How to Improve Your Sight Reading in Less Than 5 Minutes a Day

The secret to developing sight reading skills is to consistently work at it every day. Use the practice steps below to quickly see a drastic improvement. 

Find a method book. There are a lot of sight reading method books that are full of great exercises, here are a few of PianoCub’s recommendations:

•    Royal Conservatory Four Star Sight Reading and Ear Tests by Boris Berlin and Andrew Markow

•    Piano Adventures: Sightreading by Nancy and Randall Faber

•    Improve Your Sight-Reading! by Paul Harris

Examine the exercise. Take 30 seconds to notice all of the musical details of the exercise. Here is a checklist of questions to ask:

•    What is the key signature?

•    Are there any accidentals?

•    Are there any clef changes?

•    What are the dynamics?

•    Are there any musical patterns (imitation or sequence)?

•    Can you identify any chords or harmonic patterns?

Clap and count the exercise. Take 30 seconds to clap and count through each hand’s part. This will help you internalize the exercise’s rhythms.

“Ghost” through the exercise. Take 45 seconds to very slowly “ghost” through the exercise by playing it silently on top of the keys. Your fingers should only lift a centimeter or so above the keyboard as if you’re playing invisible keys that are above the real ones.

Play the piece. Choose a tempo that you can maintain for the entire exercise without stopping. If you happen to miss a couple of notes, keep going!

Keep practicing. Do one exercise a day and do each exercise twice before moving on. Once you have worked through your sight reading book, start back at page 1 and do it again. The more you practice, the better you will get!

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