Sight Reading for Rehearsal and Audition Purposes
C.M. Sunday © 2017
See: Music Pre/Post Test

I. Objectives
  1. To facilitate accurate sight reading skills through the use of learned procedures which are to become habits of mind.

  2. To develop the discipline to apply these skills under performance pressure.

  3. To construct an inner frame of reference on which to build more and more sophisticated skills as the student develops.

  4. To confirm and solidity these skills until they become integral to the inner thinking and translated into automatic action in performance, audition and other stressful circumstances.

II. Introduction:

This is a private music school for gifted children. Our four music teachers are trained both in the education of the exceptional and in their respective fields: two are string players and one of those is also a singer, one is a pianist/composer, and another is an oboist. All of them are professional, working musicians with graduate degrees and many years of teaching/performing experience. The classes we teach here, on an "as needed" basis, include music history, music theory, string ensemble, vocal ensemble, contemporary music ensembles of various sorts, music appreciation, and orchestra.

What we are trying to do in this setting is to foster the creativity of our students while at the same time encourage their sense of responsibility and professionalism. This is a high school but it based on Montessori and Suzuki principles, as many of our students have been educated in those traditions. Therefore, the creation of professional musicians is not our primary goal--the creation of happy, productive, creative individuals is.

III. Lesson Procedures:
A. Skills

It is considered that sight reading skills may be developed by mastering eight content areas and using one specific physical skill. Each content area will be covered carefully and thoroughly with the "eyes ahead" physical skill utilized in each content area. That is, the eight parameters of quick and accurate sight reading will be taught in the context of using the physical skill.

Content Areas
a. Key structure

b. Meter

c. Form

d. Tempo

e. Phrase shape

f. Dynamics

f. Articulation

g. Style

Physical technique:

When confronted with a new piece prior to a sight reading effort, either during a rehearsal or an audition, the scanning, or "eyes ahead" technique is necessary after an initial brief analysis period when key, tempo, and other primary foci are considered.

B. Psychological considerations

  1. Inner awareness. See video "Inner Game of Music."

  2. Inner hearing.

  3. Confidence building through daily practice.

  4. Audition rehearsals.

  5. Positive self-talk.

  6. What if the worse thing you can image would happen? So what?! (From Perls, Gestalt Therapy Verbatim, "What if all your catastrophic expectations came true?"

IV. Materials needed:
  • Circle of 5ths chart
  • Rhythmic sampling
  • Form diagrams
  • Tempo (conducting practice)
  • Shape in music diagrams
  • Dynamic chart
  • Articulation chart
  • Historical periods chart
  • Video Inner Game of Music
  • Video "The Orchestra" (Dudley Moore)

    V. Materials to Content Area Table:

    1. Key structure: Circle of 5ths chart: text book. Basic theory: scale and interval recognition, chord structure, cadences, major/minor tonality, modes, keys areas and modulation.

    2. Meter: Rhythmic sampling: text book materials.

      Grout 9th ed.
    3. Form: Form diagrams: listening and score recognition.

    4. Tempo: Conducting practice; batons and metronomes.

    5. Phrase Shape: Shape in music diagrams; text book.

    6. Dynamics: Dynamics chart; score recognition. (Overheads)

    7. Articulation: Articulations chart: computer graphics to creative articulation marks.

    8. Style: Historical periods chart: readings from Grout assigned in library references area; listening. Newest ed. of the Grout, 9th ed., Burkholder. Includes media resources.

    VI. Instructional Strategies:
    1. Approach each new piece in terms of meter, key structure, form, historical setting, biographical insight, or key data relevant to the work. [Academic focus]

    2. Call attention to and study commonalities between pieces with conducting patterns, rhythmic patterns, form analyses, dynamic shapes, or compositional techniques. [Academic focus]

    3. Reinforce theoretical learnings through repetition of key concepts within the context of similarly designed harmonic schemes. Use of computer programs designed for ear training and theory practice, as well as dbases, notation programs and CD ROMS. [Technological focus]

    4. Reinforce students' notion of their ability to hear, analyze, reproduce, and enjoy music of different periods and styles. [Humanistic focus]

    5. Develop character, sensitivity, patience and interpersonal skills through group cooperation. (E.g., the ability to both lead and follow, to assert one's own ideas as well as respond to the needs of the group, etc.) [Humanistic focus]

    6. Promote and inspire an interest in research by instigating "scavenger hunts" for musicological data. Use of common research tools such as Grove's, Harvard's, Baker's and biographic research strategies. [Academic focus]

    VII. Concurrent Objectives:
    1. To heighten awareness of human history through the pathway of music history.

    2. To make students aware of harmonic relationships, within the framework of traditional harmonic practice.

    3. To impart a good general, working knowledge of music history and theory.

    4. To facilitate an understanding of sightsinging and sightreading by means of an intellectual frame of reference.

    5. To enhance multicultural, multiethnic and multilingual sensibilities.

    6. To enlighten students' world view and the possibilities within that spectra by means of current technological developments.

