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"Finding a Place on the Page"


As students in grade school we spend years working on our ability to translate words we see on a page into spoken word. We have hours and hours of practice. It's easy to forget that our ability to read out loud was earned after a long and arduous journey. With this recognition, the amount of concern surrounding sight singing that I hear from students is absolutely legitimate. If learning to read had as many elements as a score does (not only pitches and rhythms but a key signature, a mode, a time signature, a tempo, dynamics, and for singers all of this is in addition to words or syllables!) Just like we did early in our reading lessons, we need a few markers to guide us.


The questions a young reader might ask could include the following:

Where do I start?

Where do I end?

Is there any punctuation?

Where are the spaces?

What is the content between the spaces? (What are the words?)

Go slow and steady for success on a first try.


Let's apply the same to our sight singing samples:

Where do I start? (When the key is clear, sing an ascending pentachord and a descending leading tone to feel established and then find the first note).

Where do I end? (Can the established pentachord or descending leading tone help me predict how the end sounds?)

Is there any punctuation? (How many phrases are there? Are there "restart"/major breathing points?)

Where are the spaces? (do I have any big jumps? What are they?)What is the content between the spaces? (What kind of stepwise motion do I have within phrases and between large intervals?)

Go slow and steady for success on a first try.

Most importantly, offer yourself as much practice time as you would devote to learning to read.

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© 2012 by Juan J. Rezzuto. All the tracks, scores and articles you can find in here are copyright.