Whether you're learning or teaching this integral skill, you should definitely check out Building Blocks to Effective Sight Reading by Barbara Fast in the July 2008 Piano Pedagogy Forum. She talks about research into several facets of this skill, including some interesting eye movement facts:
It is helpful to understand how the eye functions when working to improve sight reading. There are several surprising facts to note. While musicians often feel as if they are staring in a fixed manner at a piece of music, in reality the eye is constantly moving very rapidly, performing large and small movements, about 4-6 per second. The eye takes snapshots, similar to a camera, and the brain hooks these snapshots together, so that it seems that our eyes function like a movie. (Lehmann, Andreas, McArthur 2002).She also looks at the influence of rhythmic fluency, harmonic understanding, ear training, solid technique, scanning music beforehand, and the importance of ensemble playing in a successful curriculum. Pianists here can take a cue from wind and string players, whose participation in ensembles from an early age probably results in a higher level of sight reading proficiency than their pianistic counterparts.
Secondly, with these frequent small and large movements, the eye moves ahead in a score, but also returns to current or even previous material. This fact runs counter to the practice of improving sight reading by covering current notes students are playing in order to force the eye to read ahead. This can be helpful in some circumstances, but should not always be utilized. The eye movements of better sight readers not only travel further ahead in the score, the eye constantly moves around, including returning to the current point of performance (Young, 1971).
10 ways of Improving Your Sight Reading Skills
Build Sight Reading Into Your Practice Session
The Extreme Piano Guide, or 30+1 Ideas to Improve Your Practice Time
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