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Master Your Sight-Reading Skills with These Proven Sheet Music Techniques

Are you intimidated by sight reading sheet music? Do you freeze up when the band director hands out a new chart that you have never laid eyes on? Sight reading is probably one of the most challenging things to do as a musician. However, to be a studio musician or play in a professional band, advanced musicians over come this intimidation by doing it over and over again.

If you play in a band of any type, you will sight read music - It could be that you are sitting in for another player, or there is a new chart that your band leader would like to try out. Whatever the case may be, as a musician you will be sight reading music off and on throughout your musical career.

Lets break down how to be an effective sight reader and how to get better at it. Once you are a confident saxophone player, the basic method to sight reading is to do a pre-playing routine where you ask your self a lot of questions in preparation of playing the chart. You can also pretend to play the notations in your mind or take it a step further and pretend to play the notes on the chart without blowing air through the horn, just use your fingers and get them used to playing the notes that you see.

There is a lot that goes in to understanding sight reading, and how to do it well. It can be difficult to embrace if you are not aware of what to look for before you play this never seen before piece of music. Understanding this, the Saxophone Workshop has developed a sight reading checklist for you to download. This checklist will give you a guide towards what you need to preview or be aware of as you read through the sheet music for the first time.

There are ways you can prepare for sight reading and make it easier for you to have never laid eyes on before. Preparing for sight reading can include doing things like identifying the key signature and reading the sheet music to see if there is a key change later in the song. Picking up on the speed of the song, is it a fast song or a slow song? These are a few questions you can ask and identify before you even start playing the chart. Download the Sight Reading Checklist below to get the complete guide to what questions you should ask before sight reading a song.

Of course, the best way to get better at sight reading is to practice. You can practice sight reading by simply picking up a piece of music that you have never played before, go through the checklist above then start playing the chart.

Do you like to sight read?

Leave your thoughts and tell us why in the comment section below.


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