written by
Stephen Walter

Sight Reading—The Silver Bullet

4 min read



Sight Reading is a fabulous skill for musicians!

Music is, essentially, another language, and those black blobby notes on the five lines and four spaces are the alphabet.

Imagine: you go to Infants class at school, and you can’t read yet.

You have to ‘sound out’ all the letters, in order to read each word. But gradually, the more you practise reading, the better you get. Now you can read whole books, and your brain just recognizes entire words, seemingly instantly.

Now imagine if your music was like that!

No more having to say “Every Good Boy Deserves Fruit”, no more slow and painful work getting each new piece underway. What if you could just pick up a new piece, and read the music straight away, just like you read a new book? Imagine being able to almost instantly read and play a new piece for the school band, for your church, or mainly just for your own enjoyment...

Sight Reading is the "silver bullet" that makes this all possible (and it might also help you fight off werewolves!)

The good news: with modern apps it's a lot easier, and a lot of fun too!

To make it really easy, I’ve purchased a full studio license (free for every student) for several apps and websites, including Piano Maestro, Sight Reading Factory, Piano SuperSonics, and others.

These licenses save you around $300 per year!

So please: take advantage, and use them as part of your regular practise!

A few minutes 2 or 3 times a week will seriously save you hours of practise learning new pieces later on...

Piano Maestro


‎This is brilliant for learning to read music! Download the app (it’s free!), and set up a student account using the music email you chose above... Now, let me know that you've done this, and I’ll add your email to my studio site license account, and all the content will unlock, saving you $130+ per year!

Note Rush


Sorry, this one isn’t free, but it's only $6, or about 1/3 the cost of a pack of music flash cards. Simply sit your iPhone or iPad on your piano, and it listens to your answers! You’re competing only against yourself, and it has numerous options and levels. This my favourite beginner note learning app.


See our first Note Rush Challenge page here:


Flashnote Derby


‎Learn your notes racing against Christmas reindeer, flying high with pretty Pegasus unicorns, and fighting a space battle! Very flexible quizzes, multiple speeds, and a number of options make this educational yet immensely fun!



Learn notes, rhythm, and keyboard layout whilst smashing logs and shooting fire.

Count me in!

Oh, A Hint About Apps And Saving Money...

You can save 20% on your apps by getting iTunes cards from Coles / Big W / Officeworks or whoever else has them discounted...

There are lots of other great apps and programs for different music jobs. Just ask me if you have any questions!

Sight Reading Factory (SRF)

Sight Reading Factory (SRF) is very similar to actual exams, and to real-world music; so practising using SRF will improve your ability to quickly learn new music, and get you a better exam score - Win-Win!

It can be used for all instruments, not just piano.

One HUGE benefit is that SRF works on all platforms: Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android.

SRF costs US$35 (AUD$50) for an annual subscription, but I’ve paid for it for you!


This is an excellent app and website for practising exam-level sight reading.

I firmly believe that using SRF and/or Piano Maestro will improve your sight reading, and make playing soooo much easier!

Again, just download the app (it’s free!), and let me know - I'll add your email to my studio site license account, and all the content will unlock, saving you $50+ per year!


If printed sight reading is more your style, you can download free sight reading sheets here:


(Thank you Mick - these are excellent!)

Sight Reading Books

And, if you prefer print over digital, there are also two very good sight reading books (these are so much better than previous books)...

I have both of these books in stock.

That's it!

If you need any help or advice, or have any questions, please don't hesitate to email me, or call me on 4751-6196.


Stephen Walter

Blue Mountains Piano School

For more information: