Sight-Reading and Hesitation

Hesitating during sight-reading is a bad idea, and I learned this the hard way.

I had been hired to play for voice lessons at a rather prestigious music school. I didn’t know as much vocal repertoire as I would have liked, so a lot of what I was doing was sight-reading. And I thought I was a good sight-reader (and I was, all things considered).

But in one lesson, a mezzo-soprano was singing a fast Mozart aria with pretty elaborate coloratura, and I got thrown off. I only needed to play two chords per measure, but I kept second-guessing where she was in the measure, trying to follow her runs note-for-note.

We had to stop and do it over and over again. Pretty embarrassing for me.

Even more embarrassing was when they told me I probably wasn’t right for the job, and they needed someone who could sight-read better.

It was a simple mistake with a simple fix. My attention had been on the notes, when it should have been on the beat.

I don’t make that mistake anymore.


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