The idea behind the method of Organic Sightreading is a very simple one:
to create exercises that focus on the physical and mental reflexes necessary for sightreading.
We believe that in traditional music education there is too much focus on the theoretical explanation of a practical skill. Especially in that early stage of undertaking the adventure of music making. So instead of learning the note names first, focusing on note duration and figuring out the nomenclature of musical expression, we have to recognize that making music is first and foremost a physical performance.
Organic Sightreading is all about taking apart each of the different elements that make up the seemingly impossible task of sightreading, and practise them in an isolated manner. This will enable us to learn in chunks and create manageable obstacles for our brain. So we can focus on specific achievable goals that will turn the act of reading piano music into an instinctive, unconscious and organic ability.
Why you shouldn’t be too focused on the end result.
When you set your goal to be: being able to read piano music comfortably — instead of envisioning the top of the mountain, i.e. being able to play all Beethoven sonatas at sight, you have to break down that end goal in steps. Playing piano is a very complex task that involves control of simultaneous processes your brain and body are performing. So when on top of that you’re adding the task of reading simultaneously, things are really becoming difficult. Again that’s why we need to break it down. But this breakdown has to be done in a clever way. The obstacles you have to overcome must be easy enough so you don’t despair at first sight and yet at the same time they have to be hard enough so you don’t get bored to bloody death. The key is to ignite a sense of satisfaction once the obstacle is overcome.
The art of making your own unique mistakes.
Another important and clever thing we need to do is access the
unconscious reflexes as soon as possible. It’s not just about understanding
the different elements that make up the skill of sight-reading, you have to
actually experience them: you will make mistakes, but they are absolutely
necessary. Making mistakes are the fuel that drive inner conversations.
Once you get in that mode where your automated brain function starts
conversing with your perceptive brain function, you are in sync: this means
you are really open to learning new things. Because your brain is unique
and the conversations you are having inside your mind are unique, the only
way to succeed is to face the music and dance.
For more information watch this great video by Derek Muller on Veritasium
The musician brain as a good model of brain plasticity.
A critical consequence of the significant rise in elderly people in our society is the exponential increase of neurodegenerative diseases and other age-related pathologies. Therefore, it is important to understand whether learning a musical instrument at an older age might act as a protective factor against cognitive decline . In 2008, Lappe et al.1 showed that even a short musical training could induce brain plasticity i.e. the ability of the brain to form new neural connections. Verghese et al.2 observed that elderly people who played a musical instrument were less likely to suffer from dementia than participants performing activities such as reading, writing or cross word puzzles. Moreover, it has been shown that muscal training improved their exectutive functioning and working memory amongst other brain functions.3 Since we also know that musical activities reduce age-related depression4 , I can't think of any good reason why not to start playing music immediately!!
1Lappe, C. et al. J. Neurosc. 2008
2Verghese,J. et al. N. Engl.J.Med., 2003
3Bugos, J.A. et al. Aging Ment. Heath, 2007
4Erkkilä, J. et al. Br .J. Psychiatry, 2011
In order to reach a broader audience, the first and second volume of Organic
available online as an ebook and Amazon Paperback Print on Amazon.com. However, we have
no control over their printing process. If you are interested in ordering the first
authentic home printed edition contact our
For Belgium and the Netherlands you can also order this edition on bol.com
Also available in selected music stores in Belgium.