ABRSM grades for vocal require sight singing (grade 1). Do I need to take some special training to get this skill or is it expected to come with time?

I am currently taking both vocal and piano lessons for about one year. I mostly simply follow that the teacher suggests. However if I decide to try getting ABRSM grade 1 in vocal (no more ambitions), it says "sight singing" in the exam task list. I do not learn such things at the moment, I simply learn various songs and piano pieces to perform.

Do I need to try learning self dependently, ask teacher, or alternatively maybe this is expected to come with time with less training than it would be required now?

2 Answers 2


Sight Reading / Singing and Aural skills really are things your teacher should be doing with you. I know sometimes teachers don't have the time or the patience to these things themselves but I still think it is poor for a teacher not to be doing these things with you.

You don't consider your pupils like the mince going through a sausage stuffer. You need to give them the personal attention they need and deserve. Especially when you get to the point of doing exams.

It is tantamount to you going to a doctor's office and he referring you to another doctor to get your blood pressure checked. He should be doing these things himself.


AB has recently included sight singing in the piano grades too, so your teacher should be looking at that aspect to prepare for exams along with everything else. Often, as Neil suggests, the aural bit of exam stuff is left till the rest is good - it is a small percentage - but it still needs to be part of each lesson. My pupils can't escape it !

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