What is sight reading

Reading notes and finding them on the keyboard quickly, following the rhythms indicated in the score, pedaling, rests, slurs and many other details usually creating great discomfort for beginners while they are learning new piece. My students are not scared by any musical composition already by the age of 13( if they have started with me being 5-6yo). The reason for that is that sight reading is a mandatory home work assignments and is always a part of every lesson.Being able to look at a brand new piece of music and play it at sight is an amazing and necessary skill to have. What we’re trained as musicians is to simultaneously scan and identify various symbols and visual cues, register, processing each one (both individually and collectively), and effectively communicate those instructions to other parts of the body to physically produce the correct sounds. Each element of that split-second process requires its own individual development and understanding, spanning everything from pitch, timing, and dynamics, to harmony, rhythm, and technique—all of which are essential to becoming a well-rounded musician and capable sight reader.

Because of this, for most of us, sight-reading is a skill that takes time to develop, often improving in the background alongside overall musical ability. Similar to learning to read a book, a student’s musical vocabulary and comprehension requires years of deliberate practice (and patience!), and will naturally grow as time goes on the more they are exposed to new elements of the language.

Why Sight-Reading?
It creates confidence

Being able to successfully sight read music on the spot helps musicians measure their ability and overall progress, and affirms that hard work pays off. Plus, strong sight readers gain an edge in auditions and other professional settings.

Stronger foundation in rhythm and pitch

Improving sight-reading fluency also improves the ability to quickly interpret rhythmic patterns combined with interval training and pitch matching.

Better ears = stronger accuracy

Being able to hear the music before playing or singing a note is another incredible skill that sight-readers develop, also known as audiation. Even if it’s not possible to sing the exact pitches out loud, sight-reading helps the ability to feel the rhythm and get the general direction of the melodic notes and harmony just by looking at the music. This improves overall accuracy tremendously because of the ability to anticipate the pitch and rhythm before playing.

It’s fun

Playing the same or similar warm-ups and routine drills can often become monotonous. Being able to pull out any piece and play or sing it can be fun, challenging, and rewarding.  

Expanded musical opportunities

Strong sight-readers may find additional opportunities to to be of service to other musicians. For example, pianists who sight-read well might find themselves accompanying soloists and choirs, collaborate in a chamber ansamble.They can also play individual parts for rehearsal purposes.

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