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  • Writer's pictureGabrielle

The Importance of Sight-Reading

An open book of sheet music

Originally posted by David Arnold on May 8, 2016

The ability to read music is an extremely important and useful skill for all musicians, and in many cases we have the luxury of time to prepare a piece of music. There are, however, many times when you have very little or no time at all to practice the music. In fact, there have been several times when the first time I have played a chart was in front of an audience.

This is actually very common in the world of professional musicians, which is why it is an important skill to cultivate. The tricky part is that once you have played something once you can’t sight read it again. So the question is: How do you practice sight reading? Well, the simple answer is to play as much different music as you can.

It can be difficult to do this because purchasing large amounts of music is expensive and impractical. Fortunately there are some great resources for finding new music. Below are a few:

Ask your band director or music instructor – Most schools and studios have extensive libraries of solos and band music.

Borrow music from a friend – This is especially fun if they play a different instrument. Don’t worry about transposition, you are not going to perform this music.

Join a local municipal ensemble – Typically these groups play a wide range of music and may have little to no rehearsal prior to performances.

Participate in school or community theatre productions – Playing in pit orchestras will expose you to many challenging musical styles that will drastically expand your abilities.

Just with anything else, sight reading takes practice to be proficient. With a little creativity and dedication you will be an excellent sight reader in no time.


For more information or to sign up for lessons you can contact Marion Music Academy at 319-377-3343, or click here to sign up for a free trial lesson.

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