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1b. A Track for improving the Skills You Already Know

Introduction

 

I’m glad you already have some ability at reading vocal music.  It’s probably mainly from some instrumental experience you’ve had, even though it may have been minimal and in the way past.  Please stick with me on this page as I explain a couple of things in this introduction.


Vocal Music Reading vs. Instrumental

Vocal music reading is different from instrumental music reading in 1 of the 3 areas of music reading skills.  The 3 areas are 1) Notes  2) Rhythm and 3) Understanding Page Symbols such as “Repeats”.  Both “Rhythm” and “Understanding Page Symbols are identical for singers and instrumentalist but it’s quite different in the first area (Notes) for singers compared to instrumentalist.  Let me illustrate the difference.  Singers can learn a song in one key and easily sing it in any nearby key.  But for an instrumentalist to do that requires them to finger it quite differently and depending on the key, it may be much more difficult.  Yet most singers rely on their instrumental background almost exclusively for vocal reading music.  To illustrate: when a pitch is sung inaccurately, most singers turn to an instrument such as a Pitch Pipe or Keyboard to correct their mistake.  That should not be!


Vocal Reading’s Short-Cut

Vocal reading should be given as much attention as it is in instrumental music reading but it is not.  One reason is that’s singers have a “short-cut way” of learning a song - by simply listening (rote learning) to someone else sing it.  Yet very few instrumentalist can pick up a piece simply by listening to it.  The exception is some jazz musicians.  It fact, rote (listening) is the way most singers learn their part.  They either listen to a recording,  follow someone else who’s singing their part or turn to an instrument to learn their part.  The problem with this is that they are not independent readers vocally.  They have to rely on someone or an instrument to get their notes.  Another reason that Vocal Reading requires attention is that the notational system doesn’t fit vocalists as well as instrumentalist as our illustration in the previous paragraph hinted at.



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                       tednorton@roadrunner.com