Six Months of Sight Singing
It’s been about six months since I got Samuel Adler’s Sight Singing book and began to work on sight singing for an hour each morning. It’s a bit more time now, since I added some SmartMusic time, too.
My motivation for sight singing has been ear training. Of course there is a world of things to do with the voice (lessons, tunes, choirs, intonation focus …), but I’ve managed not to get sidetracked so far.
At first I did some experimentation to figure out how to learn this difficult skill. Here’s what I’ve wound up with.
- At the keyboard. Practice from books. Use the Postit Flag Method with lots of flags for the main texts. The Adler and Ghezzo books are my holy grail. But I bought about 8 more (used!) books to keep things varied. Ignore rhythms. Learning to sing the notes is plenty tough for now.
- SmartMusic. After about 4 months I had a real drive to add rhythms to my singing. But that adds complication to the job of checking myself at the keyboard. That’s time consuming and I didn’t want to take away from the current focus of just getting the notes right. So I started to sing through the sight singing books on SmartMusic after my usual session at the keyboard. These books are a huge step back in difficulty as far as finding the notes goes, and that’s just perfect considering the new challenge of singing in time.
So what’s the current status? I’ve made loads of progress. Based on the pace of the various textbooks, I’m much slower at learning this than a college music major would be. Possibly slower than anyone else in the world. But it’s happening. Would anyone be inspired to follow my example based on what I can do now? Probably not. We’ll see again in another six months.
Regarding tangents, I had hoped that by getting a workout every day, the quality of my voice would improve. Maybe it has done so, but you wouldn’t want to hear me sing a song. I know that some lessons would help, but there’s just not time for them right now. One day …