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What is Sight-Reading All About?

As many of you know, I spent the end of last week judging Sight-Reading for District 11 in Sarasota. For three days, I saw band after band after band come through the sight-reading room and try their hand at reading two pieces of music they had never seen before. Some of the bands played well and others struggled, just as happens on stage. In two cases, they sight-read well enough to raise their final rating (earning 2 ratings higher in SR than on stage) and in one case, the band dropped a final rating (earning 2 ratings lower in SR). However, in many cases, we got to see the magic of music education as the Director used various techniques to teach the music without playing it. Some bands did the ‘fizzle’ method, some sang, some clapped, some used stand partners, and some did ‘sage on the stage’ where the director lectured the entire time. Many used more than one technique. In the end, it was awesome to watch all these students and their directors navigate this music and then perform. My biggest takeaway was how many of the bands had no parental support. It was so sad to see how many bands came in alone and performed only for me and the student volunteers. We are so fortunate to have many parents, family members, and friends that come out and shower us with love and support. And one band had their school principal with them … and we are blessed to have that many times as well. Things are truly great at East River Band, and I can’t wait until we have our turn to do it this weekend. The magic of music education is alive and well here. Let’s do this.

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