Sight-reading on the piano is something many people struggle with… But with powerful fluent skills in place, you can look at a score that you’ve never seen before and hear the music it depicts instantly in your imagination, without any thinking or working out.

The kind of sight-reading that most people do involves decoding the notes onto the piano keyboard and only then do they find out the sound of the music. Imagine having to type all the letters of a book into a machine one by one, before you get to hear the words. We wouldn’t even call that reading!

Being able to sight-read fluently opens up a whole world of music to a pianist or keyboard musician. And a fluent grasp of musical notation means that you can write down any music that you can hear in your mind. This makes sharing music that you create easy. 

Being able to sight-read fluently opens up a whole world of music

Musical notation is not nearly as difficult to sight-read as it seems. Once you know all the tonal blocks as sounds and places in the keyboard map as well as all the rhythm cells, learning to recognise them in a musical score is quite easy. The key to excellent sight-reading is to stop trying to read all the notes. You can learn to mentally join the dots so that they make complete shapes that you instantly recognise and hear. It is rather like looking at a graph.

And musical notation is actually a very clever shorthand. If you expect the score to tell you what keys to play and for how long, like a set of linear instructions, this mechanical, passive approach will make sight-reading feel complex and difficult and the notation system will also appear illogical. But when you rely on your strong practical grasp of the principles and elements of music so that you can make music using them spontaneously, you will also discover that sight-reading a musical score is a very intuitive and natural process.