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I've been terrible at sight reading for a long time, however recently I've decided to grow my skill at it. I was wondering if my approach is correct for this instance of sight reading.

So I look at the starting position for both hands, in this instance the left hand starts on the first B below middle C, whereas the right hand starts on the first B above middle C.

Playing these first two bars are simple as the hands don't move and the intervals are simple. I find moving from the 1st and 2nd bar to the 3rd and 4th bar difficult.

When transitioning from the 2nd bar to the 3rd bar there's no indication of how much to move the left hand as I'm only playing the right. Similarly, when transitioning from the 3rd to the 4th bar there's no indication of how much to move the right hand as I'm only playing the left. I've found a way to solve this problem, however I'm not sure if this is correct.

As I finish playing the first bar, I scan to find the next left hand note and prepare the left hand to play it. In this instance the next left hand note after bar 1 is in bar 3. I then go back to bar 2 and play that. No preparation for bar 2 is needed as it was prepared before starting. As I finish playing the second bar, I scan to find the next right hand note and prepare the right hand to play it. I then go back to bar 3 and play that. I repeat this process until the end of the end of the piece.

This pattern of hands playing consecutively doesn't change throughout this piece.

Is the process of finding an indication of how much to move each hand by looking at future bars and moving back correct, or should I be finding the indication by looking at only the current bar and the next bar?

The picture below demonstrates where I am looking while performing.

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  • I applaud you using notation - can I pick you up on the terminology though - "sight reading" is what you do when you perform the music having just seen it for the very first time. Subsequently, you're not sight-reading the music, you're reading it. But as your reading skill improves so will your sight-reading! – Brian THOMAS Jun 27 '18 at 11:35
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That will work in this piece. In all sightreading, rather like reading a story out loud, it's essential to look ahead, a few words/dots at least. You have the right idea, in order to put each hand in its best position.

However, with this piece, it's clear that each hand is playing follow my leader, and the even bars are octave copies of the odd bars. So, a different tactic can be used: look what the l.h. has played, and copy it with the r.h. in the next bar.

This obviously won't work for a lot of pieces, but by lookin ahead, and trying to put each hand in a position where it covers as many keys as needed works well.

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