Why is sight-reading so hard?

Sight-reading is hard because of the number of complex tasks you have to accomplish simultaneously in real-time. When sight-reading, you have to:

  • produce the notes,
  • produce the rhythm,
  • stay in time,
  • remember the key signature,
  • coordinate the hands,
  • look ahead,
  • etc.

It is especially demanding on keyboard instruments because of having two or more lines of music to read and play.

General Questions on Sight-Reading

When sight-reading, try to look at least one beat ahead which can mean looking several notes ahead, depending on the piece. To do this effectively, learn how to read groups of notes.

 

FOR MORE INFO >> How to Look Ahead when Sight-Reading

If you’ve been playing piano for a while and you still can’t sight-read music, it could be due to several reasons:

  • you don’t practise sight-reading on a regular basis
  • you memorise the moment you learn a new piece and don’t use the score
  • you always learn pieces hands separately
  • you lack music theory knowledge
  • you lack technical skills

 

FOR MORE INFO >> 10 Habits to Avoid When Reading Music & How to Break Them

Questions on Sight-Reading Practice

If you’re just starting out, I recommend you use graded sight-reading books or graded repertoire books because these are progressive and offer a structure to follow. If you’ve been practising sight-reading for a while, use sets of pieces or sheet music by your favourite composers or composers you are curious about.

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    Emmanuelle Fonsny

    Emmanuelle Fonsny

    Emmanuelle Fonsny, or Manu, is a piano and violin teacher, composer and accompanist based in Sydney, Australia. She is passionate about sharing her love of music and her sight-reading and practice tips to help other pianists become more confident sight-readers.

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