Sight Read Music

Learning to sight read music is an invaluable skill for musicians on any instrument. I am going to write about some tips for sight reading at the piano, but these concepts apply to all instruments. Sight reading is the ability to play a piece in its entirety the first time you see a piece of music. This skill helps pianists and musicians learn music quickly, making their experience more fun while gaining fast results on their instrument.

You only sight read music when you see music for the first time. If you play a piece for the second time, you are now practicing it, so always have plenty of songs on hand to sight read. The sight reading pieces should be 2-4 levels EASIER than the highest level that you play and practice pieces.You should be able to play through the pieces easily at a good tempo.

Sight Read Music

Tip # 1 Sight read daily. This is the only way to learn sight read well.

Tip # 2 Go slow enough that you can read and play all of the notes, dynamics, fingering, and articulations while you are playing. This allows you to learn to give a musical performance when sight reading. This also demonstrates why the music you practice sight reading should be easy.

Tip # 3 Don’t watch your hands. It is easy to get lost when your eyes are traveling back & forth between your music and your hands. Learn to play the keys without looking at them.

Tip # 4 Learn the feel of various intervals (distances) on the keyboard (or any instrument that you are playing.) Memorize the feel of a 2nd, 3rd, 4th, etc. Be able to identify these intervals instantaneously while looking at the music. When you see them, your hands will go to them immediately.

Tip # 5 Sight read music you enjoy and have lots of it on hand so you will want to sight read a lot. Back to tip one, sight reading all the time is the only way to learn to sight read well!

If you would like personal assistance with any of the blog concepts, online and on-location lessons are available from Let’s Play Music and Make Art, LLC located in Derry and Londonderry, NH. www.letsplaymusic.com

Jay Latulippe

Jay Latulippe

Jay is the program director at Let’s Play Music and make Art, LLC. He holds a degree in Music performance from the University of Missouri – Kansas City. He has authored over a dozen books including the popular piano series, Let’s Play Jazz and More! published by Santorella Publications.

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