Tips for Building Note Reading Skills
7 PRO TIPS FOR SIGHT READING
- Practice often. Here, frequency matters. In order to do this, read fresh music every day. Note Quest makes it easy to practice daily because all the exercises are already pre-organized by level for you.
- Choose wisely. Find music excerpts that are a couple of levels easier than your actual ability. The more music you get to read, the better you’ll become. Key point: This is a separate skill than learning your assigned pieces across several weeks.
- Preview Rhythm/Meter first. Before you begin, check the time signature and get a feel for the rhythm or beats. The right notes at the wrong time will not get you very far. Common pitfall: Don’t forget rests. They count too (pun intended).
- Preview the key. Identify the key signature, imagine hand placement, and look for any repeated patterns. If you can, sing the tune in your head or out loud.
- Play S-L-O-W-L-Y first. This gives your brain a chance to grasp a lot of information on your first attempt, plus it increases your chance of accuracy. In the app, tap PLAY to activate the metronome clicks and adjust as needed. After a 1-measure count-in, the screen will flash on beat 1.
- Play Through Skill. The best sight readers are not perfectionists, but they know how to play through mistakes. It’s all mental. Keeping the tempo is crucial and it will take some time for you to get the skill of playing through mistakes. Again, use the PLAY button to encourage you to play through without stopping. Don’t give up.
- Play musically. This is icing on the cake, but the best cakes have icing. Remember, you are a human musician, not a robot. If possible, integrate dynamics and musical details. Put some love into it and your mistakes will seem smaller. 🙂
If you have other tips that have worked for you, let me know!