Casual to Confident Piano Player

Become a Successful Sight Reader: A Step-by-Step Process

revolutionary technique methods Jun 29, 2023
sight reading tips

Today, we will explore how to become a successful sight reader. Sight reading is a crucial skill for musicians, enabling them to learn new pieces, practice more effectively, and improve their overall performance. However, sight-reading requires a systematic approach rather than simply jumping into playing a piece of music. By following a structured process, you can enhance your sight-reading abilities and achieve your goal of becoming a better sight-reader.


Step 1: Preparing for Sight Reading

Before placing your hands on the keys, take a few minutes to familiarize yourself with the piece. Set a timer for five minutes and become a detective, observing the various elements of the music. Start by understanding the time signature and use a metronome to establish a slow tempo of around 40 beats per minute. Clap and count the rhythm out loud, aiming to develop comfort and confidence with the rhythm before proceeding.


Step 2: Observing Key Signatures, Symbols, and Patterns

Next, examine the key signature and note any patterns of flats or sharps. Look for accidentals within the music, highlighting them if necessary. Pay attention to other symbols, such as staccato marks, legato marks, and pedaling indications, which provide valuable information for interpretation. Additionally, identify patterns within the piece, such as repeated measures or sections. Analyze what remains the same and what differs, noting potential trouble spots that might disrupt your performance.


Step 3: Noticing Hand Position Changes and Fingering Suggestions

During this stage, focus on hand position changes and fingering suggestions. Carefully observe the music for shifts in hand posture and take note of suggested fingerings. Dive deep into the details, being attentive to every aspect. Often, musicians tend to rush through this step, but dedicating the full five minutes allows you to grasp the subtleties of the piece more effectively.


Step 4: Mock Play for Rehearsing the Sight Reading

With your hands on the keys, engage in a mock play session. Move your fingers over the notes, mimicking the actual playing without producing any sound. Use the metronome set to 40 beats per minute and count out loud. This practice run enables you to rehearse the sight reading, familiarizing your fingers with their positions and movements. After the mock play, take note of any additional details or elements you may have missed before.


Step 5: Sight Reading with Metronome and Full Playthrough

Now it's time for the actual sight reading. Turn on the metronome, keeping the tempo at 40 beats per minute, and count out loud. Begin playing the piece, aiming to avoid stopping or fixing mistakes. Strive to maintain a steady tempo from the first beat until the end of the piece. Although errors may occur, this exercise trains you to let go of mistakes and stay in the present moment, focusing on the music.


Step 6: Evaluating the Sight Reading Session

After completing the sight reading, take a moment to evaluate your performance. Consider what aspects you executed well and identify any mistakes that surprised you. Reflect on any unexpected challenges that arose during the playthrough and contemplate if there were ways to anticipate them beforehand. Writing down your evaluation can help internalize your experience and serve as a reference for future sight-reading sessions. Remember, the ultimate measure of success lies in engaging in the process and learning from each evaluation to improve in subsequent attempts.

Mastering the art of sight-reading requires a structured approach that involves preparation, observation, rehearsal, and evaluation. By dedicating time to understanding the piece, familiarizing yourself with key elements, and developing a systematic process, you can enhance your sight-reading


Watch the step-by-step process here. Join my 6-WEEK SIGHT READING LIVE CLASS and embark on a journey of musical growth and fulfillment. ENROLL NOW TO MAKE SURE YOU GET A SPOT!