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#1909912 - 06/07/12 09:58 AM Let's sight read - material and tips  
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Veelo Online content
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Here's a compilation of free music sheet that I have found useful for practicing sight reading.

http://makingmusicfun.net/htm/printit_piano_sheet_music_index.htm
http://www.freesheetpianomusic.com/
http://www.gmajormusictheory.org/Freebies/freebies.html
http://www.capotastomusic.com/piano-sheet-music.htm
http://www.8notes.com/piano_sheet_music.asp
http://www.music-for-music-teachers.com/beginner-piano-music.html

And here is a real gem (Download the pdf "Hymns made easy"):
http://www.lds.org/cm/display/0,17631,8763-1,00.html
It's 80 pages of hymns written in an easy arrangement.

Also I'd also like to share what has worked for me. I've been practicing sight reading now for about 2 years, that's also when I began teaching myself to play the piano. My role model is Tom Brier who is truly an inspiration:



Currently, I'm using the "Hymns made easy" book. I play a piece only once or twice such that no memorization takes place. After I've played the 80 pages I start again from page 1.

Last edited by Veelo; 06/07/12 10:05 AM.
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#1909945 - 06/07/12 11:22 AM Re: Let's sight read - material and tips [Re: Veelo]  
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Indeed, I recently printed scores of MakingMusicFun and "Hymns made ​​easy" to practice sight-reading.

- Here is another collection of hymns (325 pages)
- 140 pages of hymns


Started learning piano: 01 March 2010
- Ex: Yamaha P-85, Kawai ES-4
- Current: Kawai CA-63
- Videos
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#1910116 - 06/07/12 05:02 PM Re: Let's sight read - material and tips [Re: Veelo]  
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I would also check out the LDS Children's Songbook, even if you aren't LDS. Most of the songs are in the easy to intermediate level and they are great for sight reading. Here is the link:

http://www.lds.org/cm/display/0,17631,4766-1,00.html

I'm not sure how to just print the whole songbook, but maybe someone can figure it out. You can also buy a book copy. It's $20. (or, if you have an LDS friend, just ask them to give you a copy and they'll probably do it).

Last edited by Cookie74; 06/07/12 05:43 PM.

" I wish you music to help with the burdens of life, and to help you release your happiness to others."

--Ludwig van Beethoven
#1910405 - 06/08/12 09:34 AM Re: Let's sight read - material and tips [Re: Cookie74]  
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Originally Posted by Cookie74
I would also check out the LDS Children's Songbook, even if you aren't LDS. Most of the songs are in the easy to intermediate level and they are great for sight reading. Here is the link:

http://www.lds.org/cm/display/0,17631,4766-1,00.html

I'm not sure how to just print the whole songbook, but maybe someone can figure it out. You can also buy a book copy. It's $20. (
or, if you have an LDS friend, just ask them to give you a copy and they'll probably do it).


I'm using that! Its pretty good and gets me a load of kudos with the in laws at the same time (they are LDS - i'm not)


Restarted piano in September 2010 after previous misguided attempts to learn without a teacher.
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#1910439 - 06/08/12 10:22 AM Re: Let's sight read - material and tips [Re: Veelo]  
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While it's not my priority, I'm working on sight reading. I've been using Mikrokosmos recently, the Keith Snell repertoire books and a Methodist Hymnal.

The hymnal is very good. The routine is to analyze the harmonic structure, play the soprano, then the bass part separately, then fill in the chords. The goal is to get the chords and hand shapes coordinated.

Slowly but surely it is working.


Gary
Essex EUP-111 at the mountains
W. Hoffmann T-122 at the beach
#1910607 - 06/08/12 03:48 PM Re: Let's sight read - material and tips [Re: Plowboy]  
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Thanks for the links! If you know more material please post them.
Meanwhile, here are some things that helped me:

Tip #1: Use a metronome
It is often said that we must not stop when sight reading even if we make mistakes. If we stop then we will get into trouble when playing in a band or in a duet. Now, the steady beat of the metronome emulates the band. Try it out, it will be easier to keep going if you listen to the beat.
The funny thing is when I first started with the metronome I could not hear the beats. I would get off beat pretty quickly. I was even convinced that the metronome was wrong! Thus, I learned to actually listen to what I'm playing.
If I don't use the metronome (sometimes I do this in order not to get too dependent) I will tap my foot.

