Essential Skill Development for Piano Students – Sight Reading

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Students of every level can benefit from regular sight reading.

Why Sight Reading is Important

As beginners, the music we learn is limited to the small amount of theory that we know. The rhythm is simplified, the note range is small, and the pieces are short.

As we learn more notes, more rhythms, more key signatures and more time signatures there is more to review on a regular basis.

Because of our increased knowledge, there is more chance that we don’t encounter everything we have learned on a equal or regular cycle. This can lead to becoming more proficient at some things than others, as we gain more experience with the elements that we encounter most frequently.

Our technical skill increases, our ear improves, our theoretical knowledge increases, but if we are not playing a huge variety of music a gap can develop in our knowledge bank and our ability to execute it in real time.

Did you know that working on challenging music (to read) can actually hinder your sight reading skill development? This is because we must pause on this piece for a long time, using up our practice time to sort and sift and repeat. This limits our exposure to other pieces which would bring variety to our musical development. We need variety to develop!

How can I develop my sight reading with ease?

The answer is simple: read a lot of music. The volume of the music is key here. Lots and lots of music. Everyday. I would recommend spending 10 minutes per day on sight reading.

And the key is to read music that is comfortable for you to read at sight. The tempo can be slow, but you should be aiming for music that you can read nearly as easily as you are reading these words.

To do this, you’ll need to find a large variety of music that is at all the same level, and then gradually increase the level as your skill increases.

So, read a lot of music, that’s not to easy and not too hard – but most importantly not too hard!

How can easily find a variety of music to Sight Read?

To be most effective, you have to sight read a lot of different music and this can be a challenge!

Finding a lot of music to read can be a challenge. One alternative I have used in the past is to loan students books to take home for a week to play through the entire book. These books would be at a level 2 or 3 levels below their repertoire level. As I teacher, I have an extensive lending library and this was never a problem. Students would swap the last one for a new one at their lesson.

If your teacher can’t loan you books, or if you’re working independently, you’ll need a better option. And buying your own multitude of books will cost a lot! You could try to find free scores on the internet but that is time consuming and you’ll also have no way to control the parameters of the music – it might seem easy, but have large leaps or tricky fingering, or a strange rhythm you’re not familiar with.

The solution to these issues is Sight Reading Factory. A website/app that generates sheet music for you to read on your computer, tablet, phone or even to print out.

Once you set your level, you can generate an infinite amount of unique music sheets to read. You can play along with the built-in metronome, play along with the playback of the sheet music or even use challenge mode and record yourself playing along with the playback. It’s brilliant!

Sight Reading Factory is a great resource to provide effortless access to daily exercises.

Where can I try Sight Reading Factory? And can I get a discount on a Sight Reading Factory subscription?

Sight Reading Factory comes with a free trial period and then you can purchase an annual subscription. Visit Use code Lisa88 to save 10% on your subscription or renewal.