Why I stress sight-reading to my students


I love to compose. I love to teach. I love to collaborate. “Composers,” by definition, usually are the music creators who create their music on paper or on the computer outside of real time, as opposed to performers, who usually realize their music in real time. Teaching, likewise, ideally is not improvised, but is pre-planned. Collaborative piano work is also ideally a process of multiple rehearsals prior to a performance; but that is not always the case. Sometimes I need to essentially learn a piece while I am in rehearsal; my students, followers, and fans may have to experience the same thing (if they have not already).

That is one of the reasons why I stress sight-reading for every musician: If you can read something in short order, you not only can get to the “musicalizing” sooner, but you can also get the gigs some people cannot. There are certainly trade-offs, to be sure, but in a world where literacy is quickly dying, sight-readers are coming more and more in demand. I encourage my students to sight-read; please encourage your musicians to do so, too!


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