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How to improve your ability to read piano music

It doesn’t matter what level you are at playing the piano - these steps will apply to everyone. Having the ability to quickly read a piano score that you have not seen before and transform this into music is a wonderful skill, and with practise can be improved upon. Firstly, if you are a beginner you need to learnt the musical alpha-bet and where all these notes are placed on the treble clef and bass clef. You should also learn different note values, rhythms and time signatures.

You should also memorise all the key signatures so as soon as you see them on a piano score, you will be able to instantly be able to identify them. Your fingers will automatically know what white notes and black notes to play in that particular key. Another good skill is to try and transcribe music that you hear aurally. This will massively improve your general musicianship. If you try and write down what you have heard, it will force your to obey the rules of music - then when it comes to reading music you will be much more proficient.

It is also important to check you posture at the piano - while this may not seem as if it would improve your sight reading in anyway, you’d be surprised with the results. If you sit correctly with a straight back, within strain or tension in your wrists or arms you will play better.

All in all, the more your practise playing pieces that you have never seen before, the more you will improve your sight reading ability. Those who have become good piano sight readers are those that have played and read lots of different styles of music. They then have the ability to second guess what the composer is going to say. They will also be familiar with the key and time signature so won’t have to “work it out as they go along”.

If you want to improve your piano playing skills, the best thing to do is have piano lessons - everyone who has gone far with the piano will say the same thing. With recent technological developments, lessons can now take place over FaceTime or zoom video calls from your house to your piano teachers. If you are looking for an experienced and friendly online piano teacher, you should consider Matthew Clayton from the UK. Matthew has been teaching the piano for over ten years and has had lots of students who have gone on to become accomplished pianists. Matthew also welcomes the learner who wants to learn for fun and play enjoyable piano pieces as a hobby. Whatever your learning goals are, it will be worth you having a conversation with Matthew.

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