Learn Sight Reading For An Examination
The first thing to check when you have a graded music examination is the requirements for the sight reading element. All of the exam boards now list the provisions in the syllabus which you can access online.
The requirements are slightly different depending upon which exam board you are studying. Below are a few comparisons of sight reading for piano from several syllabuses.
Royal Conservatory Music
Grade 1 piano sight reading
Grade 1 sight reading piano
Regardless of whether you are taking exams or not, you can use the requirements as a guide. Music colleges and educators recommend that you can sight read a piece, two grades lower than the music that you are practising.
Unique Qr Technology In A Book
Set up the free QR app on your phone or tablet then scan the code to listen to each piece before you have a go at playing it, as many times as you like. Listening first helps you learn to sight read. Listen again to the recording and learn by comparing it with how you played. Then move onto the next piece. Using the QR codes is optional and the book may be used in the conventional way without them.
‘Listen, learn and play!’
an example from book 1
An example from Book 2
Sight Reading Tips: How Do You Practice Sight Reading Sheet Music
Lets start right at the beginning – how well do you know your notes? Can you rapidly name notes on the staff when you are flipping through flash cards? Can you rapidly name each note in a line of music, in both the bass and treble clef? If not, start there.
Next, take very easy lines of music — from the Dozen a Day book, for example — and sight read with one hand at a time. As you sight read, practice reading intervals C-A is a sixth for instance, and you can sight read faster if you can identify intervals right away rather than reading each note.
Then, as you get better at reading, stop focusing on individual notes, and read lines. If a line starts on an E Flat, and proceeds in a stepwise scale motion, you know its just a scale . At that point, you are just playing the scale, not reading each note individually! Its like reading a book – quick readers pass their eyes over lines, they dont sound out each word.
You must not stop, and you must maintain a steady tempo when sight reading. Did you play a wrong note? Thats ok in this case! Just keep going, focus on getting the gist of the music, and if you have to, set a metronome. People who speed read books do not comprehend each word, but they do understand the concept of what they are reading.
Lastly and most importantly, you get better at sight reading by just doing it. Spend 10 minutes every day sight reading new music following the steps above, and you will improve.
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The Staff And The Musical Clefs
The staff consists of 5 basic lines. In a staff, the notes appear on the lines and also on the spaces between the lines. Every line and space represent a different musical note.
A clef is a symbol at the beginning of the staff. It allows us to know which musical notes are represented on each line and space of the staff.
Using the treble clef or G clef, the musical notes of the 5 lines from the bottom up are:
The Grand Staff will be the greatest challenge of this game because it uses the treble and bass clefs at the same time.
Solving possible problems
The following list might help you if you run into problems:
- On mobile devices, Facebook uses its own browser which does not support the technology to play this game. If you came here from a Facebook link, please copy it and use another browser like Chrome or Safari.
- Every time you play a note on the virtual piano, you should hear the sound of the musical note. If you don’t hear anything please be sure to check the volume of your device.
Don’t forget to leave your comments below.
Orientation Sight Reading Game
In addition to reading the notes quickly, you also have to be able to find the notes on your instrument. Spacial awareness for guitar sight reading and piano sight reading exercises is equally as important.
A great way to practice this is by playing the words listed in the image above.
You can develop the activity by mixing the octaves, range and key. You can also make it more fun by setting a timer and seeing how many words you can play in one minute.
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How Can You Improve Your Note Reading
There is no quick way to improve sight reading music notes youve got to practice repetitively. Here are a few suggestions to help.
You can also purchase an app to help you such as Treble Cat, Bass cat or Note Rush.
2. Find some note naming exercises and practice them regularly. If you type note naming exercises into google, youll find plenty of examples. You can also purchase books such as Note speller for piano.
3. Spell out words on manuscript paper such as the ones below.
4. Read through the pitch names of any piece of music, dont forget to check the key signature and include the accidentals when you read through the notes.
Come Practice With Me
This video goes over what we’ve discussed here in the lesson plus I’ll give you several great online resources for additional music specifically geared towards helping you sight read better.
You’ll want to make note of the different sites I show you online so you’ll know what samples to start with according to your level of playing and sight reading including beginner, intermediate, and advanced levels.
