Friday, September 10, 2010

What are you sight reading?

I was directing the first rehearsal of a brand new swing band last night. I am the only professional musician, but all the players are quite accomplished on their instruments. The purpose of this ensemble isn't to make money, but to perform philanthropic concerts for hospitals and nursing homes. and to promote the love of swing band music.

Since we had never played any of the charts before, everyone in the band was sight reading. After a few minutes into the first number, I felt compelled to stop them and ask the band an important question.

What are you sight reading?

One brave soul raised his hand and said, "I am sight reading the notes, what else?"

I replied, "I'm glad you asked. I am sight reading the notes, dynamics, key and meter changes, repeats, and articulations."

The band got very quiet.

I continued, "What makes a difference between a good band and a great band is attention to detail. A band that plays the everything same tempo and dynamic level is a very boring band.
I understand that reading all the markings around the notes will take a little time and effort, but it will be well worth it.'

So the next time someone gives you a piece of music to read, read the entire page and not just the notes.

Your audience will thank you in the long run.

Good Gigging!

Larry Marra

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