Daily sight-reading in the choral classroom is a beneficial instructional practice that promotes music literacy skills. However, this pedagogical approach is, at times, disinteresting to students due to the repetitive use of exercises from a methods book. While consistency is important when teaching music literacy, variety is also beneficial, providing students with a new and unique sight-reading experience.
The following are some alternative sight-reading activities that can be implemented in conjunction with a standard sight-reading curriculum. In addition to these exercises, some alternative activities have already been discussed in previous ChoralEd episodes (see episodes 25 and 26).
Reading Ahead – While sight-reading an exercise projected on a screen using PowerPoint, randomly remove the exercise by changing to a blank slide or hitting the “B” blackout button. At this point, students must continue singing the exercise as far as they can without looking at the music. Through this activity students are challenged to look ahead in their music.
Read it Backwards – Any sight-reading exercise can be completed backwards (reading from right to left). This approach can significantly extend the resources available to educators if sight-reading materials are limited.
Sight-Reading Basketball – In this competitive sight-reading game, students are divided into two teams, each performing a sight-reading exercise as a group. Upon successful completion of the exercise, one student is provided the chance to score points for their team by throwing a mini basketball into a trashcan or cardboard box. The opposing team then has a chance to perform a sight-reading exercise and score points.
Sight-Reading Adventures – In this activity, sight-reading is paired with a choose your own adventure narrative. After reading the story on each PowerPoint slide, the class votes on which path to take by singing the indicated solfège syllable. Three different sight-reading adventure stories can be downloaded using this google drive link.
To watch ChoralEd, Episode 27 on YouTube click HERE
To listen to ChoralEd, Episode 27 on Apple Podcasts click HERE