Imagine I was just handed a piece of sheet music, and I had however long I'd want to look over it before I actually started playing. What exactly would I look over so I'd sight read better?

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    Since we don't know what instrument you are playing, what level you have reached, and what the piece is, the question is unanswerable, because "we" are not "you". Do you really think the answer would be the same if you were asked to sight-read a lead sheet of "Happy birthday to you", or to play a keyboard version of a movie theme (for a movie that you have never seen) by reading the full orchestral score (not somebody else's keyboard arrangement of the music)? – user19146 Jul 4 '16 at 14:51
  • You can edit your question to include the needed information – anatolyg Jul 4 '16 at 15:24

There are two interesting levels:

  1. What is this sort of music? (Try to hear the melody, the rhythm, where are the notes one should emphasize, ...)
  2. Where are problematic notation parts? (Unexpected key changes, modulations, accidentals, clef changes, what are the notes with many ledger lines)

When looking at the sheet, try to imagine how to finger / pluck / whatever appropriate for your instrument. Anything you prepare now, will work faster later.

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