Sight Singing is a BIG subject so........ how much do you need to learn?
Common sight singing questions are:
How much is enough?
How much knowledge will help me in my career/life?
Do I need to learn absolutely everything?
When do I stop learning?
The answer to these questions is simple - learn as much as YOU need to know for YOUR situation, ie......
You're a professional singer - you should aim to learn as much as possible
You sing for fun in your local choir - you should aim to learn enough information to be able to find your way around the vocal arrangements
You sing at home - you should aim to learn the basics in your own time and at your own pace and enjoy the whole experience
You want to improve your musical knowledge - you should aim to work steadily through as much sight singing material as possible, always putting your knowledge into context and seeing/hearing how the music all fits together
When you start learning to sight sing, always, always have your end goal in sight, whatever that is.
Try to know why you're learning to sight sing and be aware of what you want to get out of your learning experience.
This end goal might change as you progress, but try your best not to blindly start learning to sight sing with no end in sight - keep focused on what you're learning and why you're learning.
So the first thing I would recommend you do when thinking about learning to sight sing is sit down with a cup of coffee and think about exactly what it is you want to get out of learning to sight sing!
What is your goal!
I say this because your learning can become frustrating, you can get disheartened with the amount there is to learn and you can give up quite easily.
When you have goals in mind, you will always know what you're heading for, you can judge your progress and you'll know when you can stop learning.
Your own situation and circumstances will determine how far you go on your sight singing journey - yes there is an awful lot of information and knowledge you could work on, but if most of that won't help you achieve your goals then just stop.
A common problem for singers is looking at everything they could learn, and think they should learn it.
Don't get overwhelmed with the amount of information, just keep in mind your own goals - keep asking yourself 'where do I want to get with this'.
Sing By Sight progresses in Levels that allow you to gauge your learning and set sight singing goals that reflect your own needs and aspirations.
At the end of each level you work on pieces of music (In Context) that pull together everything you have learnt up to that point, so you can clearly see how much you've learnt and how your knowledge works in real pieces of music.
You can then use this information to judge if you need to carry on learning, or if you're happy to stop.
The In Context chapters on each level will also help you realise how much you've learnt and it's always great to have a positive in life!!!
This idea of realising what you personally need to know for your own situation, then setting goals to help you achieve this, is really useful in stopping the feeling of being overwhelmed.
Think of it this way:
You walk into a restaurant - it has an enormous menu and you don't know where to start!!!
If you know what you want to eat when you walk into the restaurant it can really help you see past the huge menu and focus on what you actually want. You may decide you're happy to see everything that's on offer, but likewise, you may prefer to focus on something you really want (eg salad!!).
Now I know that's just a fun analogy, but it really does carry over to sight singing and to understanding how important it is to know what you want out of your learning experience.
With Sing By Sight, I've laid everything out for you, but you don't have to have it all - never forget your goals, your ambitions, your aims, and work towards them.
So go ahead and treat yourself to that coffee and don't forget to enjoy learning to sight sing!!!!
Check out www.vocalvista.com for more info on Sing By Sight