My Top 3 Tips For Improving Your Piano Sight Reading Skills fast

by Jazer Lee

There is a rush of excitement when you are about to learn a new piece. But I bet your excitement starts to diminish when you realise the process of learning the new piece feels very slow. By the time you are almost finished learning the notes of the piece, you are sick of practicing the piece. You wish you could learn pieces faster so you have a more positive experience around each new piece.

There are many lessons and books to help you with this, but I have found three things that have really helped me improve my skills quickly. So what are these 3 best tips? Read on!

1. Stop looking at your hands.

If you are constantly looking up and down to read from the page and looking at your hands while playing, it will overwhelm your mind. If you let your eyes wander while playing the piano, you are more likely to miss notes or, worse, make it hard for me to keep playing.

I recommend looking directly at the sheet music and not looking at your hands when sight-reading to develop a good spatial feel for the keyboard. Instead of looking at where each next note is, try to ‘’feel’’ your way there instead.

Let me show you what I mean.

2. Learn the chord patterns.

Music is made up of many chords. Over time, you should try to analyse and understand chords so that you can play them easily when you sight read them. For example, in a C major chord, there are the notes C, E, and G. Memorise that a C major chord contains these 3 notes.

That way, every time you see a variation of a C major chord on the sheet music, you can easily play a C major chord without having to think of the 3 individual notes.

3. Play each chord extremely slowly.

When you see a complicated piano chord, take your time to figure out what notes are being played and how they are connected. Try to play EVERYTHING correctly so that you learn the correct chords and positions to then sight read better next time.

Learning to read music is a long process, but it pays off in the end. Follow these three tips to improve your note reading skills so you can play your favorite songs faster!

If you have any questions about how to improve your note reading, contact me and I’ll be happy to help! You can also find more piano-related content on my blog or watch some of my videos on YouTube.

If you know of other ways to practice sight reading, let me know in the comments!

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Ron Miller April 27, 2022 - 1:21 am

Let me say that, as someone who has always been just a musical hacker on keyboard (with my beginnings on the organ playing by ear), I have always appreciated the power of chords. Now that I am putting in the time to really learn piano (as a senior citizen), the ability to use chords as individual notes and in various patterns helps me sound a little like a piano player. But truly, I stumbled across your YouTube videos and was immediately drawn in by your honesty, proficiency, and quality content. Thank you for giving hope to struggling piano players like myself with your solid foundation on which to build. And I promise to practice each day as I begin to learn some of your suggested classical pieces.

Jazer web April 27, 2022 - 9:44 am

Glad to have you on board and I am honoured to be part of your musical journey. – J

Dorothy E. Smitko March 15, 2023 - 10:22 pm

I am an 81 year old won an recovering from a stroke which left my left hand weak. After discovering your You Tube videos, I have new motivation to improve my piano playing. I love your suggestions ,such a chinking and playing slow, etc. Thank you, thank you, thank you! Im retraining my brain!


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