If yourself or your child are taking an ABRSM or Trinity Grade, you will need to spend some time preparing for the sight-reading element of the exam.
Here are 10 top tips for practising your piano Sight-Reading.
- Observe the Key Signature: Start by identifying the key signature and associating it with the major or minor key. Visualise the sharps or flats required and memorise the key before you begin playing.
- Pay Attention to Fingering and Hand Position: Once you have the key signature and if fingering numbers are provided, I would place both your hands in the right position and your fingers over the keys as your first port of call.
- Look For Musical Patterns: Quickly identify any note patterns, shapes or repetitions. Note any chords, arpeggios and scale-like passages. Recognising these patterns will help you read the music more efficiently.
- Nail the Rhythm: Initially, practice tapping the rhythm separately with both hands. This helps you grasp the rhythm before adding the notes.
- Tempo: Take note of the tempo indicated and the time signature. Start by playing well below the marked tempo to ensure accuracy in your rhythm.
- Read Both Hands Separately: Reading with both hands together can be challenging. Start by practicing each hand separately and then gradually combine them as you become more proficient.
- Start Slowly: Begin with slow tempos to build confidence and avoid hesitations. Slow speeds encourage reading ahead and reduce the chances of making errors.
- Keep Going: The most critical aspect of sight-reading is to never stop. Even if you make mistakes, try to continue playing to the end. Over time, you'll learn to ignore errors and focus on the overall performance.
- Explore Different Styles: Try an eclectic variety of musical styles, from classical to jazz to pop. This flexibility will allow you recognise different genres and prepare you for various musical challenges.
- Set a Timer: Eventually you will need to be accustomed to preparing your sight-reading quickly and efficiently. Setting a timer for short periods can focus your attention on the important things.
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