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  • Writer's pictureThe PTC UK

Sight-Reading for Piano Teachers: 4. Think as an accompanist

We can learn from accompanists some of the most useful tips on sight-reading. They have to master this skill to perfection, so how do they achieve that? Here are my top three points:

First, it is important to sight-read daily. I mean it - daily. We can discuss different

sight-reading strategies a lot and try them out, but unless the actual playing will not be regular daily practise, nothing will work.

Second, when you are practising sight-reading, do this with a metronome (or a duet partner, or other instrument player, or a singer). Only when we have pressure of steady beat (which we always have when we play with others), we realise how many hesitations/stops/etc there are in our playing.

This also helps with the third point, which is - developing the ability to look ahead. When we start doing sight-reading, we have a tendency to keep looking at the actual notes we play for far too long and with a lot of eye strain. Relaxing your tension of “looking too hard” and trying to see at least a half of the next bar (to start with) will make you feel more in control. The further you can look ahead, in time, the easier you will find it.

Ilga Pitkevica, Principal Tutor of The Piano Teachers' Course UK

Ilga lectures extensively around the UK and Latvia on piano teaching, and on the history and teaching methods of the Russian Piano School, on which her own rigourous training was based. She also often organises masterclasses and concerts in Cambridge. These have included the annual Cambridge Piano Weekends, organised jointly with Gonville and Caius College for several years.

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