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"Good improvisation communicates harmonic progression melodically. Effective melodies manipulate harmonic content through the use of guide tones and preparatory gravity notes, masterfully woven in systematic tension, release, and transparent harmonic definition."

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November 13, 2014 | 5 Steps to Mastering Sight-Reading

If you're a simple folk musician, sight-reading is not a priority item in your took bag. You may function completely in an aural world, but if you've ever wanted to participate in an orchestra , or sit in with a reading band, you want good sight-reading chops.

A recent article in gives some critical tips in developing this important skill, five steps in making print music work positively for you. We think it's important to be able to learn music through both eye and ear, so take some time to dig deeper into what it takes.


Mental check-list every time you see a piece of music:

  • Get into the mindset of total concentration and tune out distractions

  • Before you begin, memorize the key signature and scan the page for trouble spots

  • Look at the music in larger chunks of time (see the page like it's in cut-time)

  • Recognize common rhythms and watch out for tricky rhythms

  • Visually identify scale fragments and arpeggios

  • Remember to keep counting through rests

  • Continually keep your eyes scanning ahead so you're always ready for the next measure

  • Don't be phased by your mistakes, keep the time going and get back on track

Read article: 5 Steps to Mastering Sight-Reading

Concentration (I'm going to get every note right)
Read bigger chunks of music (Multiple measures or phrases)
Recognize rhythms and patterns (Uncover scales, arpeggios, trick rhythms, unusual rests)
Looking ahead (read what's coming up in addition to now)
Continue through your mistakes (don't dwell, move on)

Posted by Ted at November 13, 2014 2:17 PM

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