Memorizing musical pieces and complicated chord structures can sometimes be quite cumbersome especially for budding musicians. This is where sight reading comes into the picture, where the pianist has the support of the musical piece as reference. But it’s not that easy, sight reading can either be a lifesaver or an absolute nightmare, that is, the notes sure give you a backup, but it can be scary if you fumble.

Music tutors everywhere have stressed the importance of sight reading and how it helps you practice better enhancing your performance. Remember, sight is more about anticipating the next note than reading the current one, it helps you plan your performance better. Mentioned below are some simple and effective tips that can help you with sight reading music:

music sheet on a stand
Image Courtesy of Flickr

Some pre-performance preparations

Performing live can be terrifying; however, some planning and practice can prepare you for your show. Read on to know more about preparing yourself for the piano concert and how to enhance sight-reading music

Be prepared

You must be familiar with the many chords, keys and overall structure of the music. Before you begin with sight reading, it is essential that you practice the different notes and variations of the piece thoroughly. Be familiar with the musical notes and finger movements, perfect the playing technique. Also, pay attention to the scales and their variations.

Ensure that you’ve got the correct chords and structure, then practice consistently so much so that your hands automatically hit the correct keys. For this, you can either check out books on different aspects of playing technique or take the help of your music teacher.

Read your music beforehand

Sight reading music involves keeping your eyes on the piece in front of you and not the piano. Therefore it is only smart that you’re familiar with the piece, sight singing also boosts your piano performance. Look at what you’re playing before the big performance, this way you can anticipate the problem areas better. Sight reading helps you imprint the music to memory (this includes the scales and arpeggios), analyze your music study it carefully, and understand the theme and emotional content of the piece.

a child reading sheet music
Image courtesy of Public Domain Pictures

Pick the correct tempo

Every music piece has its own set structure and tempo, sticking to the correct tempo is extremely for important for the performance. Focus on the composition and rhythm of the piece you can even improvise here, experimenting with the tempo.

Budding pianists and inexperienced sight readers tend to lose control of the tempo and the piece is ruined. However, experienced professionals have a solution for this problem: determine the tempo based on the most difficult section of the piece. Also, memorizing note allows you more control and accuracy while playing.

While performing

Now that you’re on stage, take a deep breath and swiftly glance through the sheet before you begin. Keep your calm and read the music correctly, often musicians fumble because they’re too nervous to comprehend anything they’re reading. Try not being too overwhelmed by the crowd – breathe! And because you’re familiar with the music you can manage the correct tempo, pitch, and rhythm of the piece better

song written on a music sheet
Image Courtesy of Wikimedia

Don’t panic if you make a mistake

In spite of all the precautions taken from your part, there may be times when you can fumble while playing. The trick is to skip the mistake and continue playing. Don’t break the rhythm, what’s done is done, don’t try rectifying the error. Also, professionals use the music sheet to plan the later keys and playing techniques of the performance, rather than use it as a reference.

Some tips for sight reading music

Listed below is a comprehensive set of rules used by most sight readers, it takes a more focused approach to deal with the piece:

  • Concentrate on the bigger sections of music
  • Recognize the rhythms and patterns
  • Memorise the keys, chords, and scales thoroughly
  • Mark or add little help notes for your convenience
  • Always try anticipating the next chord when playing
  • Let go of the mistakes and move on with the piece

The bottom line

Sight-reading, like all self-study techniques, requires ample practice and patience, follow the above-mentioned methods for improving your piano performance.

Featured Image: Image Credit

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