Sont les mots que ne vont pas très bien ensemble….
Last week, we had a little cello party with some ensemble playing all done with sight reading. Our first go was an arrangement of “Michelle” (hence the intro) Arrangements of Beatles music for string ensembles are never easy – harmonies can be tricky. I had tried a few as part of the pops experience I had two summers ago. /At that time, it took many rehearsals to get tolerably listenable. Perhaps not surprisingly with the sight-reading of it. We had some difficulty getting rolling, so we switched to other pieces. Since I was playing the bottom part and not the melody, it is definitely easier when I can see all the parts simultaneously.
What was more humbling was not just that i played the bottom parts was that I deserved it. It was a full challenge just to do that. When it worked, it felt good to sit back and enjoy the sounds. What amazed me is that four years of cello playing did not equate to being able to play the melody line on a sight-read basis.
Moral – teachers should consider integrating sight reading and ensemble playing at the earliest possible moment so that sight reading does not lack impossibly behind other abilities. Based on my own experience, I’d say six months is a good time to start.