• Diane Hidy

New Sight Reading books reviewed in AMT Magazine

From American Music Teacher magazine December/January 2019/2020

Reviewed by Jenna Braaksma, Tallahassee, Florida

Sight Reading: Piano Music for Sight Reading and Short Study by Diane Hidy and Keith Snell presents a sight-reading curriculum for elementary and intermediate players that spans five levels of difficulty. To begin each book, students benefit from a practical list of tips regarding musical elements to find before reading, while playing and when evaluating their performance. Overall, the development of skills within books, as well as the progression of difficulty from level to level, moves at a steady pace. Students can easily read without distractions because the books present a clean layout with no extra images.

To start, students will play examples that are four measures long and by books three and four grow to read pieces written by notable pedagogical composers that contain 16 measures. The lower level exercises are based on five finger patterns with step-wise or triadic motion spanning the distance of a fifth interval. The concepts in the higher levels are expanded through extensions out of five-finger patterns, chords and larger intervals, and playing with hands together. Students will enjoy the musical selections because of their diverse style, exciting rhythms presented in various time signatures, and combination of legato and staccato articulations.

Because a significant amount of repetition is used in each example, students can practice organizing measures into groups based on the musical concept. Using exercises that contain imitative melodies alternated between hands, students can smoothly transition to higher levels of difficulty when developing their reading skills and hand coordination. The most notable benefit of this series is the progression of concepts throughout each book. By sequencing the skills through imitation and repetition, students are provided with a strong foundation of reading strategies. With this approach, students develop confidence in their ability to sight-read while building on musical skills already learned.

I love these books!!! I needed some supplemental material to use with the Four Star sight reading books and THIS IS IT!!!!! Thank you, thank you! - Sarah A.

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© 2019 by Diane Hidy

You'll wonder how you ever taught without this 32-page book. I made these cards for my students to give them plenty of opportunities to practice all the different skills they were acquiring. This series starts with the simplest possible rhythmic patterns on the Landmark notes Middle C, Bass F and Treble G. Each set becomes incrementally more difficult.

Here are a few of the many different ways to use these cards:

  • Encourage students to write in their own fingering. This paves the way for making true fingering choices later on

  • Circle the thirds before starting to read the flashcards. This helps the student focus on the difference between steps and skips.

  • Help your student write in their own staccatos and slurs. Try them out. Talk to them about why they do or don't like them. 

  • Help the student add dynamics and phrase marks.

  • Print these in their entirety and use them as a book.

  • Print them on heavy paper or card stock and cut them into separate cards. Trying sending home a set with a student and ask them to become proficient with each one. At the next lesson, mix them up and play them in random order. It’s a nice combination of preparation and reading.