Beginning Sight Reading

Beginning Sight Reading

Susan J. Nichols
[email protected]
Amherst Middle School

Files for use with this Lesson Plan:

Right click on a file name to save to your hard drive:


TI:ME Technology Areas Addressed:



Middle School




Personal computer at home for practice or the ability to play an mp3 file in another way. Teacher needs computer with Finale or Finale Notepad if downloaded file is desired.


15 Minutes

Prior Knowledge and Skills:

A basic understanding of steps & skips; solfege syllable order; and “note-go-up/sound-go-up” understanding is helpful but not absolutely necessary.

MENC Standards Addressed:

MENC 1: Singing, alone and with others, a varied repertoire of music.
MENC 5: Reading and notating music.


-A pitched instrument to introduce notes that will be used and to check accuracy of intonation. -Finale Sight-Singing Sheet(s) Do-So (or similar)


At the conclusion of this lesson, beginning (early middle school) choral students (band, GM as well) will be able to: *sing simple written melodies that use Do, Re, Mi, Fa, So *in steps or skips *with simple rhythms *with no more than two errors per line.


Before class, teacher will copy Sight-Singing practice sheets for class members (or onto computers if a computer lab is available). At the top of the practice sheet are the notes Do, Re, Mi, Fa, So in the key of C Major. (A second sheet in the key of D major is attached.) Teacher will begin by reviewing (or introducing if necessary) Do through So including staff placement and sound. Students will repeat Do through So. Then, working systematically down the page, the exercises get more complicated rhythmically (but only down to quarter notes), melodically (include simple skips and work up to using Do through So. (First exercises use just Do Re and Mi.) Students will sing one exercise at a time with no more than two errors before moving on to the next exercise on the page. It is important that the foundation notes of Do, Re, Mi, (Fa, and So) be played and sung first before beginning, then ONLY the starting note is given. Piano, instrument or teacher-vocal led music will cause students to follow rather than sing independently and to not read as efficiently or effectively. With success, introduce second sheet of similar exercises in D major in order to understand that “Do” is not always the note “C” and to follow the same rules of up and down by step or skip.


Were the students able to sing the lines of music with few or no errors? Were the students independent singers? (not reliant upon teacher) Were the abilities gained in the early exercises evident in the later exercises? Were the students able to apply their knowledge and understanding to similar exercises in a different key?

Follow Up:

1. More complicated rhythms 2. Larger interval skips 3. Beginning on note other than “Do” 4. Find similar skills in choral piece (yet unlearned) and apply skills.

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