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  1. #26

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    I’ll add my $.02. Practice reading in 15-20 minute intervals two or three times per day. Mix stuff you’ve got down with sight reading. Everyday (except Sunday- take Sunday off).

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  3. #27

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bach5G
    I’ll add my $.02. Practice reading in 15-20 minute intervals two or three times per day. Mix stuff you’ve got down with sight reading. Everyday (except Sunday- take Sunday off).
    Unless you play in a worship band for your local church.

    I've been doing that for a while and we read charts.

  4. #28

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    Yea... I did the gospel sunday thing for years... probable what got me into the R&B gigs. Not really much sight reading, but fun and I learned a lot...

  5. #29

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    Lots of good advice here, but I'm going to suggest something a bit different. Some will disagree, but my experience has been that with few exceptions (e.g. cold subbing in pit orch for national touring shows) conductors, MDs or band leaders don't pay much attention to how well you SIGHT READ the 1st pass through a chart (within reason...a train wreck is a train wreck). What they do notice is how well you PLAY the part on the 2nd run through, or 3rd max. The expectation is that you own the part after that, and are able to play it idiomatically, with the appropriate phrasing and dynamics. If you don't, don't expect a callback.

    I know a lot of gtr players who talk about having a stack of music that they read through 1 time and then move on. The problem with this strategy is that while you may get good at sounding all the right notes, you won't get good at "owning" a new part quickly or playing it well, and figuring out how to make it sound good on the fly. On that 1st pass, you're probably grabbing whatever you can, but as you're doing that, you're seeing the better path.

    Do a little self-test. Pick a piece you haven't played that you think you should be able to handle and sight read it at tempo (with metronome.) How did you do? Be honest 20%? 50%? 90%? Unless you nailed it perfectly, look it over for 1 minute, make whatever markings will help (in pencil) and then read it again. Keep doing this 1-minute read/analyze cycle until you have the part more or less perfected. How many cycles did it take?

    You may be discouraged at first is you find that it's taking too many reps to get there. You may need to scale down and work with simpler material. The goal is to be able to play any reasonable part near-perfectly in 2-3 passes. That may not be the "monster flyshit sightreader" we'd all like to be, but it's attainable for an adult (those monsters often start very young) and as a gtr player, it will put you ahead of a lot of the competition.

  6. #30

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    Quote Originally Posted by unknownguitarplayer
    Lots of good advice here, but I'm going to suggest something a bit different. Some will disagree, but my experience has been that with few exceptions (e.g. cold subbing in pit orch for national touring shows) conductors, MDs or band leaders don't pay much attention to how well you SIGHT READ the 1st pass through a chart (within reason...a train wreck is a train wreck). What they do notice is how well you PLAY the part on the 2nd run through, or 3rd max. The expectation is that you own the part after that, and are able to play it idiomatically, with the appropriate phrasing and dynamics. If you don't, don't expect a callback.
    Great points. What you say has been my experience too overall.

    I used to use any time before the run-throughs to mentally work out trouble spots, make sure I had the roadmap right, etc. It all helps.

  7. #31

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    You can use BIAB to generate solos in a jazz style to sight read along to. Infinite variations, you can choose tempos and keys and you can hear when you get it wrong.

  8. #32

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    Horn players rule when it comes to sight reading on the job.
    Play live . . . Marinero

  9. #33

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    Quote Originally Posted by unknownguitarplayer
    Lots of good advice here, but I'm going to suggest something a bit different. Some will disagree, but my experience has been that with few exceptions (e.g. cold subbing in pit orch for national touring shows) conductors, MDs or band leaders don't pay much attention to how well you SIGHT READ the 1st pass through a chart (within reason...a train wreck is a train wreck). What they do notice is how well you PLAY the part on the 2nd run through, or 3rd max. The expectation is that you own the part after that, and are able to play it idiomatically, with the appropriate phrasing and dynamics. If you don't, don't expect a callback.

    I know a lot of gtr players who talk about having a stack of music that they read through 1 time and then move on. The problem with this strategy is that while you may get good at sounding all the right notes, you won't get good at "owning" a new part quickly or playing it well, and figuring out how to make it sound good on the fly. On that 1st pass, you're probably grabbing whatever you can, but as you're doing that, you're seeing the better path.

