I'd like to learn how to sight read and I don't know where and how to start... Any tips, suggestions, book, DVDs...?
You're going to need a lot of patience I do sight reading everyday and it pisses me off literally everytime more or less.
Last edited by Elintasokas at Apr 8, 2015,
I can't do it myself. I haven't had any motivation strong enough to make me do it, even though I'd like to . If I was to do it I'd probably just sit there and work my way through tons of songs until I started getting good enough at it that I could play an average difficulty song I'd never seen before up to speed. It would have to constantly be new songs too, or I'd run the risk of just memorizing the song and stop needing to look at the sheet music. I don't know if there's a better way, but I kinda doubt it.

If you don't know how to read notation at all: http://www.musictheory.net/lessons/10
Well just start doing it. Find some really, REALLY easy tunes to sight read. And I mean really damn easy. And start at really slow tempos; I'm talking like 60bpm or less here.

You want to memorize all the notes on the staff perfectly, but you also want to learn to read intervals. Sight reading is not done by just looking at the notes like "okay... that's an E, now that's an F"

It's more like "that line's going down, that's going up... So the melody goes up a third and then three steps up the scale........ Now that next part is clearly an outlined E major chord"

Thus, learning your scales is really important. Thinking about each individual note while sight reading is too slow(of course occasionally you think about the note names, especially if there's a big leap). You want to think of the scale steps and the intervals.

Maybe buy some "sight reading tunes for total n00bs who just started 5 minutes ago" books.

I'm assuming you're talking about guitar here, though. I'm a pianist, so I don't know if it's different for guitar. It probably isn't.

If you get frustrated (you will) just keep going anyway. It will get easier and it's definitely worth it, because your repertoire will grow super fast compared to not being able to read.
Last edited by Elintasokas at Apr 8, 2015,
I would start by taking The4thHorsemen's advice and check out MusicTheory.net if you are new to reading notation in general. Other than that, i can only recommend the stuff i do to keep my sight reading up to par. Note, i am not the greatest sight reader, but i can read my way through most things up to the point of sixteenth notes with tricky rests/ties/syncopation. When you start messing with sixteenth notes i tend to lose the groove. (Constant sixteenth note lines works though)

I use three apps on a daily basis to keep my reading skills up. One is called Tenuto, which is MusicTheory.nets app for practicing different things, among those are pitch recognition with different staffs and ranges, and key signature recognition. Being able to see key signature switches easily and reading pitch easily is very important, so if you do a few of those exercises everyday and go at it slow (making sure you get it down perfectly), you will eventually be able to read it like a book. Seeing a note on a line and saying "that's and E in this octave" etc.

Another app i use is called ReadRhythm. Which is basically just rhythm reading skills, helps me develop reading trickier rhythms and maintaining that ability. As with the tenuto app, start slow and make sure you can read it at a very slow tempo first, allowing your brain to get the right information in. Also, you want to be able to learn what different "cells" of rhythm sound like. (for example what a beat of eight note triplets sound like, or what eight notes sound like, or what sixteenth notes sound like.) So you can read them as small blocks rather than reading every note value.

Last app i use is called SightReadingMachine. And this one combines tenuto and readrhythm, it randomly generates sheet music for you to sight read. Allowing you to actually practice sight reading stuff you haven't read before on a daily basis. This app is my bread and butter of sight reading practice, because it actually allows me to test how good my reading skills are in action.

Other than that, i use random books i have lying around at home. Real Books, Classical Books, Pop/Rock books etc. Anything with sheet music in it basically.

Other tips you might want to think about:
1. Take it slow to begin with, it is better to start reading perfectly and then speeding up later.
2. Learn to don't stop playing if you make a mistake. As mentioned in #1, you should be practicing at a slow tempo so you don't make mistakes, but you need to get into the habit of just continuing to read. I sight read at many gigs and if i miss a note i can't go "Sorry, take that part again", it is done, continue reading.
3. Learn to read ahead. This is not something you will do instantly, but after reading for a while you want to be able to see what is coming before you play it, allowing you to switch positions and come up with the best way to execute a line.
4. Know your scales & arpeggios. When sight reading you won't have the time to figure out how to play something, so you will have to have your scales down. Regardless if you use 7 positions, three note per string, CAGED etc. Just get them down in your own way, because you will need them to sight read.
5. Do it regularly. Sight reading is something you need to keep fresh, so i would recommend doing it daily. That is why i like these apps, i always have them with me. You don't need more than 10-20 minutes a day, but make sure you get some of it in everyday.
6. Have patience. You didn't learn to read english right away, so don't expect to be able to read this right away either. Have patience, go slow and try to get it right instead.

Other than that, you might want to check out the Takadimi method for reading rhythm. It is the method i used (and still use) to remember/read rhythms.
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Last edited by Sickz at Apr 8, 2015,
tabs - easy
sheet music for piano - hard
sheet music for gutiar - insane because of positioning.
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^ I would say sight reading tabs is pretty hard because you need to look at two different lines (fingerings and rhythms) at the same time. At least for me it would be a lot easier to just sight read standard notation. Standard notation also tells more about the music than tabs. So on the long run I would say learning to sight read notation is more useful than learning to sight read tabs.
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Most really fluent sight readers... The folks who can sit down at a piano with a piece of sheet music they've never seen before and play it... Started as children. It's much the same process as learning to read. Gradually learning more and more "words" and "punctuation" and expressions and so forth.
we don't have to puzzle over reading the printed word.... It has (for most of us) become automatic.... We read rapidly and fluently unless we're presented with something really odd like a bunch or foreign words or scientific jargon.

So, think back to your childhood experiences learning to read. How long did it take? How much effort did you have to put in?
It'll be equivalent.