Enhancing counting skills and mastering sight-reading are crucial for musicians of all levels. These skills not only facilitate quick learning and adaptation to various musical pieces but also promote versatility in performance and collaboration within ensembles. For beginners, the initial learning curve can be challenging and demoralising. Our contributors BP and HW have compiled beginner-friendly and useful resources to improve counting and sight-reading resources to boost confidence and make learning enjoyable for those starting their musical journey.
Hal Leonard Rhythm and Counting
Hal Leonard Rhythm and Counting serves as the indispensable practical handbook for mastering rhythm, catering to students and musicians across all instruments, including vocalists. This comprehensive guide offers a systematic approach to understanding rhythms, rhythmic devices, and effective counting techniques.
Packed with practical exercises, the book is an ideal resource for self-instruction or home practise, with each exercise accompanied by play-along online audio featuring metronome clicks for focused practise. Suitable for individual or group instruction, Hal Leonard Rhythm and Counting stands as the essential guide for music teachers and students alike, featuring UK-specific musical vocabulary. The covered concepts include fundamentals of rhythm, counting methods, note values and rests, beat subdivision, simple and compound time signatures, as well as ties and extended notes, and syncopation.
Piano Adventures Sightreading Method
Faber Piano Adventures has revolutionised piano education, and their sight-reading methods stand out as exceptional tools for developing this crucial skill. This dedicated series focusing on sight-reading provides a structured and engaging curriculum, progressively guiding learners towards mastering the art of sight-reading. Featuring a diverse range of musical genres and styles, the exercises are thoughtfully designed to enhance rhythmic understanding, note recognition, and overall fluency. The inclusion of creative and enjoyable exercises ensures that students not only become proficient sight-readers but also find joy in the learning process.
Faber’s sight-reading methods come with additional resources and support, including online tools and supplementary materials. These resources further enrich the learning experience, providing teachers and students with valuable tools to reinforce and expand upon the concepts introduced in the method books. Whether for beginners or advanced pianists, Faber Piano Adventures‘ sight-reading methods offer a dynamic and effective pathway to mastering the art of reading and interpreting music at the piano.
How to Blitz! Sight Reading Method
How to Blitz! Sight Reading Book 1, suitable for ABRSM and Trinity College London Piano Grades 1 & 2, presents five sight-reading concepts and a test in each of its 10 levels. Co-authored by leading piano educator Samantha Coates and Michelle Madder, the Director of Australian Music Schools, this engaging resource includes exam hints, key stickers, and self-rating systems. By Level 10, students not only make significant progress in mastering the sight-reading section of their piano exam but also find the learning process enjoyable. Coates and Madder’s Blitz! series, known for its effectiveness and engaging teaching approach, has become a bestseller in Australia since its debut in 2000, and it is now available for the main UK exam boards.
Sight Reading Success
Rhinegold Education’s Sight Reading Success series offers expert advice and practice tests to boost your confidence in tackling the sight-reading component of Piano exams. Available for Grades 1-5, this method offers a series of practice tests and expert advice to instill confidence to ace exams. Accompanied by audio featuring guidance and demonstrations, this method is uniquely immersive, providing both auditory and visual aids to enhance the learning experience.
The gradual progression through essential sight-reading concepts, such as rhythm, pitch, tempo, note types, and key signatures, ensures a comprehensive understanding. With practice scores for hands-on application and alignment with the style of revised ABRSM tests, Sight Reading Success becomes an invaluable tool for pianists seeking proficiency in this fundamental skill. Whether used independently or as a supplement to piano lessons, Sight Reading Success stands as a thorough and authoritative guide, equipping pianists with the skills needed to navigate and excel in piano exams and beyond.
The Starer Method
Robert Starer’s Basic Rhythmic Training and its companion volume, Rhythmic Training, stand as foundational resources for honing rhythmic skills. The exercises in these books cater to a variety of learning styles, providing a holistic approach to rhythm mastery. Overall, online users commended the dual focus on tapping/humming rhythms and tracking the pulse, breaking the habit of counting only a few beats at a time.
The convenience of practising without an instrument is highlighted as a significant advantage, seamlessly integrating rhythmic exercises into routines. The compact size of the book has been also praised for its practicality in various settings, with the paper quality encouraging easy writing and notation. Users also appreciated the clarity of conduction patterns in different time signatures. With exercises that gradually increase in difficulty, these books are deemed essential for anyone learning a musical instrument, aiding in the understanding of rhythmic patterns and music reading.