    Do a little self-test. Pick a piece you haven't played that you think you should be able to handle and sight read it at tempo (with metronome.) How did you do? Be honest 20%? 50%? 90%? Unless you nailed it perfectly, look it over for 1 minute, make whatever markings will help (in pencil) and then read it again. Keep doing this 1-minute read/analyze cycle until you have the part more or less perfected. How many cycles did it take?

    You may be discouraged at first is you find that it's taking too many reps to get there. You may need to scale down and work with simpler material. The goal is to be able to play any reasonable part near-perfectly in 2-3 passes. That may not be the "monster flyshit sightreader" we'd all like to be, but it's attainable for an adult (those monsters often start very young) and as a gtr player, it will put you ahead of a lot of the competition.
    What is second run through? For that matter, what’s a Big Band rehearsal? Is this an American thing?

    TBF if you spend time playing in big bands you will see a lot of the classics over and over.

  10. #34

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    Third run-through?

    I play in a big band regularly, with monthly gigs. I've subbed occasionally in three others, which are mostly rehearsal bands.

    I'm not sure I recall even a "second run-through", at least not in the same night.

    Each of these bands has a massive book and the usual thing is to read through a tune and move on to the next one. Sometimes the leader will identify a rough patch, usually in the horns, and run through a section again. The gigging band has a core group of tunes, but often adds another, even on the gig. Most often, I've never heard the tune before. In no case have I heard the arrangement before.

    So, in this small corner of the music world, you're judged on how well you sight read the chart the first time with barely the time to glance at every page.

  11. #35

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    Quote Originally Posted by rpjazzguitar
    Third run-through?

    I play in a big band regularly, with monthly gigs. I've subbed occasionally in three others, which are mostly rehearsal bands.

    I'm not sure I recall even a "second run-through", at least not in the same night.
    Those gigs are usually just as you describe - just read chart after chart...once.

    Most of the times I had the 2nd run-through were for touring Broadway shows and such...which I have not done in many years!

  12. #36

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    I’m such a hardcore reader I don’t even do a first run through.

  13. #37

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    Quote Originally Posted by rpjazzguitar
    Third run-through?...in this small corner of the music world, you're judged on how well you sight read the chart the first time with barely the time to glance at every page.
    No argument. Dead-on cold reading is what we all aspire to, and often, as you and Christian describe, 1 pass through may be all you get. There's no substitute for the kind of steps you've recommended (e.g. Bowers, clarinet books, Niehaus) to learn to sight read. What I was trying to convey is that by practicing "once-through-then-onto-the next", you're only playing the piece with first impression fingerings and phrasing, and not refining execution or correcting mistakes. My suggestion was meant to exercise those skills in practice sessions, so that they eventually find their way into actual sight reading. YMMV.

  14. #38

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    Yea... "performance skills". Having technical skills together and knowing how to use them in musical situations, Gigs etc.

    Most of my comment were for the OP.... he said he could play... like better than me from the sound of it.

    So... he needs to still get the technical aspects of sight reading together. Some how I don't think he's covering any typical union gigs, BB's, shows etc...

    Hey Rick... I'm gigging too much already, Tuesdays, Fridays and sundays with bands like you sat in before with... PM me if you want to again.

  15. #39

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    Quote Originally Posted by unknownguitarplayer
    No argument. Dead-on cold reading is what we all aspire to, and often, as you and Christian describe, 1 pass through may be all you get. There's no substitute for the kind of steps you've recommended (e.g. Bowers, clarinet books, Niehaus) to learn to sight read. What I was trying to convey is that by practicing "once-through-then-onto-the next", you're only playing the piece with first impression fingerings and phrasing, and not refining execution or correcting mistakes. My suggestion was meant to exercise those skills in practice sessions, so that they eventually find their way into actual sight reading. YMMV.
    I'm afraid to take responsibility for a book that's all original and for which no backups exist. So, I will use my phone to take pictures of each page if I want to work on the tune. I can then print them out, producing an even lower quality chart than the well worn one in the book.

    With older big band charts there is seldom anything that's technically super difficult to play. That is, there are no blindingly fast passages. My difficulties usually center on 1. keeping my place in a chart with unfamiliar rhythms at high tempos; 2. making sure I don't confuse bass and treble clefs, because the guitar part often shows both; 3. following the written instructions which specify which parts of a combined piano/guitar/bass chart are actually guitar; 4. keeping count of long rests while I have to re-center the zillion page chart on a my finite stand (and I have wings and extenders).

