HOSTS- Jeremy Burns, Matthew Scott Phillips
TYPE- Special Topics
BUMPER MUSIC- "Borrowed Groove" (Area 47 Music)
ANNOUNCER- Mike Cunliffe
What exactly is sight reading? What is the difference between reading music and sight reading music? What are some factors that contribute to good sight reading? How can I improve my sight reading skills? Good questions, all!
We shall address them in this episode!
READING MUSIC- The act of translating and reproducing musical ideas from printed notation.
SIGHT READING MUSIC- The act of translating and reproducing musical ideas from printed notation upon first examination.
A part of being a musician is learning to read music and translate it to your instrument, be it through playing or singing. When this skill is sharpened it can contribute to one's ability to sight read. A truly accomplished sight reader can transpose the music they read, to any key, on the fly!
An article in Bulletproofmusician.com, by Noa Kageyama, PhD, points out a study that examines different factors that can influence sight reading expertise.
This meta analysis, by Jennifer Mishra, has grouped 154 of these factors down to 17 main categories:
4-Academic achievement (SAT scores, GPA)
8-Psychomotor (reaction time)
14-Attitude (level of interest in music)
The findings suggest that one’s musicality, or music experience, is more strongly related to one’s sight reading skill level. The strongest factors were found to be:
-Ear training ability
The less influencing factors include things like:
Before you even play (or sing) the first note, try to give the entire piece of music a quick scan. Keep the following things in mind while you do so:
1. Analyze the tune in it's entirety. Notice the scale, the key signature and the
2. Orient to the key. Sing, or play, up and down the scale, along with arpeggios. Try
to imagine the line, or space that the tonic is on as "bigger" than all the others.
Sing up and down the scale, using numbers or solfége.
3. Try to identify phrases, contour and recurring motives. Find the end of phrases
and try to make and educated guess on what the cadences might be.
4. Sing the notes, in your head, to yourself.
5. Go for it! Try it and the mentally go over your performance and note things that
could be better.
For a breakdown of the study on factors that influence one's sight reading abilities, check out Noa Kageyama's article, on www.bulletproofmusician.com, here.
-The study (mentioned above) was a meta analysis, conducted by Jennifer Mishra (Associate Prof. University of Missouri). You can find the full study, "Factors Related To Sight-Reading Accuracy", at sagejournals.com.
-For more great tips on sight reading, check out the following blog, by Brian Jenkins, on yourmusiclessons.com:
-You can find (and contribute) random melodies, of all levels, for sight reading practice at thesightreadingproject.com
MUSIC STUDENT 101