Teach Sight-Reading with TAKES (Quick Tip)

This time of year, many people are thinking about how to teach sight-reading skills.  I wanted to find a way to streamline our sight-reading and have a quick reference for the major aspects of each piece we read. This acrostic helps to help students focus in on the particulars and it also helps guide our discussion of what to look out for.
There are many ways to teach sight-reading skills. This acrostic may not be in the perfect order (accidentals probably shouldn’t be part of the conversation before key signature), but the information is systematic and effective. Because it works for my students, I wanted to share it.
There is a free download available here – Sightreading TAKES – that is ready to print and give to students.
T – Time Signature
       What is it?
       Does it change?
       What do you notice about it?
A – Accidentals
       What accidentals are there?
       Where are they?
      How long are they in effect?
K – Key signature
       What is it?
       Does it change?
       What one or two notes are effected during the key change?
       Do you know what scale belongs to that key signature?
E – Ensemble
       What is your role within the ensemble?
       When are you a Leading Actor?
       When are you a Supporting Actor?
S – Style
       What is the style of the piece?
       Is it fast, slow or medium?
       How long should the notes be?
       What kind of articulation should you use?
       Does the style change?
I print this out (Sightreading TAKES) and put it on every stand so that students can see and touch the information. I hope this way of teaching sight-reading  will work well for you and your students.

Eric Rath is an active educator, clinician, adjudicator, arranger, and composer. He has served as a band and orchestra director as well as a percussion specialist at the middle and high school levels. He and Ralph Hicks are the co-authors of the percussion ensemble collection, “Beyond Basic Percussion” and the snare drum and keyboard fundamentals book, “Five Minute Drill” (Tapspace Publications). Recently, they launched their latest book, “The Golden Age of Ragtime,” which features five ragtime piano pieces transcribed for xylophone soloist and marimba ensemble or piano accompaniment. ericrathmusic.com

Related Reading:
3 Quick Ways to Check Your Percussionists Grip from the Podium (Eric Rath)
Note Starts (Quick Tip)
Motivate Your Band – The Little Red Hen

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