Turn your students into sight-reading superstars!
- One of the most important musical skills
- Enhances every aspect of music making
- Good sight-reading leads to more accurate performances and enhanced musicianship
- Helps create the complete musician
- Promotes the enjoyment of music
- Example: Studio musicians (time is money)
What should I do?
- “Sell” it to your students – challenge them!
- Integrate into the curriculum on a daily basis, a little each day
- Strategize to help you find your students’ strengths and weaknesses
- Tactile senses
- Aural: Listening & Responding
Application of Skills
- Rhythm reading is usually most difficult aspect of sight-reading
- What activities and musical training can make students better sight readers?
- What other activities do you use?
- Where is it in your written curriculum?
- Daily integration – small ideas
- Weekly, Monthly – larger ideas
- Clap/Tap to a steady beat
- Say letter names in tempo
- Say finger numbers (strings)
- Pizzicato (strings); Vocalize with syllables (ta/ti)
- Finger with sizzle
- Large group
- Small group or partners
- Home practice/drills
- Start small!! Work your way up to longer & more difficult repertoire
What to look for…
- Time signature
- Key signature
- “Road map”
- Bowings, tonguing, articulations
What are the priorities when sight-reading?
Use mnemonic devices such as the word “STARS”
- S – signatures (time and key)
- T – tempo
- A – accidentals
- R – rests & rhythmns
- S – signs (road map items like D.C. and coda)
- Tracking – tap and say notes rhythms simultaneously
- Movement – clapping, stomping, conducting, etc.
- Keep going!! No stopping!
- Count out loud
- Cover notes being played, forcing student to look ahead
- Counting rests as with an emphasis on their importance
- Skip a particular note or beat each measure
- Pass the melody – measure at a time
- Change the key
- Interval training
- Have a m2/M2 day, etc.
- Triad/Arpeggio training
- Teach chord construction, alteration
More ways to develop
- Playing by ear and improvisation can improve students’ ear, eye, and hand coordination. Also removes the variable of sight!
- Students need to develop their ability to render the sound they imagine audible.
- Inner hearing along with the development of technical proficiency.
Audience provided examples
(from FMEA and TMEA 2014 presentations)
- Sight-reading jar – pull out musical snippets
- Student-created rhythms & melodies
- Folders loaded with different pieces, read them little by little
- Reverse rhythm reading
- Rhythmic rest patterns book (101 rhythmic rest patterns)
- SmartMusic sight-reading exercises
- Binders of fun!
- How should sight-reading be assessed?
- Large group – adjudication first comes to mind
- Classroom assessments
- Sheet music (most used)
- Supplemental method books
- Alternate method books or exercise books
- Create your own!
- Finale, etc.
- Noteflight – cloud-based music notation
Websites & Apps
- iPad Apps
iPad screen mirroring via AirPlay is made possible by Air Server software. www.airserver.com, $15.
- Stress the importance of sight-reading. Make it an important ingredient to your curriculum
- When sight-reading is infused into your curriculum and daily lessons it can make a huge impact on music making
- Start small
- Be creative!
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