Sunday, October 30, 2005

How To Become A Better Sight-Reader

This article was aimed at piano players but has some good tips for guitarists. Actually it applies to most any musical instrument. Check it out.

How To Become A Better Sight-Reader

By: Ronald Worthy

Copyright 2005 RAW Productions

If you are like most people, your performance of a piece of
music "at first sight" could probably stand some improvement.
Oh, to be able to breeze through a brand new piece without all
the stops and starts!

What you may not realize is that sight-reading is an art in
itself, separate and apart from pianistic ability. Many
conservatory musicians, even many soloists, are not the great
sight-readers you might expect. Sight-reading is a special craft
within the art of music that won't come automatically.

You must work at it just as you work at technique, or
interpretation. You could have the technique of a Horowitz on
the keyboard, or a Segovia on the guitar, but still be a
laughable sight-reader.

There are many tricks to the sight-reading game, no matter which
instrument you play. If these tricks can be used properly, and
with regularity, two things will happen: 1) your sight-reading
improves, of course, and 2) your over-all technique
automatically improves. And if you regiment yourself to a daily
sight-reading program, even just fifteen minutes' worth, your
entire outlook on your instrument will change drastically in a
matter days!

If you practice scales, for example, you only improve your
ability in playing scales. Nothing more. However, with
sight-reading practice, you improve your scale playing
technique, your octave technique, your arpeggio technique,
because you are using actual pieces, which can encompass all of
these techniques and more.

Let's talk more of those "tricks" that will get you on the road
to better sight-reading.

First of all, you need a metronome. That's trick number one.

What A Metronome Does For Sight-Reading:

Have you ever played chess, or watched people play chess by
time-clock? The object of time-clock chess is that each player
has a stipulated amount of time in which to make his or her
move. They cannot exceed the amount of time allotted, or else
the bell will sound and s/he will be penalized. This is exactly
how we use a metronome in sight-reading. We must make our "move"
to the next note, or next chord, within a set time period.

And that's the trick that gets our reflexes going. Sight-reading
is nothing more than training our reflexes. In order to do this
we have to fight the time-clock. In the case of music, our
time-clock is the metronome. It's an absolute necessity if you
are serious about becoming a good, or better sight-reader.
Besides that, you will find it invaluable for other practice
purposes, which we will deal with in the future.

There are all kinds of reasons for having a metronome. So you
might as well invest.

About the author:
To learn more piano "tricks of the trade," you are invited to
visit: and


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