Monday, 26 May 2014

Don't be Scared of Sight Reading

To most who complete music exams, sight reading is that part of the exam that scares people.  That scary examiner will place an unseen piece of music in front of me and it will be really hard.  I will be expected to play it really well with no mistakes and if I don't I will fail the exam!  My palms will go all sweaty and I will completely forget how to read music at all!

STOP!  Sight reading is one of the most important parts of music.  It is also one of the best bits.  It is when you buy a new book for an artist you like.  You open it for the first time and go to your favourite song.  You sit, figure out the time signature (common time most of the time for popular music), the key signature (thank goodness for music theory lessons) and get started.  The piece slowly comes together and you realise you are now playing your favourite song from the album.

Let us clear one thing up.  Even musicians who have played all their lives DO NOT play new songs perfectly the first time.  Everyone needs to find their way with a new piece and this is called sight reading.  The polished performance comes later on, after having gone through the song a number of times.  Some, more difficult songs may even need breaking up into small chunks, one line or even one bar at a time until you master that really tough bit with 5 notes at the same time with lots of dotted notes!

All this is normal.  Examiners expect it.  You should expect it.  Take your time - aim for accuracy rather than speed in your playing.  Take car to take note of the key (so many people miss this!)  When you come across a hard bit - don't give up.  For those of you who have played traditional video games such as Mario - see the more difficult bits as that level on Mario that you keep falling off the the same platform.  I can guarantee you will get frustrated, but when you finally make the level (or polish that section), you feel SO good about it.

Sight reading is fantastic.  Try it - often.  Don't be afraid of making mistakes and realise it is normal to battle through a new piece slowly.

Want some pieces to sight read?  Our student area on our own music school website has a range of pieces for students to sight read.  Why not log in and try one today?

No comments:

Post a Comment