Improving your sight-reading has many benefits beyond simply getting a better mark in an examination. It allows you to play a wider range of music and gives you more opportunities to make music with others. Sight-reading also develops many other skills essential for overall musical development.

Despite being such an important skill, sight-reading is often not taught directly and therefore it’s difficult to know how to go about practising it. With this in mind, we have built an extensive collection of sight-reading resources on the Online Academy to help you and your students practice sight-reading.

Advanced Sight-reading Curriculum

Created by Ken Johansen and based on the curriculum he uses in his class for piano majors at the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University, our Advanced Sight-Reading Curriculum provides a unique, structured approach to developing the key skills that underpin a good sight-reading ability.

It consists of an extensive collection of annotated scores dealing with every aspect of sight-reading, together with detailed suggestions on how to practise, covering everything from training the eyes to read more efficiently, to recognising patterns, simplifying complex textures and mastering difficult rhythms.

advanced sight-reading resources

We’ve recently added a new instalment which teaches how to keep a regular pulse while tackling challenges such as recognising underlying rhythmic structures, subdividing the pulse accurately, handling polyrhythms and negotiating the sometimes confusing visual impression given by different kinds of meters. Click on one of the following links to find out more:

Read Ahead

This sight-reading curriculum comprises a curated collection of carefully ordered sight-reading examples from the elementary to intermediate levels. The examples feature related exercises and quizzes to help students develop the mental and tactile skills necessary for fluent sight-reading. Click here to view level 1, click here for level 2, click here for Level 3 or click here for Level 4 (recently added) on the Online Academy.

elementary and intermediate sight-reading resources

Other resources

  • Teaching & Developing Sight-reading Skills – A collection of free articles by Read Ahead developers Travis Hardaway and Ken Johansen on the Online Academy
  • Preparing for an Exam (Sight Reading) – In these new videos from our collection of piano examination resources, Graham Fitch gives some tips and ideas for incorporating sight-reading into lessons and daily practising.
  • Online Workshops – Our online events programme has also featured several sight-reading workshops. Access to recordings, presentations and other resources from these events is available via the following links:

Practising the Piano Online Academy

The Practising the Piano Online Academy is the ultimate online resource for mastering the piano. It features a constantly growing library of over 300 articles, thousands of musical excerpts and hundreds of videos on topics including practising, piano technique and performing from leading experts. Please click here to find out more about the Online Academy or on one of the options below to subscribe:

  • Monthly subscription – Subscribe for £9.99 a month to get full, unlimited access to all Online Academy articles and updates (click here to sign-up for this option)
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