Evaluating new approaches to teaching of sight-reading skills to advanced pianists

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This paper evaluates three teaching approaches to improving sight-reading skills against a control in a large-scale study of advanced pianists. One hundred pianists in four equal groups participated in newly developed training programmes (accompanying, rhythm, musical style and control), with pre-and post-sight-reading tests analysed using custom-made software that provided four scores on accuracy: two on pitch and two on rhythm. Mixed-design ANCOVAs were used to analyse the performance data, showing improvement in one rhythm and one pitch variable for each of the training groups and progress in pitch for the control group. The results suggest that training does develop various aspects of sight-reading and that additional sight-reading activities enhance post-test performance. The curriculum combining all three teaching strategies is being currently trialled. Future research needs to focus on instruments other than piano to formulate generic approaches to teaching of sight-reading skills.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)70-87
Number of pages18
JournalMusic Education Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • advanced pianists
  • experimental design
  • sight-reading
  • software for analysis of performance

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