Like recipes are needed to learn how to cook food, sight-reading is needed to learn music. It is a foundational skill for all musicians and it allows players to perform a new piece of musical notation that may have been written hundreds of years ago! For some students, sight-reading can be a daunting skill to work on. With results that usually show after periods of consistent practice, students often lose sight of their improvements and find the process tedious. Additionally, many students and their teachers fail to pace the learning process, leading to a demoralised student. So how do we tackle these issues?

Tips on how to improve in Sight-Reading:

  • Familiarise yourself with notesBefore one learns to read, one must first learn the alphabet. Similarly in music, it is important to familiarise oneself with where the notes exist on the staff and eventually, beyond it.

    There are actually many ways this step can be reinforced. Even off the keyboard, teachers can engage students through game-styled activities. Our teachers often use sight-reading flash cards to quiz our students as a mini-game. In addition, note names are also reinforced during written theory work. With the reminders from various sources, students are more likely to develop familiarity with notes in general.

  • Taking it step-by-stepPacing is important whenever one is learning a skill. People learn best when they are trying to achieve an attainable goal that presents enough of a challenge to allow for improvement. Hence, our teachers always pay extra attention to provide materials that are suitable for each student’s level. With the proper materials, we ensure that the student improves at a steady pace and is adequately challenged. Students are also guided in their approach to self-preparation before sight-reading. This includes things like checking the keys, dynamics and complex spots before they start. With all these tools at their disposal, the students are provided with the tools to succeed.
  • Making it funAt its core, sight-reading is a skill that allows musicians to discover new music. It allows us to play pieces that we hope to learn and perform ourselves. As such, our teachers try to engage students in sight-reading through the usage of supplementary music pieces. These selections include non-classical options, such as pop music, jazz repertoire, soundtracks and many others! This allows the student to incorporate music into some of their other interests– for example, a student who learns soundtracks from a video game as he plays them as a hobby. Through the combination of diverse music selection and games as aforementioned, students will learn sight-reading in an engaging and fun way beyond dull, mundane lessons.

With these carefully curated tips, teachers can create a conducive learning experience for students. By equipping them with this foundational skill, students will be ready to tackle future pieces for their examinations and their own musical interests. Like recipes are often needed for good food, we hope students will be able to perform great music from these “sound recipes”.