Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Sight-reading and Memorization Skills of the Professional Pianist: A Survey

Are professional pianists who have uncanny sight-reading or memorization skills gifted individuals, or did they get that way from years of diligent practice?

Jaime Castellanos, a graduate student in Piano Pedagogy and Performance at the Unviersity of Nebraska - Lincoln is conducting a survey about the sight reading and memorization skills of professional and pre-professional pianists. If you feel strongly about your development of these skills in your own training, are 19 or older, and are currently working either in the musical profession or are in a music program, go to the link below and spend around 10 minutes or so filling out Jaime's survey:

Sight-Reading and Memorization Skills of the Professional Pianist


  1. Just completed the survey, thanks for the link. I've always believed that while sight reading can certainly be developed, some people have a MUCH larger capacity for it before they reach a plateau. Others have a very small capacity for it.

    Scriabin said that he couldn't sightread a Kuhlau sonatina. As a professional composer and pianist I can relate to this as I've always struggled with sight reading despite huge amounts of work. Memorization, performance and improvisation are completely different animals from sight reading.

  2. I agree. They are very different animals. Having spent years basically sight-reading for a living, I neglected improvement on my ability to memorize. That, combined with age, has made it more difficult now than it ever was. Without the immediate need to memorize, I just don't.