Sight–reading, 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!