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Not what you might expect, but sight reading music effectively requires quite a bit of preparation.
The technique you'll learn here can become a very quick habit with practice. And done daily, at least for periods, you'll improve your sight reading quite dramatically!
After preparing the piece in your head (mental preparation), continue your preparation with the exercises below.
Play or sing a few segments in the score while using two essential steps:
Even though it hardly seems like sight reading music with all this preparation, practicing these exercises will help you develop a "quick scan and test" technique. This technique you may later use, quickly in under 30 seconds, before playing the piece; a prima vista!
In this way, you will be sight reading music with fewer mistakes and much more confidence.
Remember to do some sight reading practice every day you practice the piano. A little bit each day has the benefit of the accumulated effect.
This preparation is crucial to tweak your muscle “memory” a little in advance. But, please observe that you are not playing the piece through properly just yet- this is still part of the preparation!
After thoroughly preparing the piece in your head and checking out positions, intervals, and raised or lowered notes, it is finally time to play the music!
You have already prepared the piece, so it is not the first time you have seen the score. But it will be the first time you play the music for real, so to speak.
Here is what to do:
Unit counting means counting each note for its beat value and not regarding where it is in the measure.
For example, four quarter notes in a measure would be counted 1-1-1-1 with unit counting and not 1-2-3-4 as with regular counting. This technique makes it easier to keep looking ahead and the music going forward.
Phew! That’s it! Congratulations on your sight reading practice!
So, how did it go? If you made many mistakes, simply pick an easier piece or just a smaller segment of a music piece next time.
You can’t force the ability to read prim a’ vista by playing too tricky pieces. Step by step wins the race!