Are you frustrated by getting stuck trying to read difficult music notation? Would you rather just be able to learn songs a lot faster on the piano? Would you like to become better at sight reading music?
If you answered “yes” to the above questions, I would like to share with you six ways to improve your sight reading skills on the piano.
1. Learn How To Understand Music Notation
The most important thing is knowing what the different notation symbols mean. Not just the different notes, but also the length of the notes and the rests. If you want to learn how to read chords, then learning what the different chord symbols mean is also important.
Piano notation uses the treble clef and bass clef, so you should get familiar with those. You should also learn about the different key signatures, time signatures and musical terminology. The musical terms are written in Italian, and can take some time to learn for someone who is new to the language.
2. Learn The Correct Sight Reading Technique
When sight reading on the piano, you are better off learning the correct technique to do it. The first step to take before sight reading a piece is to find out the key signature and the time signature. Next, look at the tempo of the piece. If it is too fast for you to sight read right now, you may choose to play the piece at whatever other tempo that is easier for you, but be sure to decide the tempo before you start playing.
Once you are sight reading, it is important to keep your eyes on the music. Looking ahead is the best way to find out what is happening in the music next. For example, while you are playing bar 1, you should already have your eyes on bar 2, so that you will be able to play it next. Keeping your eyes focused ahead while playing music is a skill that requires a lot of practise.
3. Practice Using One Hand At A Time
If you find sight reading hard with two hands to begin with, practising with one hand at a time is an easy way to start improving your sight reading skills. As a beginner you will still be learning how the notes are positioned in the different clefs, so giving yourself some more time to think is important.
4. Do Not Start From Music That Is Too Hard For You To Play
Even though it is great to challenge yourself with difficult music, I recommend not going overboard with this. Start by sight reading music that you think you could easily learn. After you feel comfortable sight reading on one level, start gradually making it more difficult. Don’t expect to become a pro overnight, it requires a lot of effort to learn how to sight read well.
5. Practice Sight Reading With A Metronome
Playing in time while sight reading is very important, and it is one of the key things for improving your sight reading. A metronome will help you play in time, and using a metronome while sight reading will improve your sigh reading skills quickly.
6. Use Sight Reading Books
There are a lot of sight reading books and book-series that you can use to learn how to sight read on the piano. Starting from a level one sight reading book, and gradually moving through one level at a time is a great way to quickly improve your sight reading skills.
© Matti Carter
About The Author:
Matti Carter teaches piano in Helsinki, Finland. He also composes music and writes instructional articles. Feel free to contact him for any music related questions.