Pan and I spend hours waiting in the emergency room for a scan he has to do and while I’ve done more exciting and pressing things in my life, I’d also rather know that my best friend is okay. I am writing this on my phone in the emergency room and thinking back to all the times my piano students had trouble sight reading. Ironic, but I really liked the non technique parts of a music exam—sight reading, ear testing, clapping, you name it. It felt like a game to me.
Sight reading is the skill that lets you learn a piece of music the first few times you play it.
Some genres of music rely so much on playing by ear and improv that a lot of musicians don’t find the need for sight reading until later on and the catch is that by then, they expect themselves to be just as good at sight reading as they are playing the instrument.
A lot of readers told me they’re looking to improve their sight reading, so I’ll share with you how I started sight reading in piano, and you might find ways to improve on your own sight reading journey. Please note that there may be affiliate links below when describing technique but I only recommend something that I would use, and Artiden may receive a commission when someone purchases using that link.
I started playing piano at an age where I had nothing more important to do, and I didn’t care that I couldn’t play much piano at all. One day, I found a sheet of music titled Good Morning to All placed in my folder by mistake. When I played it, as I tended to do with any sheet music, it turned out to be Happy Birthday. Ten year old Grace unlocked a new level of playing! It’s the feeling of accomplishment you get from playing the music to your favourite movie or video game.
In any case, sight reading takes deliberate practice and patience. The interesting thing about sight reading is finding the balance between almost feeling hopeless and being fully engrossed in the piece.
When I started highschool, I had a talented, severe piano teacher.
You know the cliché musicians who moan and bang on the piano in frustration? She was in that crowd.
She held an event every 2 months, mostly masterclasses and performances. Sometimes a performer came in, sometimes the students played for each other.
In the masterclasses, everyone played something. A girl played a Czerny finger exercise once.
This teacher started some massive sadness in my life, but I learned a lot from her. We parted ways because I started crying too often. And she was cheating our money (probably by accident).
You probably have an amazing goal right now.
We all have goals…
But we always say things like:
“I don’t have enough time…” or
“If only I had enough money…”
And we give up on our goals.
Sometimes we get into ruts and we get stuck for a long, long time.
Some of us force ourselves to practice for 10 hours straight until the piano exam, then start to dread practicing.
(Playing the same passage for hours.)
You shouldn’t be forcing yourself to do dreadful things… or dreading what you think you should love.
I’ve come up with a system that’s tried-and-true, and I’m excited to share it with you!
It’s 3 steps, and I first shared it with my students.
The system works for both piano teachers and piano students: if you’re ready to play your way to your goals, then read on.
If you’re looking to ‘read for fun’ and forget about it afterwards, then this isn’t for you right now—don’t waste my time or yours, please! :)
The 3-Step Goal
Want to play (almost) any piano music, no matter how much time you have or how “good” you are?
Want piano students to practice more, by doing just one thing? (Want to make yourself practice more with just one thing?)
What about read notes more quickly and sight read better?
Here’s the cool thing about the 3-Step Goal:
It works for any goal, piano-related or not.
I use this in my own life and to teach piano.
It’s that powerful, and that awesome.
Yes, free, in exchange that you apply the 3-Step Goal to ONE goal. Just one. That’s all I ask.
I don’t usually share things like this here (publicly– it usually gets sent to my subscribers only), so I’m super excited to see what you come up with!
Who doesn’t love sight reading?
Let’s back up:
Who hasn’t struggled with sight reading– teaching or learning?
It’s one of the hardest skills…
But it’s also one of the most important.
That’s where SightReadingMastery comes in.
Today we have an awesome giveaway with SightReadingMastery, a site that wants to help you teach and learn sightreading.
Does it really do the job?
I was pleasantly surprised when Evan, a reader and music teacher from Texas, emailed me about SRM.
He says SRM was created because he wanted to make learning and teaching sightreading easier, and because it’s such an important skill that we struggle with.
Read on to find out if SRM really makes it easier for people to learn and teach sight reading… and enter the giveaway to win a LIFETIME account. (Worth $348/year)
This review is a completely honest account of SightReadingMastery.
Feel like there’s almost nothing new in Christmas music?
You’re wrong. ;)
If you’re looking for Christmas pieces that aren’t common, I’ve got you covered.
I’ve found these awesome pieces that are now on my to-order list. :D
If you’re ever perplexed over duplicate Christmas pieces for recitals, these are great alternatives.
The videos are embedded below with the sheet music.