Improving Your Sight Reading

The first church orchestra I joined was quite small. Our string section consisted of 2 first violins, 1 second (me), and one violist. Because I was always good at memorizing music, or playing by ear, I had never developed the skill of sight reading music. One day, our string section was practicing some Christmas music and the section we were playing had the firsts play a line, and the seconds echoing it. The firsts played their line, and when it was my turn, there was dead silence. Our violist leaned over and whispered to me, “That’s why I play viola!” Since I wasn’t very good at sight reading, I panicked when it was my turn to play. Needless to say, I took the music home and practiced a lot the next week so I would be ready when that section came up at the next rehearsal. I learned the hard way that sight reading is essential if you want to play with a group. Continue reading

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