Yes, Virginia, You Must Practice Sight-Reading!

Sightreading, also called a prima vista (Italian meaning “at first sight“), is the reading and performing of a piece of music or song in music notation that the performer has not seen before.

The only way you will learn to sight-read and get good at it is to practice sight-reading and you must practice every day to improve those skills (10-15 minutes of your practice time).  Knowing your scales and increasing your technique is paramount to becoming a good sight-reader.   l

I have noted below key areas to look at before you begin to sight-read.

Key signature(s) and time signature(s) – noting any changes throughout the piece

Unusual rhythms and repeated patterns


Repeats (including any D.S. and D.C.)

Tempo – don’t worry about playing fast when learning to sight-read – it is more important to try to be accurate.

I play duets with my students to incorporate sight-reading in a fun way.  We are practicing not only sight-reading, but also playing in tune with one another and I am emulating good tone production for my students to hear and imitate.  Get with a friend or a group of friends – play duets, trios, etc. with any combo of instruments and just have fun!


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