Tip #2: Look ahead by playing slowly
Looking ahead sounds impossible for beginners. How can we look ahead 1 or even 2 bars if we cannot decipher the notes in lightning speed and translate them into finger movements. The answer is: Play slowly. I set the metronome to 40 bpm where one beat is a quarter note. It's slow? Yes, but we've got to start somewhere.
Only then I was able to play the notes and look somewhere else. For example, when you play half notes you have plenty of time to look somewhere else. You don't have to fix your eyes on these long notes. That way you can look ahead. (Most of the time I can only look half a bar ahead. I guess the 1 to 2 bar region comes with experience).
Now, you will probably laugh about this misconception that I had: I thought that in order to read two staves at once I had to keep my eyes in between the two staves. Of course, this does not work. I noticed that now my eyes keep jumping in all directions: I jump ahead, then back again to the place I'm currently playing, then from bass to treble.

See also Building Blocks to Effective Sight Reading by Barbara Fast



#1910691 - 06/08/12 06:38 PM Re: Let's sight read - material and tips [Re: ukbuk]  
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Originally Posted by ukbuk


I'm using that! Its pretty good and gets me a load of kudos with the in laws at the same time (they are LDS - i'm not)


It's really good. I was asked to play for the children at church (primary), and I accepted even though I'm a terrible sight reader and had never accompanied anyone. After about three months, though, my sight reading had improved tremendously, and it was just from playing from the Children's Songbook for about an hour a day.


" I wish you music to help with the burdens of life, and to help you release your happiness to others."

--Ludwig van Beethoven
#1910937 - 06/09/12 09:13 AM Re: Let's sight read - material and tips [Re: Veelo]  
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Tip: When practicing sight-reading study the score first, but vary the time of the pre-play study from 30 seconds (as in a sight-reading exam such as ABRSM etc) to a full in-depth review (20 minutes or thereabouts) away from the piano.

You can use this Extreme Sight-reading Pre-study Checklist as a guide.

I find formally working through this check list helps what you can gleam from the score in shorter times.


#1911299 - 06/10/12 05:00 AM Re: Let's sight read - material and tips [Re: EJR]  
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Tip #3: Pre-scan the music
Before playing have a look at the piece you are going to play. I use the STARS method (link1, link2) which stands for:
S - key signature
T - time signature and tempo
A - accidentals
R - rhythm and repeats
S - signs (dynamics, etc.)
These things are important to check since you don't want to be caught off guard e.g. when the key signature suddenly changes or the bass clef is replaced with a treble clef.

Prescanning a piece everytime before you play it takes some discipline.

EJR, that's an excellent checklist. I've stumbled upon your other blogpost too:
Sight-reading: YouTube Tutorials, Notes and Thoughts which contains alot of tips.

Besides, how is your sight reading practice going?

And if anyone knows of more videos showing sight readers please post them. I've only found the ones by Tom Brier.

Last edited by Veelo; 06/10/12 05:40 AM.
#1911981 - 06/11/12 04:31 PM Re: Let's sight read - material and tips [Re: Veelo]  
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Hi Veelo,

"how is your sight reading practice going?"

It's currently 'on hold' at the moment frown

Lately I've been focussed on technique. However, I've been downloading tons of graded materials and loading them onto a cheap Android tablet for sight-reading (your links were very useful).

So I'm about to hit it again big time! grin

#1913051 - 06/13/12 06:58 PM Re: Let's sight read - material and tips [Re: Veelo]  
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Hey there, I just wanted to say thank you for the links!


“Master your instrument, Master the music, and then forget all that bullshit and just play.” — Charlie Parker
#1913262 - 06/14/12 03:24 AM Re: Let's sight read - material and tips [Re: Veelo]  
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Very useful resources and tips. Thanks, everyone!


Deborah
Charles Walter 1500
Happiness is a shiny red piano.
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#1913331 - 06/14/12 07:45 AM Re: Let's sight read - material and tips [Re: Veelo]  
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I read somewhere about a guy that learned piano and sight-reading by taking every piece of music he could find and going for it. Not sure if that was a true story, but he claimed after stacks of music he was fluid with sight-reading.

After 2 years of playing, I can read music and play it. Super-slowly. It isn't a problem of reading the notes, but getting hands in place. If I play a piece 6x or so, it's then able to be anticipated and ironed out, if it isn't a very complex piece. Every year I get better and better at sight reading, so it really does take practice; I can imagine after 10 years of this study it would be rather easy to sight-read and play all those pieces on "Making Music Fun" without pausing or stumbling.


