Solving Sightreading Problems

Kevin O’Connell
Saucon Valley High School, Hellertown, PA

TI:ME Technology Areas Addressed:



High School




Computer with Printer, Finale Notation Program, Keyboard (optional), Sightreading Manual or Method Book ( Intermediate to Advanced), Student Instrument.


30 Minutes

Prior Knowledge and Skills:

Students should be able to perform instrument up to music of a Grade 3 level. It would be helpful if the student could know how to use Finale Simple Note Entry in advance.

NAfME Standards of 1994 Addressed:

NAfME Standards of 1994: Singing, alone and with others, a varied repertoire of music.
NAfME Standards of 1994: Performing on instruments, alone and with others, a varied repertoire of music.

NAfME 2014: Performing 

NAfME Standards of 1994: Improvising melodies, harmonies, and accompaniments.
NAfME Standards of 1994: Composing and Arranging Music within specified guidelines.
NAfME Standards of 1994: Reading and notating music.

NAfME 2014: Creating 


Sightreading Manual available for State Contests or a standard method book such as Voxman Duets or Rubank.


At the conclusion of this lesson, students will be able to understand and execute the rhythms associated with several examples of concert sightreading more proficiently. It is the experience of this instructor that many students have done poorly in sightreading because of a poor knowledge of the counting and performance of the rhythms written in a piece of music. By taking out the pitches and isolating the rhythm, writing in the counting, and executing the piece on one note, the students will grasp the basic and most important part of the music i.e. the rhythm. It is the opinion of this instructor that it is more important to execute the proper rhythm in a piece of sightreading, rather than worry about missing one flat or one sharp.


Students will receive a sight reading manual or music method book that they have not seen before. Using a computer with optional keyboard, students should input the rhythms associated with the chosen sightreading piece ( including mulltple time signature changes). (The instructor needs to assist the student in learning Finale Simple note entry). The student should input the piece on one note which would be easily performed by his or her instrument. The student should print this piece, write in the counting where neccesary, and perform it for the instructor. The student should sing the piece on the syllable dah or tah, then perform the original sightreading on an instrument. The student is encouraged to invent and write their own rhythms.


The written counting and the performing of the rhythms of the music will be evaluated by the instructor.

Follow Up:

Continue to purchase new sightreading manuals and/or merthod books and do more examples.

Items to Purchase:

Sightreading Manuals and/or music method books

When budget should be submitted:

Whenever the schoool district requires it.


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