In this modern age, there is an app for everything. As you trudge through the endless offerings in your app store, it does make you wonder which apps, if any, are of practical use.
Having said that, there are a few golden apps that can add real value to our music lessons and our students home practice.
Recently, ABRSM (The Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music) released a new app called “Sight-Reading Trainer” Knowing how some of my younger students love using music apps, I decided to investigate! I am very pleased to report that the app is not a disappointment but a genuinely useful tool to train the upcoming musician to read music at sight.
Several of my students have been using the app now and the results have been excellent. All have commented on how they have learnt to look more carefully at new music before starting to play. The most amazing thing is that some who used to hate sight-reading have now had a change of heart and love it! Yes, I know!!!
• “Streak” page. When you open the app you are greeted with the number of days that you have been practicing sight-reading with the app continuously. This has really encouraged my pupils to practice daily so that they can maintain and increases their “streak.”
• Grades 1-5: in effect, 5 apps in one!
• A generous 31 sight-reading projects per grade
• Every project starts with three engaging “games” that teach awareness of rhythm, pitch, and other musical features
• Each game comes with a three-star rating, encouraging students to revisit to improve if they scored less than three stars
• After completing the three games, the student then plays the piece on which the games were based
• Useful tips about effective sight-reading are given for each piece
• Available for Apple & Android
Lots of students are now using this app. None of them have abandoned using it but are very motivated, systematically working their way through the projects. The fact that previous sight-reading “haters” have been converted to enjoy this activity is nothing short of miraculous. Several older students have also been enjoying it, coping admirably with the simple design. Those students at higher grades have enjoyed going back over the early grades to gain further confidence. This app has become a welcome addition to my music teaching toolkit. To learn more, click here.