IDEAS FOR SIGHT READING PRACTICE
Your goal is to have the most challenging Sight-Reading excerpt you ever see to be in the comfort of your own home, in your own practice session.
SO, CHALLENGE YOURSELF
After you have worked your way through the All State Sight Reading Book, try some of the following to increase your skills:
These go from easy to difficult to insane. You won’t need to do them all, but I promise you, the further down this list you work, the more amazing your Sight Reading will be!
Ask your orchestra director for some random sheet music to play. The harder the better!
2. Ask your private teacher to loan you an etude book that is noticeably above your level.
Try to avoid etudes that are repetitive. Good Sight Reading excerpts are all about surprising the player so music that is predictable is less helpful than something that changes up every line!
3. If you play in treble or bass clef, see if you can borrow a hymnal from your teacher. There are several lines to choose from and reading off a stave can be good practice.
4. Borrow the music of another instrument that plays in your same clef-
This is where it gets interesting!! A cellist or bassist can borrow a trombone part and it will look and feel very different than what you normally see. This is GREAT practice!
5. If your instrument plays in more than one clef, Sight Read music that
is in your secondary clef. For instance, if you are a violist, borrow music in treble clef. If you are a cellist, work hard to find music in tenor or treble clef.
6. Try to find music that is ‘impossible’ on your instrument. For instance, find music that is written below or above your range. This adds the extra challenge of having to transpose up and down octaves WHILE you are Sight reading the music.
7. Our personal favorite…… see if you can get your hands on some 20th Century compositions. Music that has non-traditional nomenclature, strange markings, or unusual voicing. Can you see where music like this would constantly surprise your brain, and keep you on your toes? Can you see that if you are used to practicing music like this, nothing you see in a regular audition will even phase you??
Pro Tip- Want to really challenge yourself? Add manuscript to your practice list. Especially musicals....they are wonderful because they are hard to read, and have all kinds of weird markings you normally wouldn't see in regular orchestral music.