As musicians, we are always looking for ways to hone our sight reading skills. Finding an effective approach to improving sight reading skills is something that every serious musician should take seriously. If you are like me, anything that gives me an edge to improve my sight reading or my student’s sight reading is something worth checking out.
Why is Sight Reading Important?
This is a question that could be answered differently by various professional musicians however, it is important to take a moment to really reflect on this. I feel it is safe to say that musicians practice so they can continually find ways to better express themselves.
Being able to accurately take a series of musical symbols and transform them into a musical piece of art is a valuable skill set that not only engages higher level thinking skills but provides humans an outlet to express ourselves in a way that only music is capable of doing.
How Can I Improve My Sight Reading Skills?
Ultimately, sight reading refers to the ability to use a specific skill set associated with being able read music at a high level of proficiency the first time. There is certainly no substitute for practice when trying to it better, BUT how do we do practice more effectively?
Have A Strategy
Having a plan or strategy for creating a uniform and consistent approach to it will improve your effectiveness regardless if the it is exercised in an individual or a large group setting.
I like to use the popular acronym S.T.A.R.S. for sight reading however what the letters stand for may vary from the norm. When I sight read with my students I communicate S.T.A.R.S. as representing…
S. Stands for signatures. Mores specifically key and time signatures.
T. Stands for time. This reinforces the time signature concept however, also addresses any changes in time.
A. Starts for accidentals and articulations. This highly influences the style in which a piece is performed.
R. Stands for rhythm. The focus is based on hard rhythmic passages or unusual rests.
S. Stands for signs and symbols. Essentially the last S helps the musician to remember all of the miscellaneous musical items that might be left to be addressed in the piece.
Practice Reading Skills
Sight Reading Factory is a tremendous tool that I feel could benefit all musicians. It is easy to use and provides skill specific practice for all musicians. Check this out at www.sightreadingfactory.com.
An effective approach to improving music reading skills for me may be different from the next person however, regular practice and consistency in developing this skill is necessary in meeting your personal and musical goals. If you have additional recommendations or other tools to share please leave a comment and share.