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Improving on sight reading

Do you like sight reading? Maybe some of you do but most of you struggle at sight reading. Although you learn music literacy when you begin music lessons, sight reading music notes and playing the notes on a musical instrument instantly is not such an easy task. Of course, if you are given the time to slowly look at the notes, you will be able to figure them out. But the point of sight reading is to be spontaneous in reading and playing the notes on a musical instrument.

Reading music notes well has to do with familiarity. The more you see the same notes, the better you recognize them. But I have encountered situations where quite many students can read well within an octave of C major from Middle C up (in the Treble clef) and down (in the Bass clef). Students struggle most especially when the notes go beyond the music stave lines, and I noticed them trying to read such notes by counting the notes from a familiar note within the stave.

So, how do you improve on sight reading? There are books on improving your sight reading that may help you. Obviously sight reading is a problem for many of you, if not, then why should there be books on sight reading to help you? Yes, you can get these books to help you in sight reading.

However, you can help yourself improve in sight reading simply by reading and playing a lot of music, especially new music, all the time.

I will go back a series of articles I wrote some years back about my musical journey that lead to my profession and career in music. My father was always keen and encouraging when I was learning music that he frequently brought home all types of music that the local music shop near his office may have. Whenever stock of new music albums or music sheets was available, he would just buy them for to me to learn with no expectations involved. I can fondly remember when he got me the complete album of the musical 'The Sound Of Music'. I enjoyed learning all the pieces and especially after watching the musical and listening to the music, I understood better how to perform the pieces better.

Besides that, my music teacher also prescribed numerous books from classical albums containing a mixed repertoire, to the Sonatina Album, various Piano Studies and Etudes, etc to play. Since I figured that I am going to be playing these pieces at one time or other, I started to learn playing all the pieces on my own other than those prescribed for my piano lessons. Eventually, I began to get familiar and better with reading notes across the musical stave in both clefs. I began to notice and understand the rhythmic grouping of notes, musical symbols and signs, learn to respond to expression markings, dynamics, articulations, etc.

You can also do this at any time at home. Be proactive and tell yourself that you want to improve on sight reading. You can begin with the music books you have, or get more music books to read and play, or ask your music teacher for recommendations. There is a lot of music out there to be explored. Of course, the classical oriented books are preferable because it has equal focus on developing your reading of the bass clef and technique for the left hand.

Therefore, while there are books to help you improve in sight reading, you can only be good at it through application which means, by reading and playing more music as frequently as you can.