Many find sight reading intimidating as it involves playing a short piece of music that the candidate has not seen before after up to 30 seconds of preparation time in graded exams.
As a piano teacher, I love teaching sight reading. With a bit of determination, practice and good instruction during piano lessons, everyone can be competent sight readers!
Sight reading is a multi-tasking activity - learning to do each activity well and concurrently determines the success. Start slowly but accurately and increase the tempo only when confident.
One book that I recommend is Improve Your Sight Reading by Paul Harris. Used correctly and regularly, I've seen many students improve leaps and bounds in sight reading.
Those who practice sight reading well do a lot better in exams! They also learn new pieces quickly.
In higher grades, sight reading pieces come with a descriptive title. To get that extra edge, play the music in a way that suits the title. For example, a piece entitled "The Stream" may be played in a smooth and flowing manner.
Sight reading carries a weightage of 21 out of 150 marks.
Minimum to pass (14-16):
Outline in place
Awareness of key and time
To get a good mark (17-18):
To get a very good mark (19-21):
Attention to detail
Information on Graded ABRSM music exams marking:
Teaching piano for many years now, I see great value in helping students become proficient and confident in sight reading and quick study. It is such a great advantage when students are able to learn pieces on their own and progress at a faster
While sight reading is a small component in graded exams,
it is a crucial part of ABRSM piano diploma exams.
If you are interested in sight reading or quick study lessons, just send me an email below.