature – Does the time signature change at all during the song?
– Tempo marking
– Repeats, D.C. al Coda, D.S. al Coda, codas, etc. – anything that means I have to jump around. If I have to go back to a Sign, I’ll always locate the Sign so I don’t have to search for it while I’m playing.
– Key changes – I don’t want to get thrown off or surprised by going to six sharps. I’d rather know ahead of time.
– Anything else out of the ordinary (unusual rhythms, notes cut off the pages, a capella sections, etc.).
3. After I look through the music, I ask the leader what they want the tempo to be. They usually will count or beat out a measure for me, which is very helpful.
4. Play away!!!
Don’t feel bad if you take a couple minutes to look through the music. The time you take at the beginning is worth it if you don’t have to stop or fumble through the rehearsal.
What else would you look for? Any fun sightreading stories?
This post is part of a series I’m doing this month called “On-the-Go Pianist.” Click here to see all the posts!