Currently working on/memorizing...
"It's You" from Robotech
"He's A Pirate"
"Crazy Bone Rag"
"What The World Needs Now"
#1913341 - 06/14/12 08:22 AM Re: Let's sight read - material and tips [Re: Rusty Fortysome]  
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Originally Posted by Rusty Fortysome
I read somewhere about a guy that learned piano and sight-reading by taking every piece of music he could find and going for it. Not sure if that was a true story, but he claimed after stacks of music he was fluid with sight-reading.


I suspect if you bashed your head against every object you could find eventually you would find you could break through a wall. Or end up unconscious.

For those who find sight reading comes easy (and this is one of those areas where I do believe that some natural inclinations to way s of working - call it talent if you must - can make some people just run with it) that approach may work. For the rest of us, nothing beats working with simple material you can play rather than struggling with stuff you can't.



  • Debussy - Le Petit Nègre, L. 114
  • Haydn - Sonata in Gm, Hob. XVI/44

Kawai K3
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#1913374 - 06/14/12 09:47 AM Re: Let's sight read - material and tips [Re: Andy Platt]  
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Originally Posted by Andy Platt
For the rest of us, nothing beats working with simple material you can play rather than struggling with stuff you can't.


I belong to that group of people.

Although one of the tricks is to practice reading material that are above your sight-reading level, so you force to practice making decisions about which stuff to ignore, which is also valuable.

For example: I can't sight read 4 voice chorals, but I try to play only the bass and soprano and try to add 3th or 4th voice here and there (where I can).

Last edited by supertorpe; 06/14/12 09:50 AM.

Started learning piano: 01 March 2010
- Ex: Yamaha P-85, Kawai ES-4
- Current: Kawai CA-63
- Videos
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#1913394 - 06/14/12 10:18 AM Re: Let's sight read - material and tips [Re: Veelo]  
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Some recommended books on several posts of this forum:

Introduction to Classics to Moderns (40 pieces, 32 pages)
Joy of First Classics 1 and 2 (60 pieces, 80 pages each)
- Easy Classics to Moderns (142 pieces, 160 pages)


Started learning piano: 01 March 2010
- Ex: Yamaha P-85, Kawai ES-4
- Current: Kawai CA-63
- Videos
- soundcloud
#1913456 - 06/14/12 01:05 PM Re: Let's sight read - material and tips [Re: Veelo]  
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I just purchased a copy of Selected Works by Gurlitt that looks like great sight reading material.

Joy of First Classics is very good.


Gary
Essex EUP-111 at the mountains
W. Hoffmann T-122 at the beach
#1913506 - 06/14/12 02:59 PM Re: Let's sight read - material and tips [Re: Plowboy]  
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Veelo Online content
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Thank you for the links and recommendations! Please post more laugh

Meanwhile, here is an interesting thesis on sight reading:

A survey of the development of sight-reading skills in instructional piano methods for average-age beginners and a sample primer-level sight-reading curriculum
by Dirkse, Scott, M.M., UNIVERSITY OF SOUTH CAROLINA, 2009

Chapter 4 (page 47) with an actual sight reading curriculum is a must read!



Last edited by Veelo; 06/14/12 02:59 PM.
#1913511 - 06/14/12 03:22 PM Re: Let's sight read - material and tips [Re: Veelo]  
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Originally Posted by Veelo
Thank you for the links and recommendations! Please post more laugh

Meanwhile, here is an interesting thesis on sight reading:

A survey of the development of sight-reading skills in instructional piano methods for average-age beginners and a sample primer-level sight-reading curriculum
by Dirkse, Scott, M.M., UNIVERSITY OF SOUTH CAROLINA, 2009

Chapter 4 (page 47) with an actual sight reading curriculum is a must read!




Thanks for the link; I'll have to study it a little. Glancing at chapter 4 it seems they emphasize keyboard topography. I believe that is my weakest area ... I have very little spacial acuity - at least down the accuracy of a single key.


  • Debussy - Le Petit Nègre, L. 114
  • Haydn - Sonata in Gm, Hob. XVI/44

Kawai K3
[Linked Image][Linked Image][Linked Image]
#1914336 - 06/16/12 12:41 AM Re: Let's sight read - material and tips [Re: Veelo]  
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I'm using the "levels" at this website as a guide. They give plenty of suggestions for books at each sight-reading level.
http://www.soundfeelings.com/products/music_instruction/sight-reading_books.htm

I'm using Level 2. Now I know that I can expect a good sight-reading level of music from "big note" piano books. From the list I bought the "100 Best Loved Piano Solos" book and the "Fun to Play Christmas Songs". I also bought a big-note/easy piano "The Disney Collection", which is slightly harder, but not by much.

