We’ve been doing some sight reading this month. I love how the MYC books post tips for sight reading (check the rhythm, time signature, repeating patterns, etc.). We also know about sight reading with “STARS”, but here’s more detailed info:
1) Focus on Rhythm. Rhythm is the most important element of sight reading. Even if you get the note wrong, you’ll still be in the right place. And we all know that finishing on time is so important. If this is your challenge, then you can work on it with any piece of music. Just work on playing the correct rhythm, on any note. After playing the rhythms while ignoring the pitches, you can go back later and work on reading them both together.
2) Let the most difficult part set your tempo. Often when a sight-reading passage starts easy, students choose a quick tempo, and then in the challenging part of the passage, eighth notes suddenly become quarter notes with a rit. added in for fun. If you find the trickiest part of the passage, then just use that tempo to keep a nice steady pace throughout. This might mean using a slower tempo than the one the composer suggested – and that’s okay!
3) Don’t Stop. Even if you make a mistake (which will happen), just keep going. (Oh great, now I have Dory’s ♪Just keep swimming♪ stuck in my head) For real though, just keep going and don’t stop no matter what.
4) Look Ahead. I love that in our Music for Young Children classes we use patterns to read (eg. stepping up, jump down low)! It is exactly how musicians should be reading. This is especially important for new music, you need to look ahead at the patterns and notes coming up.
5) Know your scales. If you know your key signatures and scales, many passages will be easy – you’d have half of it done right there. Also by practising without looking at our hands (magic hand cover), it will help us immensely with sight reading.
Good luck, and have fun! Don’t forget to take 31 seconds to examine things before playing.