Pan thinks I should see someone for my worrying. I keep thinking that I don’t have a serious enough problem to need a professional to examine my head. Actually, I was offended the first time he suggested it because it’s one thing to joke about being crazy, but another thing for someone else suggest that you’re damaged enough to need professional help. I always assumed that if I manage to get myself married I’ll need couples therapy or a shaman or whatever they go to to fix marriages, but not now – not for something as seemingly insignificant as worrying a little too much.
For my next stage of life, I decided that I want to travel spontaneously. There will be a gym bag in my closet packed with clothes and a toothbrush for last-second trips. I will drive to remote islands to lay underneath the stars on my SUV’s roof and grab my surfboard when I feel like it.
I will be away from my piano so often that my fingers will not be as light for Liszt anymore, but I will befriend someone who plays a ukulele so I can enjoy live music during my travels. I will still tune my piano every year so I can play whenever I can.
Pan and I spend hours waiting in the emergency room for a scan he has to do and while I’ve done more exciting and pressing things in my life, I’d also rather know that my best friend is okay. I am writing this on my phone in the emergency room and thinking back to all the times my piano students had trouble sight reading. Ironic, but I really liked the non technique parts of a music exam—sight reading, ear testing, clapping, you name it. It felt like a game to me.
Sight reading is the skill that lets you learn a piece of music the first few times you play it.
Some genres of music rely so much on playing by ear and improv that a lot of musicians don’t find the need for sight reading until later on and the catch is that by then, they expect themselves to be just as good at sight reading as they are playing the instrument.
A lot of readers told me they’re looking to improve their sight reading, so I’ll share with you how I started sight reading in piano, and you might find ways to improve on your own sight reading journey. Please note that there may be affiliate links below when describing technique but I only recommend something that I would use, and Artiden may receive a commission when someone purchases using that link.
I started playing piano at an age where I had nothing more important to do, and I didn’t care that I couldn’t play much piano at all. One day, I found a sheet of music titled Good Morning to All placed in my folder by mistake. When I played it, as I tended to do with any sheet music, it turned out to be Happy Birthday. Ten year old Grace unlocked a new level of playing! It’s the feeling of accomplishment you get from playing the music to your favourite movie or video game.
In any case, sight reading takes deliberate practice and patience. The interesting thing about sight reading is finding the balance between almost feeling hopeless and being fully engrossed in the piece.
I’m another year wiser! I haven’t lost my driver’s license even once this year.
Thank you to everyone for your support and keeping me accountable. When I don’t write for a while, I get emails in my inbox asking where I am! I read every comment and email. Even if I can’t respond to everyone, the comments are important to me. I’ve been through some pretty tough times and you guys continually support and encourage me
I was feeling down on myself that I hadn’t done anything impressive this year. But in situations like this, it’s best to keep your head up and stop comparing yourself to others, because you set your own benchmarks.
Here are two significant things I’ve done this past year, and two that I will do in the coming year.
When people invest a lot of time into a genre of music, that genre becomes a template for everything they listen to. I have played classical music for so long that I almost guess which chord comes next. So, it’s refreshing to listen to a new genre and instrument.
After all, things that scare you also push you.