    In my octet, with amateur arrangers and some transcriptions of more modern stuff, like Steps Ahead, there are sometimes passages that are physically hard to play. Then the problem is paying attention to multiple things at once. So, the chart may have a complicated roadmap, repetitive phrases that are specified by hashmarks (so that you have to read the first occurrence while keeping track of where you actually are in the chart), oddball instructions designed to save paper, odd and varying numbers of bars per line, no indication of what's going on in the rest of the band (a pro arranger will often have some info in the guitar chart about, say, who is soloing -- it's there so that, if you get lost, you can figure out where you are - an amateur arranger doesn't usually think about user-friendliness).

    You can practice this at home and that will help.

  16. #40

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    Reading the notes is relatively easy, playing the notes is relatively easy. Making the connection from eyeballs to brain to fingers is the hard part. I would suggest starting with the Real Book, read the notes, SAY the notes and play the notes simultaneously. The individual actions of reading, saying and playing reinforces each of the other actions. Start with the easier key signatures.

  17. #41

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    Quote Originally Posted by Litterick
    Humility is a great aid to learning.
    Yes very true, because the un-humble think they know everything, and therefore don't listen, and therefore miss opportunities to learn. Or they think they're better than someone else, which has the same effect, they don't listen; so they miss an opportunity to learn something. It is a funny thing that when you're truly learning, your mouth is generally closed unless you're asking a question.

  18. #42

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bach5G
    I’ll add my $.02. Practice reading in 15-20 minute intervals two or three times per day. Mix stuff you’ve got down with sight reading. Everyday (except Sunday- take Sunday off).
    Why take Sunday off though? Might as well just keep on getting better, right?

  19. #43

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    Quote Originally Posted by unknownguitarplayer
    No argument. Dead-on cold reading is what we all aspire to, and often, as you and Christian describe, 1 pass through may be all you get. There's no substitute for the kind of steps you've recommended (e.g. Bowers, clarinet books, Niehaus) to learn to sight read. What I was trying to convey is that by practicing "once-through-then-onto-the next", you're only playing the piece with first impression fingerings and phrasing, and not refining execution or correcting mistakes. My suggestion was meant to exercise those skills in practice sessions, so that they eventually find their way into actual sight reading. YMMV.
    Yeah, I think it’s good to mix it up.

  20. #44

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    In all fairness to guitarists, it is much easier to sight read linear music(horns) than chords and melody(guitar/piano). This is why the guitar was always referred to as the little piano. Written chord recognition is an essential component to the guitarist's ability to sight read charts. Play live . . . Marinero

  21. #45

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    Quote Originally Posted by Marinero
    In all fairness to guitarists, it is much easier to sight read linear music(horns) than chords and melody(guitar/piano). This is why the guitar was always referred to as the little piano. Written chord recognition is an essential component to the guitarist's ability to sight read charts. Play live . . . Marinero
    The thing that makes guitar hard and piano even harder, compared to horns, is this. The rhythms are written out within the staff, either as notes with x'ed heads or conventional notation but the chord symbols are above (sometimes below).

    So, the guitarist's eyes are moving to the right, but also up and down. When there's a fast passage of hits, it can be challenging to see everything you need to see (and decode it), fast enough.

    Horns don't have to do that. Pianists do, plus they have the left hand.

  22. #46

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    Classical guitarists are the best sight readers, so I am following their way. I have a graduated classical "axeman" friend, he suggested me a few books to go through and learn sight reading, so I do as he said.

    You also should check the sight reading books for classical guitarists beginning from 0, and go thorugh all those books. They really helped me a lot. Ah and yes, 1 hour daily will do the job, you can see the difference in just a few months...

    cheers,

    MrBlues

  23. #47

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    Quote Originally Posted by StringNavigator




    Precisely so, and beautifully embodied in:
    Mel Bay's Modern Guitar Method, Grades 1 to 7.

    Mel Bay provides the laboratory within which you can work the 3 skills outlined by reg. One can't read Charlie Parker if one can't read a Mel Bay primer. But, try not to be a perfectionist, or you may never get through it while life is happening around you. You can always review and redo it. For 7x$10 plus tax and lots of effort, one can find many opportunities to complement their chosen career with a musical sideline.

    Also:
    Practice Chord Spelling all qualities of chords while commuting on the train to determine where the accidentals fall. This will help you not just with notation, but you will use it when blowing through changes in a chord chart.

    The Musical Alphabet consists of 7 letters (...DEFGABCDEFGABCDEF...)
    Skip a letter to get the Cycle of Thirds: (....D.F.A.C.E.G.B.D.F...)
    Skip a letter to get the Cycle of Fifths: (....D...A...E...B...F...)

