A strategy for learning to sight read


Written music is a fairly complex code, which requires the eye to scan both up and down as well as across the page.


There are many things to deal with but the hardest is often the pitching intervals. 

Picture of a couple of musical notes

This is a multi-sensory way of learning that we know works for some dyslexic people.

      Make a very large music manuscript (stave). You'll need a large sheet of paper and a thick black marker for this.

      Write pairs of notes to represent common intervals.

      Choose well-known songs that include those intervals. For example, 'Baa baa black sheep' begins with a 5th (from baa to black).

      Practise singing 'baa black' while looking at the printed interval.

      Trace with your finger as you sing.

      Now find an actual song score and blow it up very large using a photocopier.

      Highlight some 5ths in it. Choose a colour to represent the 5th.

      Sing the song to 'ah', substituting 'baa black' for the real words at those points.

      You can see how this can be adapted for any interval you need to work on. Choose a different colour for each interval.

      You can use 'Half-a-pound of tuppenny rice' for hearing a 3rd, and 'Here comes the bride' for a 4th.   

Book Information / Buy the book