PracticePrompt Blog

Sight-Reading Test (2) 20100925

Posted in Sight-Reading by elwynrees on September 25, 2010

        Today I took my second sight reading  test. 

So have I stood still or has there been some progress?


Work on sight reading to date:  I started on June 6th playing “Beginner” pieces from Pianist Magazine.  I stopped this on August 8th (since I felt I was struggling/stumbling through most of these pieces at ‘prima vista’).  On August 7th I commenced working through three sight-reading method books from the library.  I’ve completed the Grade2 books in all three series and I am half-way throught the Grade3 books (either volume 3 or 4 depending on the specific books). In addition, I also completed Book1 of Bartok’s Mikrokosmos.  

The “statistics” from my PracticePrompt application for “sight reading” are as follows:


First date:       12/06/2010
Last date:         25/09/2010
Time(mins):             1597
Time(hrs):                27
Days in period:          106
Days of Practice:         81
Avg pract time:           20
Avg daily time:           15

For the previous test:

First date:       12/06/2010
Last date:         30/08/2010
Time(mins):             1089
Time(hrs):                18
Days in period:           80
Days of Practice:         61
Avg pract time:           18
Avg daily time:           14

Since the last test there’s been almost a 50% increase in time (9 hours).

The Test:

As in the previous test I used a collection of Associated Board of the Royal School of Music (ABRSM) sight-reading tests (1960) obtained from the public library.   I played through the next  two “pieces” (Nos 3 & 4) from each of grades 1 to 3 (six “pieces”). 


The Grade 1 tests were easiest, there were now no surprises at this level, but there was a minor mistake (note length value).  Grade 2 felt harder but “OK”, again with minor mistakes, but I managed to keep the rhythm going.  Grade 3 was the worst and in the first of the two pieces I found myself stopping,  and restarting several phrases, so that’s a definite fail!  

Compared to the first test about a  month a go, this subjectively felt much more black and white, with the three grades feeling Easy, OK and Hard.   The main improvement seems to be a reduction in errors in grades 1 & 2.   This seems to indicate a lot of progress.  Last time the surprises occurred in Grade1, this time, it was the Grade3.   Even so, I felt that the Grade3 tests were better than last time, but still “good fails”.

Whilst I would like to include sight-reading grade 1 pieces in my daily routine the results for the Grade3 test  indicate that I am not yet ready (the grade 3 sight-reading tests are similar to grade1 pieces). 

It’s intersting to compare the results with the progress through the sight-reading method books (I’m using three).  I’ve completed grade 2 in each and could do grades1 and 2 today.  But I’m only half way through grade 3 and stumbled badly in 1 of the grade 3 pieces.   This seems to indicate that you need to have completed several books at a level and got them under your belt, so as  to be “OK” at that level.  I suppose it comes as no surprise that I stumbled, faltered and fell when tested at the current level of study.

My primary goal is to sight-read pieces, initially ABRSM grade 1 pieces (and concurrently study grades 2 & 3 for 1 & 2-weeks respectively).  It seems that to do that I will need to complete the Grade 3 series and be studying the grade 4 methods before this will be possible.

Finally, from today’s results, I think the next test in the series will be when I have completed the level 3 sight-reading method books and have completed half of level 4. This may be a month or so away.


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