Tuesday, January 03, 2017

Very occasional quote of the day: Steve Gadd on reading

“Reading improves just from doing it. It wasn't easy for me, but thanks to the encouragement of my teacher, John Beck, I stuck with it and it has been very useful. The more you do something, the more familiar it becomes and the easier it gets.

When sight reading music, first look at the whole piece to figure out what the 'road map' is. See how many bars are in the intro, look for section letters, see how many bars are in each section, and look for repeat signs, D.S., D.C. and coda signs.

If you can keep your place, even if you are unable to make any of the figures, you are still ahead of the game. You can get the figures the next time, or after everyone else does. Keep your place and listen to the music; after you hear the run-down it will make a lot more sense. Don't try to see what it sounds like.

Listen while you look and soon you will be playing the figures the first time through. You will find that the same figure can be written out several different ways—some more complicated than others. Familiarize yourself with all the ways. You'll find that the simplest ways are more commonly used.”

— Steve Gadd, Modern Drummer interview by Rick Mattingly, July, 1983

Also see this early blog piece for Joey Baron's advice on sightreading.

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