QUOTE(ChiffChaff @ May 19 2012, 07:13 PM)
I'm an adult learner of the recorder (self taught) and I'm really very bad at sightreading - please can anyone point me in the direction of good books or websites or give me any general advice on how to improve? I tend to pick music up and play it until it sounds right, but there's no method to how I approach it
yay for self taught musicians!
I'm self taught to grade 8 on classical guitar (that's not true actually, I've had two formal lessons
) and used to teach beginners, so have some tips for you that have worked very well for me and others.
Firstly, you're not very bad at sightreading: you are simply at the beginning of learning of a new skill.
Each time you pick up your recorder to play, include this exercise, preferably when you are still fresh so at the start of your session. Play very slowly (and I mean very slowly) with a metronome, through a few bars (4-8) of previously unseen but very easy music. Music that is much, much easier than what you're currently practicing. Stay in time with the metronome; if you can't, slow it down further. Play it through twice only. Any more than twice and you're not sightreading, you are practicing. Don't stop when you make a mistake, keep going up to where you'd planned to stop. Don't be afraid of mistakes. Be patient and in time your skills will evolve and you will start to enjoy it. If even doing that is a challenge at the moment, then start by clapping rhythms the same way as described above and move on to playing notes when you are more confident with rhythm reading.
The only way to learn to sightread is to sightread. Adult beginners in a hurry to improve often chose music or tempo that's too difficult and get frustrated. Keep it simple and very gradually build on where you're at now. It sounds corny, but enjoy the journey.