Author Topic: Teaching Score Reading  (Read 3498 times)

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iamchristuffin

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Teaching Score Reading
« on: Nov 22, 2013, 11:14 am »
Hi all,

I've been asked to teach a couple of people to follow a score, and I'm a little unsure what music to use? Does anyone have any recommendations for unlicensed scores (that I can get from IMSLP or similar) that would be a good starting point?

I have quite a lot of the more difficult stuff, but it's really simple stuff I'm struggling with. I used to use some from musicals, but I stupidly threw it away!

Thanks!

Cx

Maribeth

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Re: Teaching Score Reading
« Reply #1 on: Nov 22, 2013, 01:51 pm »
I would pick music that they may know already. My suggestion is the Barber of Seville, which you should be able to find a vocal score of online. It's familiar enough to most people from cartoons and commercials and it's not too complicated.

hbelden

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Re: Teaching Score Reading
« Reply #2 on: Nov 23, 2013, 12:03 am »
All of Gilbert & Sullivan is available at IMSLP.  Pirates is pretty easy, mostly 4-4 and 3-4 time, with extremely memorable melodies.
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MatthewShiner

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Re: Teaching Score Reading
« Reply #3 on: Nov 23, 2013, 02:05 pm »
There are also a lot of music based video games that help people learn rhythm . . . which I think is often part of the problem.
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BLee

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Re: Teaching Score Reading
« Reply #4 on: Nov 23, 2013, 02:50 pm »
I was taught following a score using the Gypsy overture and the broadway CD. It has a wide variety of instrumentations making it simple to identify different sections and catch up if you get lost. But there were a few challenging bits to keep it interesting. We were taught with that piece how to mark up a score for easy reference, making opera scores far less intimidating.

On another level, Don Giovanni was the first opera I learned to follow with a score. Definitely more challenging than a musical, but much of it is easy to follow once you've heard the melody a few times.

As for public domain works, http://imslp.org/ seems to have a wide selection of scores available. Not sure of the quality and nothing is well known from what I've seen, but there are a ton of options.
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BenTheStageMan

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Re: Teaching Score Reading
« Reply #5 on: Nov 23, 2013, 04:13 pm »
One thing that really helped me understand music reading early on was a program called MIDINotate.  It's no longer around, but Notation Software (http://www.notation.com/) has essentially the same thing, and with 30-day free trials.  Basically, the software takes .mid files and transforms them into sheet music.  Then you can hit play, and watch a line move across the staves and notes light up as they play.  A simple internet search can pull up MIDIs of just about anything you can think of, and you can load MIDIs into the software.  You could have a student look up a song they are familiar with, and visually see what the notes look like as they play.  I used to spend hours finding MIDIs and watch them play, and even now when I read a score I envision a line going across it and hitting the notes as they're played.
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iamchristuffin

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Re: Teaching Score Reading
« Reply #6 on: Nov 23, 2013, 11:58 pm »
Thank for all your suggestions guys!

Ben, that sounds like a fantastic idea! I'll have a hunt and a play tomorrow.

BLee, IMSP is a site I already use regularly (pretty much every opera and ballet thats 100+ years old is on there, and quality is usually pretty good) - my concern was finding something that would be a bit easier/modern, as thats the stuff is licensed.

Cx

reneelibra

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Re: Teaching Score Reading
« Reply #7 on: Nov 30, 2013, 02:26 pm »
Also be sure to highlight tempo changes and time signature changes, those can be crucial in difficult pieces, notably large choruses!

I highly recommend, especially for opera, that stage managers follow the music rather than the singers. Singers sometimes mark (sing lightly), forget the words, and sometimes sing in languages you are not familiar with (also the accompanist has to be the most reliable person you have in the rehearsal process).

I studied music in college and work on opera and I still find I can always learn to read music better whether it's interpreting chords or intervals, or following difficult meters.  Good luck!

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MatthewShiner

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Re: Teaching Score Reading
« Reply #8 on: Nov 30, 2013, 07:18 pm »
The Candide Overture is a good one to listen to . . . it has some tempo and time changes, and also some tricky repeat sections . . . and there are plenty of recordings of that.  And a fantastic overture.

(I only know because I had to call more then a fair number of cues during the overture . . . )

Also second calling off music, then lyrics or counts . . .for a wide variety of reasons.
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Anything posted here as in my own personal opinion, and does not necessarily reflect the opinion of my employer - whomever they be at a given moment in time.

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