RIAM Piano Sight-Reading

RIAM Piano Sight-Reading

The Let's Get Reading series of piano sight-reading books are based on the syllabus of the Local Centre Examinations in Piano and they are designed to introduce and develop the skills of sight-reading in an easy and musical way. We talked to the authors of the books, Jean Archibald and Marie Moran to gain a little insight into their motivation for putting the series together and how the books work.

The piano sight-reading series Let's Get Reading and Let's Read Some More came about through requests from many Local Centre teachers for custom-made material to support teaching in this Cinderella area. Over the past few years we have worked out what we think is an innovative, friendly approach to make sight-reading accessible, musical and attractive. For the earlier grades Maurice the mouse is introduced as a friendly mentor who with words of wisdom guides and encourages young pianists on their sight-reading journey. The pieces are original compositions, carefully graded to allow students progress at an easy and enjoyable pace. Maurice greets the pianist on almost every page. Cartoons, bubbles, faces, fun sketches, all speak directly to the student, firing their imagination and encouraging thoughtful musical playing. Over the course of the series Maurice matures, becoming your typical teenager by Grade 4. Shades, i-pod, denim jacket and trainers – a real cool dude! But he has lost none of his appeal, continuing to guide and coach the student.

For the higher grades it is time to say Good-bye to Maurice and thank him for his helpful pointers. As the approach is more mature, we changed the title to Let's Read Some More for Grades 6, 7, 8/Senior Certificate. Although Maurice has taken his leave, there are still plenty of helpful hints and reminders of what to look out for. Each piece has a text introduction, and text bubbles over or under the music give guidance at points where particular care is needed.

The following features are kept in mind as the books progress:

Keys/Time/Rhythmic Patterns

As hitherto, new keys and times are gradually phased in, as are the more common rhythmic patterns including syncopation and triplets.

Length:

Pieces become longer, though never more than one page.

Style:

As students are broadening their appreciation of musical style, we thought the sight-reading pieces should reflect stylistic variety, so the pieces in the later books range from Baroque through to 20th century. None is so avant-garde that the students will fear they are playing wrong notes!

Here is a little glimpse of Maurice the mouse! An added incentive to work through the sight reading books for some students is that when you finish the page, there is always a picture of Maurice to be coloured in!

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