Tuesday, April 21, 2015


"Sight reading. The ability to read unfamiliar music with ease...All professional instrumentalists and vocalists must be able to read at sight as a matter of routine, but there are some extraordinary pianists (in particiular) who can play complicated works with great precision and fluency at sight."
(Pocket Manual of Musical Terms, Schirmer).

I am a good sightreader. Perhaps not extraordinary. But very good.
Not so good with playing by memory.  I'm working on that.

As a teacher, I would really like to encourage my students to work on becoming effective sightreaders.  Music has so many layers.  Listening with the ear. Playing smoothly and comfortably with the fingers.  Reading the visual cues with the eyes. And processing all of this in the brain!

No wonder a musical education is recommended to stimulate the whole body, brain and soul! :)

I suggest that my students, especially continuing beginning on up to advanced incorporate regular sight reading into their daily practice. The focus should be on continuing the pulse, even if a mistake is made (do not stop and correct it).  Try to keep the eyes on the musical page.

I have an acronym:


I would be happy to share this with you at your lesson!

I have been recommending "A Dozen a Day" by Edna Mae Burnham for most of my students.  I used this as a child. They are fun, short little pieces. They encourages focusing the eyes on the music page and they emphasize rhythm.

The first one in the series is a great place to start!

But really, any piece of music is good for sight reading. Even music that is beyond one's level. When I was young, I would go through stacks of my father's music when I was bored in the summer.  Always wanting to seek his praise, or the least get better than him! :)  But soon I learned to sight read just for the joy of it. Like getting lost in a good book.

Happy Sight Reading! :)

Teacher Zita

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