I feel confident that there are a good number more books out there that are suggested on the website if I don't feel ready to move up for a while. But I've seen a good improvement in my sight-reading.

I also have "The Joy of First Classics", "The Joy of First Classics 2", "Easy Classics to Moderns" and "More Easy Classics to Moderns". But I feel I'm not quite up to those. Right now I'm very comfortable with the level I'm working at, even if it's not always perfect. (It's sight-reading, what do you expect?)

I'm sight-reading 3 pieces a day, one from each of the big-note books I bought.
______________________________

I have a proposal if anyone would be interested. We could post videos here of our sight-reading, like a sight-reading piano bar -- or make a new thread where we can all post videos of our sight-reading.


I love sight-reading! One day I will master it.

http://www.youtube.com/user/Acrozius?feature=mhee
#1914636 - 06/16/12 05:57 PM Re: Let's sight read - material and tips [Re: Veelo]  
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Thanks for posting the link to that sight reading thesis, Veelo. Lots of interesting stuff there.

For anyone it may help, here's a list of easy music books to use as sight reading fodder, which I which I wrote up and posted several months ago during a major bout of of insomnia.



Please step aside. You're standing in your own way.

intermittent piano blog
#1914819 - 06/17/12 08:36 AM Re: Let's sight read - material and tips [Re: tangleweeds]  
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Here is more free material:

1) http://www.soundswell.co.uk/pages/swsightr.htm
It's a collection of sight reading exercises divided into four sections: First Steps, Early Stages, Intermediate, Advanced

2) And here is a sight reading book by Faith Maydwell: Sight Reading Skills
which you can download for free!

@Maechre and tangleweeds: Thanks for the links!
@Maechre: I like the idea of sight reading videos. Come on you excellent sight readers, take out your cameras and motivate us!




Last edited by Veelo; 06/17/12 09:07 AM.
#1914825 - 06/17/12 08:44 AM Re: Let's sight read - material and tips [Re: Veelo]  
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the best method for sight reading I have ever done was to take a Bach invention and sight read measure by measure or half bar by half bar (looped) ie you just keep playing measure one over and over. then do measures one and two until up to tempo
then measures one two and three etc

while singing and saying the letter names of first right hand then left hand then both.
all while playing hands together. you may spend a half hour saying just left hand while playing both hands then you will sing and say letter names of right hand while playing both

it is incredibly difficult and grueling but after a few months you will literally hear the music in your head when you see the notes.

truly amazing and your ability to sight read even complex material will improve dramatically

you should do this in conjunction with playing simpler pieces at sight.

#1914851 - 06/17/12 10:09 AM Re: Let's sight read - material and tips [Re: Veelo]  
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maduro: I'd be interested to try that out!


I love sight-reading! One day I will master it.

http://www.youtube.com/user/Acrozius?feature=mhee
#1914856 - 06/17/12 10:25 AM Re: Let's sight read - material and tips [Re: Andy Platt]  
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Veelo Online content
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Originally Posted by Andy Platt
Originally Posted by Veelo
Thank you for the links and recommendations! Please post more laugh

Meanwhile, here is an interesting thesis on sight reading:

A survey of the development of sight-reading skills in instructional piano methods for average-age beginners and a sample primer-level sight-reading curriculum
by Dirkse, Scott, M.M., UNIVERSITY OF SOUTH CAROLINA, 2009

Chapter 4 (page 47) with an actual sight reading curriculum is a must read!




Thanks for the link; I'll have to study it a little. Glancing at chapter 4 it seems they emphasize keyboard topography. I believe that is my weakest area ... I have very little spacial acuity - at least down the accuracy of a single key.


Andy, that is indeed an interesting topic. I would like to discuss this below:

Tip #4a: Keyboard topography (for beginners)
As a beginner try this: Close your eyes and create a mental image of the keyboard. Now, in your imagination hit the keys C,B,A,G,F,E,D,C and name them. Do you see the geometry of the black and white keys? In the beginning I couldn't do it.

