How to read music, literally

 I've had glasses to see far away for many years, but I have great up close vision. Which means that I shouldn't need my glasses to read music. But for some reason I've been debating ever since on what I like best, particularly for performances. I realized last year that it all depends on a few important things.

  • How clear the score is: Is it all one color or are there some streaks through? Do the notes get smaller or go up on the side of the page? How many parts are you reading at once (as an accompanist I sometimes have to go back and forth between an upper instrumental part, the singer's part and the piano part)? 
  • Lighting:  This depends on the lighting of the room and the position of your score, for example a light right behind you can reflect too much on the score and create some blind spots, a light on the side can create shadows on the score, etc. The weather plays an important part if you are performing in a room with windows, and you don't always know what a role it will play until the actual performance. That's why I have been keeping my glasses on the piano, in case I need them at the last minute.
  • Who you play with: If I play a recital with one singer, chances are I can get the breaths and any other important information even without my glasses, but when I music direct and that I take my cues from actions on the stage I definitely wear my glasses.
Now, I finally had come to a good performing situation with my glasses, but I am now on my second week of trying contact lenses and I am back to figuring out what works best for me. It turns out that I don't see as good close when I wear my contacts and that I can't handle certain lights as good as I can with the glasses, but it could be a great option for shows when I need to see both near and far. So, the search for the perfect solution is still on!

What is your solution for glasses or contacts and performance? Do you always do the same thing or does it depend?

Photo from http://www.istockphoto.com/file_thumbview_approve/4803098/2/istockphoto_4803098-perfect-vision.jpg

1 comment:

  1. For an older like me with long-term glasses exposure, I use glasses with a focal length set at about 3 feet from my nose. I can stand to solo, can see more of the music at one time (compared to when I use bi/trifocals), and can peek at my neighbor's music to figure out what the heck they are doing. :O)


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