Excellent Book to develop your musical skills. Apr 3, 2007
More or less 90% of music students resist their music theory courses and enjoy the sight singing exercises associated with them even less. As a student and as a teacher I believe that this is usually because by the time the students first get around to learning this skill, they are already confident musicians on their instruments or have learned to sing some other way. To have to learn a new skill from scratch is disturbing and seems unnecessary to them. However, learning to sight sing brings many benefits.
Singing music helps one internalize the music more fully. One also develops a greater confidence with pitch than having it done in an instrument. It also helps one learn to sing through one's instrument - that is, to play even more musically. And by developing strategies to sing chromatic music, one has to think through the relationships within the piece. Once the skills are more fully developed, one can learn to come to terms with a new piece of music quite quickly. Therefore, one becomes not only more professional, the whole of one's musical experience deepens.
We used the fourth edition of Ottman's book when I was an undergrad in music. This seventh edition is a much richer and more useable book. There are more than a thousand melodies, all nicely arranged to teach something specific. They are actual melodies from the literature rather than some abstract theoretical nothing. And there are lots of rhythmic exercises, so the student can gain skills in becoming more precise in rhythm and especially in rests (you know, letting the silence be silent). A new chapter with melodies from the 20th century is also a nice addition. The new edition also adds some exercises with structured improvisation for the student to experiment with his or her own melodies.
The spiral binding actually makes the book more durable and useable. It lays flat on your piano or music stand and the spine won't break and the pages won't be falling out. The print is crisp and clear which makes reading easy. This is important for a book you will be using in your theory courses for several terms.
Not only is this great for college students, I think high school and private music teachers would do well by their students to use this as part of their regular music lessons. Their students might fight it a bit (they always seem to), but they will become better musicians and more musical students if they develop the skill to sight sing.