I also go through a couple of these with you to show just how easy they are and how to apply the tips in this lesson at the keyboard, so you can practice with me.
Sight reading is a fun, challenging, and very special part of playing the piano and making music. It can help you learn traditional music faster as well as improve your improvising skills and let you play your own music one day.
Including it in your playing each day will be one of the most beneficial boosts you can do for your own growth in your playing, so make sure you take advantage of these resources so you’ll have plenty of music to read through and be able to watch your skills grow!
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How Much Time Should Be Spent On Sight Reading Music Practice
Once you start learning to sight read music, you should practice it every day by finding an unfamiliar piece of music and playing through it. Choose a piece of music that is much simpler than the songs you are learning to play in your lessons. If sight reading seems frustrating at first, find an easier piece of music to try. Learning to sight read requires effort, so be patient with yourself. If you practice, youll get better.
Sight reading shouldnt be the majority of your practice time. There is so much more to musicianship than sight reading! Mr. Hoffman recommends that you spend no more than of your practice time working on sight reading for a good balance.
How To Sight Read Singing Quickly
You can sight read with minimal training. Although this limits you to very basic songs, it is a great start. You can then continue to learn more complex rhythms, key signatures, time signatures and intervals.
In saying that, below is the most basic music theory that you should learn, helping you learn sight-reading quickly.
- C Major scale
- 4/4 timing
- Sing steady quavers
- Major intervals
- Notes of the treble staff for females or those of the bass clef for males
To help with this process, below is an image that shows all the notes of the C Major scale with their corresponding Solfege syllables and where they sit on the treble staff. Starting on C , you should be able to sing through the whole scale and sing different intervals.
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Tip Number 4 Read Ahead
In the following video, youll see one way in which you can do this. Look at the music and when it disappears, try recalling the notes either by singing or playing them.
You can practice this yourself by covering up the music and remembering the pitch and rhythm.
The following sight reading example takes memorisation one step further as the music will disappear one bar at a time, forcing you to read ahead.
Press play and study the music below, the metronome will give you four beats before its time to play. As you play bar one, read ahead to the next bar. As you approach bar two, the music will disappear so youll need to recall it while reading along to bar three.
Read Read And Read Some More
Of course, all this music is useless if you dont practice it. Sit at your piano for 20 minutes a day and just read through it. Dont repeat, dont go back just treat it as if it were a book with words in it rather than music. Start at the beginning, and go on until the end. When youve finished, move onto the next book.
Its really important that you go against your instinct to stop, go back, practice a bar or two, check the voicing of a chord, check your notes, etc etc. It doesnt matter. You either get it right the first time or you move on. Never, ever stop to correct mistakes.
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Read Music You Dont Like
This is an interesting one you should read a wide variety of music, but dont just pick music that you like. Pick anything even the stuff you dont like. This ensures your sight reading ability is as rounded and as all-encompassing as possible.
If youre a rehearsal pianist and you get presented with a piece of music you hate, are you going to refuse to read it? Probably not. Practice for this and similar situations itll keep you sharp and on your toes.
Dont Read The Same Piece Twice
You can only ever sight read a piece once. Once youve sight read it once you can never sight read it again you can only read it. At this point muscle memory starts to come into play, and you are no longer practicing your sight reading – you are learning a piece.
Once youve read a piece, move on to the next one. Once youve finished the book those pieces are in, go and buy or borrow another book. Once youve read the piece, its over it has already contributed everything it will ever contribute to your sight reading. Find something else to read.
Think of your mind as a sponge, where you need to absorb as much music as humanly possible in order to improve your sight reading. You wont gain anything from re-reading you have to read new pieces if you are going to improve your sight reading.
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Use A Metronome To Get Better At Reading
Beginners who try reading music for the first time tend to rush, making them sound like beginners. When you read, you need to nail the rhythms, key signatures, the notes, play in the pocket, and, one more thing, play with expression. When reading, dynamics, vibrato, and clear speech are still important.
