Success Improving Sight Reading Skills is Found in Technique

Sight Reading Skills Continue in the Second 30 Seconds

Did you miss step 1 for improving sight reading skills? Catch up here

We’re focused on step 2 to improve sight reading skills of high school band students.

After you’ve completed your 5-step overview, you’re ready to move on to part 2: rhythm and pitch. In general, you can miss a pitch or two, but you cannot miss basic rhythm patterns.

Important Sight Reading Tips

  1. You know if the composition is in simple or compound time and you’ve found the mixed-meter measures. Concentrate on the transitional measures — two measures before and four measures into the meter change.
  2. Look for dotted and tied notes. Count the measure before, the measure(s) with the dotted or tied notes, and two measures after for this pattern.
  3. Look for changes in tempo. This can be evident with a metronome meter marking or most often through musical terms. Count two measures before the tempo change and two measures into the new tempo.
  4. Look for melodic patterns. The key here is patterns: if you get one pattern
    down, then you will have success with every consecutive pattern that imitates it.
  5. Look for large interval leaps. In general, if the interval is more than five lines or four spaces:
    1. Determine the interval distance
    2. Catalog the interval (e.g. M6, d7, P8)
    3. Sing (Solfege) three notes before the interval leap and three notes following the interval leap.

Do not be afraid to count out loud

If you are accustomed to using the Eastman (Gordon) Method, with its rhythm counting patterns, hand movements and related syllables, then use it which will improve sight reading skills.

When it comes to pitch reference using the Solfege system, then softly sing the interval leaps. If you are accustomed to using Solfege hand signs do not be embarrassed to do this as well.

The majority of adjudicators will be impressed that you have the knowledge and abilities to engage a systematic approach to rhythm and pitch as you prepare for your sight-reading composition.

Keep Practicing,

Dr. Randall Bayne, CEO