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Improving Sight Reading

Discussion in 'Ask David Overthrow' started by matthewbrown, Mar 9, 2008.

  1. matthewbrown

    matthewbrown Supporting Member

    Jan 7, 2003
    Harwich, MA, USA
    I recently auditioned for an agent, and the most important part was sightreading along with a click track. I was...disappointed with my performance, but passed the audition. I find that my sight reading is not up to my own standards, nor do I really feel I can lay down a good pocket while reading anything that is rhythmically complex or which changes a lot. Also, when I do shows, I run into many problems keeping track of all the cues, tempo changes, etc.

    I would appreciate some pointers about
    1. Finding challenging material that's worth working on
    2. How important developing sight reading is in a major city
    3. Tips to improve practicing reading

  2. Hi Matthew. I have three recommendations for challenging sight reading material. Firstly, the Simandle bass books have been a staple for bassists whom wish to develop their sight reading skills. Secondly, The Simandle book is good but not very rhythmically challenging so I would highly recommend getting a bass clef real book or a Charlie Parker Omni book, either of which would help you read some rhythmically challenging music. Thirdly, I'd probably get a hold of a few Bach Cello Suites that are transcribed for bass. They would further develop your reading skills and you would also be playing some great music. In the end, read anything you can get your hands on.

    With regard to the importance of developing your sight reading skills, I think of music as a language. Let's take the English language. You don't necessarily need to read the language in order to speak it; however, if you do read the language you can communicate with others who speak the language more easily. You don't have to be able to read well to be able to play well, however, reading music allows you to learn pieces more easily, write charts for groups, and to be exposed to music from any part of the world. Reading certainly has its benefits and also can make you money by sight reading charts on gigs and also in recording studios. . That fact that I read well has helped allow me to author 9 bass books, shoot instructional DVD's, online bass lessons, write charts for my band, make good bucks by reading charts on gigs and studio sessions. I'd take the time to develop your reading skills.

    The best way to improve your reading skills would be to read as much as you can. If you read from different sources, such as classical, jazz and pop you will encounter different challenges from each genre in terms of rhythms, melody and technical facility.

    Hope this helps.


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