Trying A New Approach to Sight-Reading

At a local music teachers association meeting several months ago, one of the other teachers brought a book called, Joining the Dots: A Fresh Approach to Piano Sight-Reading by Alan Bullard. I was immediately intrigued and ended up ordering the whole 5 volume set so that I could begin experimenting with some of my students!

I’ve just started using the books, so I can’t say much yet about their effectiveness, but I really love the approach of focusing on one key at a time, building an understanding of patterns within that key, doing a little bit of ear-training and improvisation, and playing a few simple duets with the student. The layout is so attractive and organized to make it easy to establish specific habits as you work with the student to learn and implement effective sight-reading approaches.

Even though (or maybe because!) sight-reading has always come easily to me, it seems like many of my students are challenged in this area. (I always posit that God gave me a studio full of play-it-by-ear students that I can’t relate to at all!) I’ve tried a few other approaches over the years that haven’t been especially successful, so I’m hoping this relatively new series is the magic cure. Haha. Actually, I think consistency is probably the biggest factor in becoming a better sight-reader, so I’m hoping to stay focused on it with these books and a few students and then re-evaluate after several months to see how it’s going.

Has anyone else used these books? Or have you used another series that you think works really well? I’m definitely open to ideas!

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