Nearly all music teachers agree that sight-reading is one of the most important skills a developing musician must acquire. Fluent sight-readers learn music quickly, are comfortable at their instrument, and have a broad knowledge of music. They enjoy making music with others, and have a sense of curiosity and excitement about exploring music.
It is sometimes assumed that these fluent sight-readers just have a knack for it, an inborn talent that they didn’t have to work for. If you ask them how they do it, they often say they don’t know, they just do it, adding to the impression that their ability is a gift. But in fact, they do it well simply because they’ve done it a lot. Like all skills, ability in sight-reading is acquired through regular practice over a long period of time.
Related to the notion that sight-reading ability is an innate gift is the idea that you can’t really teach someone to sight-read; they’re either good at it, or not. This is also a myth. With sight-reading, the teacher acts as more of a facilitator than a teacher. He or she provides the motivation for the students to practice, some basic tips on how to proceed, and above all, a large quantity of appropriate music for reading.
And that is the most difficult part of teaching sight-reading. Since sight-reading should be included in every practice session, and since each piece should only be sight-read once or twice, we need a huge amount of material, all of which must be carefully graded to perfectly match each student’s current ability. Furthermore, each piece should ideally be prefaced with some preparatory exercises and tips on what to think about and watch out for, so that the first read-through is as successful as possible. Creating such a curriculum is a truly daunting task.
Fortunately, we’ve done that for you with Read Ahead. Read Ahead provides an extensive collection of high-quality Classical pieces at all levels of difficulty, carefully graded to develop skills gradually, and supplemented with innovative preparatory exercises. Students learn what to look for before they start to sight-read a piece, how to keep their eyes on the music without looking down at their hands, how to keep the beat going and simplify when necessary, and most importantly, how to read ahead.
Reading ahead of where we are playing is an indispensable ability for fluent sight-reading. Yet it is difficult to achieve without some help because the eyes are in the habit of looking at the notes we are currently playing, just as we look at the words we are currently reading, rather than the ones coming up. Our patented technology makes the music disappear a measure in advance as you are sight-reading, helping you not only to develop your short-term memory and look ahead, but to keep going and leave out notes you may not remember, skills that are also necessary for fluent sight-reading. [see a demonstration]
To experience all the features of Read Ahead, download the free iPad app today. Once you have found the level that fits you best (the first 2 days of each section are free to try), you can start to improve your sight-reading for as little as $3.99.