Sight Reading help please

(Future)DWdrummer

Senior Member
Hey guys! I have a few university auditions coming up.

Pretty basic stuff... Rudiments, styles, songs, jams act.

However, there will also be sight reading components that I am extremely nervous for.

My reading skill is decent. Nothing to spectacular, but I'm solid in reading rhythms. Regardless, I was wondering if any of you have any tips on sight reading you'd be willing to offer.

Charts, tracks, videos, tips, hints. Anything would be a great help to me!

Don't really have a clear picture on what the sight reading pieces will be on, but my guess is that they will be grooves in 4/4 rock styles. Nothing crazy, but still enough to make me nervous haha
 

Brian

Gold Member
Hey guys! I have a few university auditions coming up.

Pretty basic stuff... Rudiments, styles, songs, jams act.

However, there will also be sight reading components that I am extremely nervous for.

My reading skill is decent. Nothing to spectacular, but I'm solid in reading rhythms. Regardless, I was wondering if any of you have any tips on sight reading you'd be willing to offer.

Charts, tracks, videos, tips, hints. Anything would be a great help to me!

Don't really have a clear picture on what the sight reading pieces will be on, but my guess is that they will be grooves in 4/4 rock styles. Nothing crazy, but still enough to make me nervous haha
How's your sight-reading while counting out aloud?
 

jeffwj

Platinum Member
Hey guys! I have a few university auditions coming up...

Don't really have a clear picture on what the sight reading pieces will be on, but my guess is that they will be grooves in 4/4 rock styles. Nothing crazy, but still enough to make me nervous haha
I think we may need a bit more information. Such as:

1. Are you auditioning to get into a college or university? If so, you can expect sight-reading to be more than just rock beats.

2. If you are already in a university program, what ensemble(s) are you auditioning for? It is rare to audition for a rock ensemble at a university (unless it is a contemporary program such as Berklee that has rock ensembles). Most colleges will audition your drum set skills with jazz, funk, latin, etc...

3. What are the requirements for the audition? If the prepared requirements include jazz, latin, and funk, you can expect the sight-reading to be in one of those styles.

4. Are you studying with an instructor? If so, what does your teacher say about it? If you aren't studying with a teacher, that may be why you are feeling unprepared.

Jeff
 

vxla

Silver Member
Reading is something you have to learn to do, regardless of what your intentions are in the future. Here's my $0.02.

1. Spend 10 minutes a day sight-reading something you've never seen before. Never use a piece of music you've already read through, else you're just cheating yourself. For a wealth of resources, try violin or other parts found on http://imslp.org.

2. Always use a metronome. It will keep you honest.

3. Read the whole page of music; dynamics, ties, slurs, tempo, etc.

4. Be a musician, even if you've never seen the piece before.

5. If you're reading only the rhythms (and not pitches), focus on both the rhythm and your timing. Don't practice on a drum; practice on a pad, counter, etc.

6. If you are reading something on a pitched instrument, make sure you get the keys and all accidentals. (Kind of obvious, but still..)

7. Finally, the most important piece of advice: NEVER take your eyes off the page and NEVER stop to correct a mistake. You will make mistakes when reading, everyone does; the point is to keep your eyes moving to the next beat, measure, phrase, and section.

In terms of the audition…

You'll probably have to sightread snare drum and a mallet keyboard piece (most likely only 2 mallets), but it's usually well within reach of people with beginner to intermediate reading capabilities. The audition panel is watching to see if you can handle something under pressure and also checking if your overall musicianship (the ability to phrase, play in time, and read all parts on the page) is still available under the stress of a new piece. Don't take a selection too fast, instead choose a nice steady tempo and try and get everything on the page as best you can.

If you're doing drum set, I'd work on the following styles: rock, funk, samba, country, jazz in 4/4, jazz in 3/4, Cuban (guaguanco, cha cha, and cascara are the first three you should know), and something with a 12/8 bell pattern.
 
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