Reading Piano Music Effectively

05/15/2014 2:55 pm

reading piano music

Playing the Piano Fluently

When it comes down to it, we all desire the same thing. We want to sit down at the piano, open a piece of music and be able to read it as easily as if we were reading a book. The good news is that you can reach that level of reading piano music, also known as sight reading. The bad news is that like any other skill, you are going to have to practice it….a lot.

I am not telling you to discourage you. Quite the contrary. When I found out that all it took for me to become better at sight reading was to do more of it, I was ecstatic! I thought it was some gift that people were born with it. The fact that all I had to do was practice it made me very happy. So how much reading at the piano is it going to take to become fluent? There is not perfect answer to this question but I recommend, at the very minimum, to choose a piece of music that you’ve never played before at the beginning of each practice session and try reading it. Maybe 5, maybe 10 minutes, but do it EVERY practice session at the piano.

Once you’ve read a piece even once, it’s not really sight reading. The goal is to be able to read pieces you’ve never seen before so make sure to choose new music each time. When reading piano music, it may seem at first that the thought of reading both hands at the same time is impossible, but I promise you that it will get easier. Here are my tips to see great sight reading progress.

  • Choose a new piece of music at the beginning of each piano practice.
  • Go through as much of the piece as possible in a specific time (e.g. 5 or 10 minutes).
  • Raise the level of difficulty of pieces over time, you will be surprised at how good you’ll get.
  • Stick with it, even if you don’t think you’re getting better. You are..trust me.

Reading piano music is an aspect of playing the piano that is tremendously understated yet will bring you a real sense of joy at the piano. Give it the time it deserves. In the same way you are grateful for being able to read these words, you will also be grateful for being able to read piano music fluently.

Happy Playing!
~Adrian Edward