Friday, December 14, 2007

3. Sight-reading Tips

[Newsflash: I've just published an eBook based on this blog.  It's based on the material in this blog, and has some additional tips and summary pages.  Click on the image to the right for more information.]

[The tips below are great, but click here for some tips that I posted after working on sight-reading for four years.]

I started my sight-reading quest by finding all the web site tips and tricks I could. Here are the tips I like the most (they are described in more detail in the links below):

  • Practice playing with your eyes closed (exercises, memorized pieces, etc.). If you never have to look down at the keyboard, sight-reading will be easier. Blind pianists can do it, so can you.
  • Play at a steady pace and don't stop to fix mistakes (don't "stutter"). I find this very hard advice to follow.
  • Look ahead. This is something else I have trouble with, but I'm working on it.
  • Learn to recognize intervals instead of individual notes.

Here are the links to the sight-reading tips that I located through Google:

Tips for Learning Better Sight-reading

Scholarly Paper on Sight-reading along with Reviews of Books

A Page of Tips and Tricks

Excellent Tips, Including "Play with your eyes closed"

A Quick List of Tips

Troubleshooting Chart: Find Your Problem, Read the Solution

Ten Tips from a Book

Sight-reading Tips from Forums

General Tips

Finding a Book on Sight-reading

Discussion of Looking Ahead

More Tips and Discussion


Anonymous said...

Firstly, I'd like to thank you for creating this blog. I'm a terrible sight reader and this resource will be very useful in my endeavours to improve.

I've been playing for many years now and being classically trained should be able to sight read quite fluently. Unfortunately, this is not the case, I stumble awkwardly around the keyboard both rhythmically and technically. I am definitely classed as a 'memoriser'. But to be fair, my teacher never gave me tips to improve my sight reading, rather she gave me excerpts to play and left me to my own devices pretty much. That's not to say she was a terrible teacher but not a particularly helpful one. Hopefully, with your knowledge accrued in this tidy site, I shall be able to improve.

Please keep updating the blog so we may learn from your experiences.

Yoke Wong said...

Excellent content on sight reading. Understanding of harmony structure, rhythm and interval patterns would help!

Woody Splawn said...

For anyone interested I have come up with a great way to help me from glancing at my hands when sight reading.

Go to home depot and buy some safety glasses. Put black tape over the bottom half of the glasses. It really helps me.

daddyjb said...

Woody Splawn-I've had the same idea but haven't implemented it yet. I'm glad I'm not the only lunatic out there!

Anonymous said...

hey buddy
many thanks for your blog and tips they have been very encouragingand helpful I have taken up the piano at age 68 with reservations but reading your blog has given me hope

laurie UK

Ben Chan (Benechan), Dip ABRSM said...

Great blog piece, see also the Piano Sage's
8 Essential Piano Sight Reading Tips: for exams, or learning a new piece

Sight Reading said...

Thank you for your continued update and posts on this topic: Sight Reading Music

Learning to read music is very much like learning to read a language. We first learn to read shorter words and by bits and pieces. In musical world, we learn to read by observing the different intervals and the distance between those notes.

The challenges of reading piano music has to do with reading both treble clef and bass clef at the same time - which is a great task. What compounded the challenge is the rhythmic patterns and changes.

I hope the following article will help in sight reading:

Anonymous said...

hey mate,

thanks for leavivg these tips,
they are helping millions. my story is the same as the other anon
now i have a chance of passing grade 4!


Anonymous said...

I broke my habit of watching my hands by proping open the keyboard lid with a cassette case.