I learned it the hard way: I tried to sight read without(!) looking down the keyboard. The only way I could do this was to use my tactile sense, e.g. when I had to play a G, I would try to feel the group of 3 black keys and I knew that G is next to F#. As you can imagine I was very frustrated at the beginning since what I played did not resemble music at all but rather stuttering. I already wanted to give up but I am glad that I didn't.

I think this helps me with relative position. Consider this example with the left hand: if I had to play a C with my thumb and F# (to the left of C) with my pinky, I know immediately where F# is.

Someone has compared this with the Braille method for blind people.
---

Tip #4b: Keyboard topography (advanced)
Advanced means you have an absolute sense of position. If I told you a note, for example G, you could hit the right key with your eyes closed.

Examples:
Have a look at Tom Brier's left hand. It's godlike! Look at those jumps.

Tips on how to acquire this advanced skill? Unfortunately, I don't have this absolute sense of position. My guess is that ragtime or stride piano is a good way to achieve it since it involves large jumps.

Here is another video of Tom Brier where a woman covers his sight to the left to check whether he peeks down (@4:25). Tom also explains "how" he does it (@3:25) laugh

Another example is the amazing blind pianist Derek Paravicini. In this video he plays the Maple Leaf Rag also involving large jumps.
---

Now here is a question for you:
a) Has anyone taken the same (frustrating) route as me with respect to the "Braille" method
b) Does anyone here have this absolute sense of position? If yes, how did you practice it?


Last edited by Veelo; 06/17/12 02:02 PM.
#1914873 - 06/17/12 11:04 AM Re: Let's sight read - material and tips [Re: Veelo]  
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Originally Posted by Veelo

@Maechre: I like the idea of sight reading videos. Come on you excellent sight readers, take out your cameras and motivate us!

I think earlier sight-readers should also be welcome to contribute -- anyone who wants to. We can support each other! I will gladly start a new thread with my own example if more people are interested. smile


I love sight-reading! One day I will master it.

http://www.youtube.com/user/Acrozius?feature=mhee
#1914876 - 06/17/12 11:06 AM Re: Let's sight read - material and tips [Re: Veelo]  
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Veelo: I haven't yet worked on my tactile positioning, but I need to! It's okay for me to glance down with these simpler pieces but I could be doing much better if I didn't have to look at all -- or more rarely at least.


I love sight-reading! One day I will master it.

http://www.youtube.com/user/Acrozius?feature=mhee
#1914900 - 06/17/12 12:29 PM Re: Let's sight read - material and tips [Re: Veelo]  
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Originally Posted by maduro
the best method for sight reading I have ever done was to take a Bach invention and sight read measure by measure or half bar by half bar (looped) ie you just keep playing measure one over and over. then do measures one and two until up to tempo
then measures one two and three etc

while singing and saying the letter names of first right hand then left hand then both.
all while playing hands together. you may spend a half hour saying just left hand while playing both hands then you will sing and say letter names of right hand while playing both

it is incredibly difficult and grueling but after a few months you will literally hear the music in your head when you see the notes.

truly amazing and your ability to sight read even complex material will improve dramatically

you should do this in conjunction with playing simpler pieces at sight.

I'm not sure I understand.

Are you saying to work with a new invention each session, or to keep going back to the same one until complete? If returning to it, doesn't that turn more into a memorization/learning process and less a sight-reading exercise?

Why is it necessary to keep going back to measure one over and over again? It seems that that would, again, simply lead to learning of the piece?

Also, why Bach inventions in particular?

(Hope this doesn't double-post. I replied earlier but the post disappeared into the internet ether.)


Deborah
Charles Walter 1500
Happiness is a shiny red piano.
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#1914937 - 06/17/12 01:50 PM Re: Let's sight read - material and tips [Re: Veelo]  
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Maechre Offline
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Maechre  Offline
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Posts: 263
Melbourne, Australia
piano deb: I'm not sure about the exact intention of that kind or re-reading, but if it is memorisation -- having memorised music plays a part in sight-reading as it helps you quickly translate familiar notes into sound.

I would like to see maduro's explanation.


I love sight-reading! One day I will master it.

http://www.youtube.com/user/Acrozius?feature=mhee
#1915338 - 06/18/12 04:10 PM Re: Let's sight read - material and tips [Re: Cookie74]  
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mcasl Offline
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mcasl  Offline
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They have a free app for iPad , just check LDS in the AppStore . It has both the Hymns and the children songs


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