How to Improve Your Sight Reading Skills

Piano Playing Technique

Perhaps you’re looking for piano lessons in the Bay Area for a budding musical prodigy. Or maybe you’re just learning to play piano, and you crave thorough insight into the process of sight reading.

The web is awash with tactics and strategies to boost your sight reading skills. But take it from the authorized piano dealers at Pianos Plus, you must begin by understanding that developing proficiency in sight reading will not happen overnight. You need to practice – and practice deliberately. If you practice wrong – that is, without getting good feedback, without learning from your mistakes, and without engaging consistently with materials that challenge you at just the right level – your sight reading skills won’t improve, and they may even degrade.

Yamaha Keyboard

Image Via Flickr

Use a process that’s worked for others. Ideally, get feedback as you go along, so you don’t pick up bad habits. Also, expect the process to be challenging, particularly at first. Give yourself time, and commit to short-term goals. Musicians love to “win.” In other words, they love to master pieces, perform for others, and enjoy the pure aesthetic thrill of completing a piece. So set your sight reading goals, so you’ll have plenty of “wins” along the way to mastery.

Here’s some tactical advice: 

  • Review the piece completely before you play it. Your subconscious mind will pick up on cues and help you avoid mistakes that you might make if you played the piece “blind.”
  • Don’t stutter-stop your way through the piece. Just keep going. Learn how to push yourself, even if/when you make mistakes. This will give you confidence and fluidity.
  • Create music, and play with emotion. Playing music is a cerebral process, but it’s also a very emotional process. Tap into your basic musical instincts, and you’ll find yourself intuitively finding the right notes and developing the grit you need to persist.
  • Choose the right instrument. The quality of your instrument can influence your playing and your passion and dedication.

Buy or Rent a Piano from Your Authorized Piano Dealers!

The team here at the Pianos Plus would love to introduce you to great instruments for your needs and your level. We also have terrific used pianos for sale! Call us at 510-581-1660 for help with sight reading, piano lessons, or finding an instrument.