Why Learn To Sight Read
Sight reading is a very practical and enjoyable skill. I paid my way through college using my sight reading skills as an accompanist for voice lessons. Sometimes the voice teacher would throw me an opera aria Id never seen before, and I would have to play it on my first try. If I didnt keep up with the singer, the voice teacher would not be pleased. The teacher wanted to focus on the singing without the distraction of a botched accompaniment. Fortunately, I had sight reading practice and already accompanied my high school choir for many years, so I was able to do a pretty good job. Another way that sight reading skills have been useful for me is in accompanying singers for musical numbers in church. People know they can come over before church on Sunday morning and run through the song a couple of times with me, then perform it during services. It doesnt matter if Ive seen the song before or not. We can put it together in less than an hour because I know how to sight read music. Its also endless fun to be able to open a book of music, whether Christmas carols, Broadway tunes, hymns, folk songs, pop music, or anything else youd like, and gather friends and family around you for a sing-along. Learning to sight read opens up a whole new world of musical experience for you and the people around you.
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Complete Music Reading Trainer
This is the best training app for those who try to read music. The application is aimed at non-professional musicians who want to start reading music from scratch.
If you have already learned clefs and clef combinations, you can go to the practicing mode at once. If not, its not a problem: watch the tutorials first and then go to practicing.
There are 270 drills that are available at once, just download the application and start learning. The time you will spend depends on your ability to learn and your determination.
You can practice bass clefs, key signatures, and many other things that are necessary for a musician. There are two ways of learning: firstly, you can learn to read music step by step, moving from one level to the next. This is a good strategy if you are not in a hurry.
Secondly, you can go to the settings and customize the app according to your needs. There is a possibility of setting the system of notifications so that you wont skip classes or forget about them.
Complete Music Reading Trainer has a flexible system of levels and achievements there are 35 levels you can unlock. After you go through all the steps you will be able to read music very easily and fast.
What is more, there are a few modes: classic music, jazz, modern music, and many others. Try all of them to see what appeals to you most of all.
If you are afraid to lose your progress, you can forget about it cloud sync will ensure that your achievements wont fade away and disappear.
Tip Number 3 Read Notes Like You Read Words
That means quickly. Our eyes act like a camera, and if we have learnt the vocabulary, we can read words even if they appear distorted like below.
If English is your first language, you probably had no difficulties in reading the words in the video. It didnt matter that they were moving or that they appeared very quickly.
You need to get as familiar with reading notes as you are with letters.
On instruments such as the harp or piano, sight reading is more challenging as there are two lines of music to read. Most people are confident with the treble clef notes however, they need to improve their bass clef sight reading.
See if you can read the following notes before the letter appears.
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Tips To Improve Your Sight
On a string instrument, sight-reading depends on the relationship between visual, mental, aural, and physical skills. A performer’s limited solo repertory may not provide a person with adequate fingerboard knowledge and general musicianship. In addition, eye movements are seldom trained to quickly recognise and organise instrumental skills with musical notation. When I observe students during a sight-reading session, the most notable problem is their fixed glance on the sheet music. Therefore I have included exercises strictly for developing fluid eye movements.
1. Scan the page to observe as many difficulties as possible
One approach is to glance from the upper left to the lower right of the page diagonally through the middle of the page. For a useful exercise, tap a pulse at the speed of crotchet = 60 and name the first and last note on each line with each beat. Next step is to look across the same line on beats one and two and name the highest note on that line on beat three. Repeat this procedure for each line. Identifying the highest note on each line will help one choose appropriate fingerings. It is also helpful to locate any complex rhythms on the line which can then be carefully analysed during rests or long notes.
2. Identify sequences and intervals
3. Know all key signatures and be familiar with all diatonic scales
4. Be familiar with common metres and rhythms
5. Choose a tempo in which you can play the most difficult passage
How To Get Started With Improvisation
A great way to get started is to take one of the simple rhythms from earlier in this post and choose two notes on your instrument. Use the two pitches and the rhythm to create a simple melody.
Thats improvising because you havent got sheet music, youve just got a rhythm.
If you want to take it a step further, create your own rhythm using a couple of notes. You can then develop this further by using the pitches within a scale. Use a metronome to ensure that you are keeping a solid pulse and get creative.
Start with simple rhythms and remember less is more.
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