The Candle Sight-Reading Exercise for Peripheral Vision, Perceptual Span and Court Vision
I have designed this exercise to stimulate musicians awareness of their peripheral vision and perceptual span.
Often times when faced with difficut musical passages, musicians fall into what is called 'tunnel vision mode' *. They loose their awareness of the whole and just focus on the immediate problem. However, as you know, a difficult measure or two move very fast when one is sight-reading.
This exercise is supposed to force you back into 'seeing the whole' and returning to a more broad view of the score.
I discuss peripheral vision, visual span and percetual span in several articles posted on this blog.
You can access the 'search' tool on the top of the blog to find all the definitions you will need.
I also have written about how sports psycologists have been doing a lot of research on this area, more than musicians do.
Today, I will post a link where you can read about COURT VISION and video game players.
While reading it, you will find information about their preocupation with vision as well as a familiar subject explored on this blog when I describe the exercises on EyeQ Vision Therapy Program: Decision Making
while reading. (You can also search 'decision making' on this blog for more info)
Other reading material: http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2009/03/090329-video-game-vision.html
* Tunnel Vision (Kalnienk Vision) is the loss of peripheral vision even though your central vision is fine.
I use the term tunnel vision here in a very loose way just to clarify this habit some musicians, athlets and video game players fall into.
Candle Sight-Reading Exercise
While practicing your sigh-reading, place two lit candles on each side of the keyboard (a grand piano is ideal for this). Make sure you are always aware of them (seeing them) while reading.
As you get better at this, try to add the awarennes of your hands moving below the score on the keyboard. This will amplify even more your vision field and it is somewhat easier since your hands are constantly moving.
Blow the candle :-)
Sight Reading Suggestion - Alexandre Dossin's edition of Tchaikovsky Album for the Young Ops 39
Schirmer Performance Editions ( Hal Leonard Piano Library) has published a wonderful edition of these beautiful works by Tchaikovsky. Pleasant to play and to read. In my opinion, this edition is the best example of music printing (typography)* one can get. The page turns are well planned and the spacing between notes and staves are made so reading and counting is very easy.