In my last blog post, I talked about the top three skills I think are most important to being a good sight reader.
Just like any skill, sight reading gets better with practice! Today, I will share a few ways I help my students practice their sight reading.
There’s an app for that! Apps are a fun way to practice sight reading. A few of my favorites:
- Piano Maestro: with fun backing tracks and scrolling music, this app is great for helping students keep their eyes moving ahead in the music, keeping a steady beat, and playing without stopping.
- SightRead4Piano by Wessar: this app is designed for students preparing for the sight reading portion of exams such as those offered by the ABRSM. My favorite thing about this app is that as students sight read each piece at the piano, the measures in the music disappear--meaning no going back!
- Tenuto: although this app is meant for theory practice and not sight reading, I find the "interval identification" and "chord identification" exercises very helpful to work on "chunking." I place my iPad on the music rack and have students see how quickly they can play each interval or chord as it appears on the screen.
Short Term Goal Pieces. I like to keep students sight reading as much as possible by assigning them lots of short term goal pieces, so they are trying out new repertoire (and flexing their sight reading muscles) at every lesson. Students should be able to master these pieces in just a week or two. As a bonus, these short term goals are great for boosting a student’s self-confidence!
Just Duet! Duets are a fun way to work on sight reading. I like to have students sight read duets and trios at our monthly group classes (see my "Free Stuff" page for links to my free ensemble pieces.) Sight reading is much more fun when you practice with a friend (or two)!
What do you think? How do you help your students practice their sight reading? Please share in the comments below!