Sight reading. You either love it or you hate it. Most classically trained musicians have had to sight read at some point. Sight reading practice can seem annoying, but it will help you advance in other areas of music.
There are many instances where your sight reading skills will come into play. Some music groups do not hand out music before rehearsal, so you will need to sight read. Many college and professional auditions will ask you to read something you’ve never seen.
Over my years as a musician, I have found different ways and resources to practice sight reading.
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Sight Read Often
Any time you get a new piece of music, sight read it. Avoid listening to a recording if you can. This is a great way to practice sight reading, and you can also create your own interpretation of the music.
You can even include sight reading in your daily or weekly practice routine. There are tons of websites where you can find free sheet music that is perfect for sight reading.
Etude of the Week
If you want to practice sight reading on a weekly basis, consider joining the Facebook group Etude of the Week. Each week, the group moves to a new etude (or two).
People post recordings in the group, but I like to use the etudes as a sight reading exercise. When it’s time to start a new etude, I will read it down without stopping. Then I can go back and make critiques.
There are tons of sheet music websites, but are they all any good? Some of them have more music than others. There are a few websites that I would recommend to specifically to flutists.
The International Music Score Library Project (IMSLP) is the largest online sheet music website. You can find music for almost any instrument. I would not recommend this website to beginners, because a lot of the music is more advanced.
However, if you have played flute for awhile, you can find something to suit your needs.
Flute Tunes is perfect for flutists of all levels. They have a Tune of the Day on their homepage where they post a new piece every day. You can also search for a specific piece of music or search by composer, instrumentation, key signature, and difficulty.
The website also has tons of resources for flutists such as fingering charts, a metronome, and a tuner.
8Notes will always have a special place in my heart, because it was the first sheet music website I used. They combine the best resources of both IMSLP and Flute Tunes.
Like IMSLP, they have more than just sheet music. And like Flute Tunes, you can search by key signature, difficulty, and more.
No one likes paying for stuff, right? Well, if you have exhausted all of the free resources, it is worth it to start paying for some stuff.
Moyse 24 Little Melodic Studies
If you are looking for some short exercises, this book is for you. Moyse has etudes in all 24 keys, and none are longer than one page. You can read a new one each day, or you can participate in Etude of the Week. This is one of the current etude books.
Moyse Tone Development Through Interpretation
I learned about this book awhile ago, but I didn’t purchase it until NFA this year. It is an amazing book, and it is perfect for sight reading practice. There are tons of exercises, and some of the exercises encourage you to transpose them.
Kill two birds with one stone: practice sight reading and transposing.
Baxtresser Orchestral Excerpts
If you do not have this book, you need it. Orchestral excerpts are short excerpts from famous orchestral works. The flute has many solos, and an orchestral excerpt book contains many of those solos.
Not only is it a good resource for orchestral auditions, but it is also helpful for sight reading practice.
Filas Top Register Studies
The high register can be hard to sight read. You have tons of ledger lines, and they all blur together. But sight reading in the high register doesn’t have to be any different than in the staff.
Filas’s Top Register Studies for Flute has 90 short studies for sight reading in the high register.
Do you practice sight reading? What are your go to resources? Let me know down in the comments!