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Sight Reading

Sight Reading is a skill in which many people concentrate just on the pitch and forget about the rhythm.





A New Fun and Interactive Way to Practice Sight Reading

Sight reading is one of the most dreaded parts of an ABRSM or Trinity Music exam. It is also arguably one of the most neglected parts of exam preparation.

That is why I decided to publish the ebook 
Sight Reading Trainer with Audio.

This book will help you to make sight reading, not only part of your daily practice routine, but also in a fun way to improve this skill. They are arranged progressively so that they train you rather than give numerous specimen examples.

As well as many written sight reading examples, there are tips on how to use the 30 second preparation time you get in the exam. Also, each example in this book comes with audio tracks which help you play in time - essential for getting a good mark.




US Users click HERE

Also available in PDF version with Audio Files HERE

Or get it FREE as a member of MusicOnline UK HERE

This is just the first in a series which I will be releasing over the coming months covering the higher grades. So return to this page to discover the other books as they are published.

Most students focus primarily on getting the notes the correct pitch at the expense of keeping the beat going. However, if you look at the ABRSM marking criteria for a sight reading test, the FIRST thing that is mentioned for a distinction is, “Fluent, rhythmically accurate” (followed by “accurate notes/pitch/key”).

As mentioned already, in an exam you are given up to half a minute to prepare. At this point most people will tentatively start to try and work out the pitches of the first few bars. This is a waste of your 30 seconds. Instead - Try and get the rhythm in your head, without touching your instrument.

As you go through this book you will notice dynamics and articulation marks are added in the later examples. Again the marking criteria for a distinction mentions “Attention to Musical detail.”

Once you have a sense of the music as a whole, you should get a sense of what key you are in. The Key Signatures that you should know from memory in this book, are those of one sharp (F sharp) and one flat (B flat). You don’t want to be wasting time in the exam counting up lines and spaces to work out the accidentals in the key signature.

Grade 1 ABRSM sight reading tests may be in any of the keys C, G or F major and A or D minor. Trinity College Grade 1 only uses C and G major and A minor.

Once you have established the key signature, then after placing the suggested finger on the first note of the test, play a 5 note micro-scale in that hand position.

The last thing mentioned in the marking criteria for a distinction is “Confident presentation”. A sight reading test is an assessment on how well you can convey the music as a whole performance, NOT if you can recognise the pitches A, B, C etc - that is a theory exam!!

Finally - a word on mistakes. If you miss a note, DON’T go back and correct it, you’ll only upset the flow and rhythm of the music and this effectively then counts as a 2nd mistake. You can’t erase the first mistake, and the examiner is not interested if you can improve on your wrong note, he wants to hear a performance of the music as a whole which conveys as best you can, the character of the piece.

For more tips on how to get the best out of all the aspects of the exam, Sight Reading, Scales, Aural and of course the Pieces, check out my other E-book, “How to get a Distinction at ABRSM”


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