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Mastering Sight Reading

Sheet piano music and glasses for short-sightedness
Calendar March 10, 2019

Sight-reading is an essential skill that all piano players must learn. Most pianists don’t have the opportunity or ability to memorise an entire piece of music, so it’s important to be able to play and read at the same time. Some beginner pianists can feel overwhelmed by the prospect of learning to sight read. However, with a little dedication and commitment, sight reading mastery is possible for any musician. We’ve listed some useful hints to help you get started and stay motivated.

Learn to Look Ahead

Skilled sight readers all have one thing in common: they have learnt to read ahead while playing. Learning to read ahead while playing a piece is one of the most important skills to master when learning how to sight read. This means that while your fingers are playing the current bar, your mind should already be focused on the bar ahead. While this sounds complicated, it should eventually become second nature. It’s important to trust your fingers. You don’t have to think about moving your legs when you ride a bike, so you shouldn’t have to think about your fingers when sight reading.

Practice, Practice, Practice

Just like any skill, it takes time to learn how to sight read. One of the most important steps you can take to improve your sight-reading skills is committing to regular practice. Always start your practice session with a piece that isn’t too challenging. After you’ve warmed up, you can move on to more complex pieces. Don’t become despondent if you’re not grasping the technique right away, just keep practicing! Remember, you don’t have to practice for hours at a time. Just fifteen minutes of practice a day can lead to amazing improvements in your sight-reading skills. The key is consistency.

Let Mistakes Go

ven the greatest concert pianists make mistakes every now and then. But have you ever seen a professional pianist stop and start again? When sight reading, it’s important that you do not stop playing, even if you’ve made a mistake. By stopping and trying to fix your mistake, you’ll only get even more behind and confused. In an audition or exam, you’ll almost certainly be marked down for stopping. It’s much better to keep on playing. As your sight-reading skills progress, you’ll naturally find yourself making fewer mistakes.

Extra Tips and Tricks

Anyone can become a great sight reader with enough commitment, but tweaking the way you practice can help you master the skill sooner.
Using a metronome is a great idea to help improve your skills. The constant beat will help you stay in time, even if you make a mistake. Always ensure you’re practicing using a variety of pieces. Challenge yourself by using a range of different genres.

Perform with Grace

At The Pianoforte, we believe anyone can become a master pianist with the right instrument. We’ve been Sydney’s leading experts for the last thirty years, and with convenient store locations in Sydney, it’s easy to contact us or pop-in for a visit. Call us in:

  • Chatswood – 02 9411 8911
  • Seven Hills – 0478 658 227