    VIII. Evaluation:
    Pretest and Post test Strategies:

    A pretest is to be given at the beginning of the students' career at our school. Students should be told that it is for evaluation only, that they should just answer as many questions as they can and that after evaluation by the respective teacher, the test will be returned to the student with the instruction that an identical, through resorted test, will be readministered at the end of the coursework. In this way, the students will be enlightened with respect to the material which they are to learn over the three year coursework in music.

    Post tests are a more serious affair, as the students will be expected to pass with a certain number of answers correct. Second post tests can be given, however, if tutorials are needed. Generally this is not the case.

    While the pre- and post tests cover a much wider content area than the specific one addressed in these notes, the wider context can be seen to facilitate the sight reading goals sketched earlier.

    1. What is the difference between a major and a minor scale?

    2. Which composer was deaf by the time he wrote his 9th symphony?

    3. Name the four sections of the orchestra.

    4. The piano is considered to be a percussion instrument (rather than a stringed instrument); aside from the harp, name the four stringed instruments of the orchestra and their respective five groups, which comprise the String section.

    5. To what section of the orchestra does the oboe belong?

    6. What is a concertmaster, and what are his/her duties?

    7. What is A440?

    8. What does thorough-composed mean?

    9. Give an example of duple meter. (A time signature).

    10. Draw a 3/4 conducting pattern.

    11. Draw a staff and put a half rest on it.

    12. Draw a bass clef on a staff.

    13. Draw an eighth note with the flag up and one with the flag down.

    14. What is the definition of a measure?

    15. Name the five major periods in music history. Do you enjoy the music of one period more than another?

    16. What is the major difference between the violin and the viola?

    17. Name a famous conductor.

    18. What is a concerto?

    19. What is an opera? Name one.

    20. Give at least one reason for studying music. (Hint: the wrong answer is--because I have to for school).

    21. What is chamber music?

    22. Who wrote "The Messiah?"

    23. In what work can you find "The Halleluja Chorus?"

    24. What relation was Leopold Mozart to Amadeus?

    25. What is a reason that Amadeus Mozart died in poverty?

    26. Where did classical ballet originate?

    27. In what century did Stravinsky live? And where did he live toward the end of his life?

    28. What does polyphony mean?

    29. Contrast classical and romantic: do you think of yourself as more one or the other?

    30. What composer is the main link between the classical and romantic periods?

    31. What is art music?

    32. Give an example of ethnic music.

    33. Draw five accidentals. Tell what they do.

    34. What are the two basic scales in western art music?

    35. What are ledger lines. Draw examples above and below a staff.

    36. Draw all the sharps in the proper order.

    37. What is the typical arrangement of a score with respect to the instrument groups?

    38. Name some characteristics of Romantic music.

    39. Has it been proven that Pope Gregory wrote the Gregorian chants?

    40. Name some duties of a conductor.

    41. In what ways have 20th century composers experimented with music?

    42. Name some electronic instruments.

    43. Define melody, harmony, and rhythm.

    44. What is Grove's dictionary of music?

    45. What does a musical anthology contain?

    46. What is a metronome?

    47. Name four percussion instruments.

    48. Clarinets, oboes, bassoons, and English horns have what in common?

    49. Name five brass instruments. Where do they sit in the orchestra and why?

    50. How many players are in the following groups? Write the number above the name:

      Duet, Trio, Quartet, Quintet, Sextet, Octet, Nonet

    51. Name a composer famous for his piano compositions.

    52. Name five careers in music.

    53. Draw a staff and illustrate: perfect 5th, major 3rd, octave, minor second.

    54. What does the term Forte-Piano mean? (With respect to the history of a certain musical instrument).

    55. Name five characteristics of a professional musician.

    56. Define: Allegro, Largo, Piano, Fortissimo, Decrescendo. (Turn page over).

    57. What does projection mean?

    58. What is a trill?

    59. What is rubato?

    60. Define perfect and relative pitch.

    61. Define noise versus sound.

    62. What is the science of sound?

    63. What is serial music?

    64. What is a tritone?

    65. What are lieder?

    66. What is a V-I cadence called?

    67. What is the Mannheim Rocket?

    68. What is vibrato?

    69. What is ethnomusicology?

    70. Name ten composers of art music.

    71. In C Major, name the notes do, mi, sol, do.

    72. Draw a quarter note, a duplet and a triplet.

    73. What is the difference between a tie and a slur?

    74. Name a jazz musician.

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