Sight Reading – a few piano teachers love sight reading, others really dislike it. With my students it seems that some come with the talent of easily sight reading while others struggle with it for years.
This is an ongoing discussion for the three of us here at 4D Piano Teaching. It’s a topic that we have studied, discussed, brainstormed about, and taught in many different ways. Each of us has a little different approach to it within our personal studios yet we all agree on how important it is for students to develop this skill.
Today I wanted to show what I like to start my students with. Years ago in school, I read an article from the respected pedagogue Marvin Blickenstaff that discussed his idea that single note flashcards should never be used. Instead students should start with several notes even on a limited staff. This way the eye movement develops to see the shapes and visual flow needed to read music, not just single notes.
While I still use single note flashcards, I loved his idea of multi-note flashcards to start developing sight reading in even my youngest students. I’ve shared a picture of the treble clef and bass clef multi-note flashcards that I use with my students. Currently, one of the projects I’m working on is flashcards for beginners that will use just two notes – one landmark note and one a step/skip away. I hope to finish these soon so I can share the file with you to use in your own studio too!
So what do you use to begin sight reading with students? What are some of your favorite books or resources? Can’t wait to share some of my favorite books for different levels of students!
Whitney Hawker, NCTM, teaches group and private piano at Weber State University, Utah. She loves surprising students with the perfect piece or a new exciting game! After graduate school, she missed sharing ideas and resources daily with colleagues so she and her friend, Spring, began blogging together at 4DPianoTeaching.com