Many find sight reading to be a challenge, but it is an important skill to have. Tanglewood Music School offers a few tips to help improve your sight reading.
Q: Why is sight reading so important?
Sight-reading improves learning in all aspects of music. Being able to recognise pitch intervals, rhythmic patterns and musical structure allows students to learn pieces more quickly and become better.Students tend to prepare only three pieces for their music exams, but sight reading allows them to try other pieces outside of the exam requirements. Knowing how to sight-read
is an advantage when playing in an ensemble group or orchestra, as most conductors want players who are able to learn music fast. A student’s sight-reading skill is very useful here and it will improve versatility in playing.
Q: How can sight reading skills be improved?
Firstly, it’s important to know your scales and arpeggios. Find patterns between the bars by recognising ascending or descending scales, arpeggios, or chords. Don’t forget the key signature and take note of the accidentals (♯, ♭, ♮). Before you start, establish an internal pulse according to the time signature, then choose an appropriate tempo and maintain a steady pulse. Remember to look closely at difficult passages and tricky rhythms. If your fingers are playing the notes in bar two, your eyes should already start scanning bar three. Do not try to correct your mistake or play the same notes or bar repeatedly, but rather, aim for overall fluency.