    Learning the Cycle of Thirds allows you to Chord Spell quickly and determine the Extension Notes of a 9th, 11th or 13th.

    When reading chord stacks, the lines are a third apart and the spaces are a third apart. So, the staff is solved by memorising the Cycle of Thirds.

    Then go on to the Cycle of Fifths. The Cycle of Thirds fits into the Cycle of Fifths. Here is the complete Circle of Thirds & Fifths.

    Attachment 82960

    From the Circle, one can quickly recite the Three Principal Chords of the Key, Secondary Dominants, Relative Minors, Tritone Substitutions, Upper Structure Substitutions, and the Notes in a o7 Chord/Augmented Triad/Major Triad/Minor Triad...

    Also, know the landmarks on the staff such as Middle C on the Ledger Line just below the Treble Staff. Realise that the sixth string's E, F, G, A, B notes on the lower ledger lines are really the abbreviated Bass Clef. And the upper ledger lines are the first string's A C E.

    The staff encompasses 23 notes ranging from the sixth string open E to the first string F on the 10th fret.

    3 Ledger Lines....ACE
    4 Ledger Spaces...GBDF

    4 Staff Spaces....FACE
    5 Staff Lines.....EGBDF

    3 Ledger Lines....FAC
    4 Ledger Spaces...EGBD

    NB. The letters repeat FACE & EGBDF.


    Also, memorising the gamut of each neck position and mapping them to the staff with your selected fingering system (Jimmy Bruno, Segovia, Johnny Smith, Mel Bay, Bill Leavitt...). They all work, but some are better suited for some playing situations.

    Playing by ear is essential, but reading music certainly adds a dimension of understanding and repertoire development, not to mention opportunities to work.

    It's eternal. The devil is in the details...

    ...
    Wow! What a well-thought-out and informative post, complete with cool illustrations and everything. Thanks man, a lot of food for thought there, that’s for sure.

    Also thanks to everyone who responded to my OP, even Reg; wink, wink lol. No seriously, even though I'm an advanced player who can really play already I actually really appreciated his posts a lot

    I'm new here, but this is exactly what I was hoping for here, a vibrant, very supportive community of jazz musicians. I feel like we should become an active community who really support each other, both online here at JGO and out there in the world when we meet/play together. That's what I intend to be as best as I possibly can. Further, I feel that this generation of jazz musicians, the ones who have paid their dues and can really play, should be out there forming bands and gigging as much as possible to try and expose more people to this great music, and therefore bring more people into the fold of jazz music appreciator's. Even endeavoring to expand the jazz audience by incorporating modern sounds into legitimate jazz improvisation and also fusing it, in a hip appealing way, with other forms of music.

    Also @StringNavigator since you brought it up, the only "devil" I've ever seen is the lack of love in people sometimes, towards others and even themselves.

    Keep jamming
    Last edited by James Haze; 07-03-2021 at 12:12 AM.

  24. #48

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    OK... now comes the time where you need to post some playing etc...

  25. #49

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    One more thing that works for me.

    1. Start at the last measure, perfect it.
    2. Go to the next to last measure, play the last 2 measures.
    3. Back up to the third to the last. play the last 3 measures.
    Keep on doing this till you get to the first measure.
    By now ( an hour later ) you will have read and perfected the whole tunes melody.
    Go back and add a few chords.

    May not work for everyone but it worked for me as a guitar player learning piano.

  26. #50

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    Quote Originally Posted by Reg
    OK... now comes the time where you need to post some playing etc...
    Coming soon my friend I assure you. The only reason you may have to wait is that I've been having a little trouble lately finding an amplification solution that sounds the way I want it to sound. I'm actually quite persnickety about that. I like real amps a lot, but I'm leaning now towards grabbing a top-notch modeling solution like either the HeadRush Pedalboard, Helix, or the almighty Fractal AxeFX III for the versatility and portability. Something that will cover the straight ahead, fusion, and also the classic rock and roll and bluesy sounds I'm into.

    I love jazz a great deal, but I have a feeling a rock and roll project is also coming soon. Jazz Jimi from Saturn has that in his bag too. I've been playing since I was 12 and started out playing & loving classic rock music + grunge/alternative, and then I heard a Pat Metheny Group record.
    Last edited by James Haze; 07-03-2021 at 09:49 PM.