Practicing Sight Reading (Jazz Organ Project 54/250)

The more you learn about music, the more you realize you don’t know. But after about 30 years of playing music, I was floored when I realized that I had been doing something wrong the entire time.

I had been practicing sight reading the wrong way.

Up until now, my idea of practicing sight reading on keyboard had been to slowly practice a song measure by measure. Then I would increase the speed until I could play the piece perfectly a tempo.

While that is a decent way to practice a piece of music, it turns out to be a lousy way to practice the skill of sight reading in general. After years of doing it, I found myself not getting any better at sight reading, i.e. looking at a new piece of music and playing it right away.

My friend Grant Osborne helped me realize that the best way to practice sight reading is to read through a new piece of music, probably with a metronome, and catch as many parts of it as you can. The important part is to keep going no matter what.

After three days of practicing this, I saw a big improvement. It felt great to improve after being in a rut for years. Thanks, Grant!

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