Piano Music Sight Reading Practice Help

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Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. System Requirements
    1. Hardware and Software
    2. Mouse Accuracy
    3. Mouse Calibration
  3. Practice Statistics
    1. Round and Card
    2. Difficulty
    3. Response Time
    4. Average Response Time
    5. Average Response Accuracy
    6. Performance Score
    7. Average Performance Score
    8. Average Score Trend
  4. Practice Settings
    1. Saving
    2. Key Signature
    3. Keyboard Size
    4. Exercises
    5. Custom Practice
      1. Practice Type (Mode)
      2. MIDI Keyboard Input
      3. Note Selection
      4. Accidentals
      5. Practice Range
      6. Ledger Lines
      7. Octave Brackets
      8. Labels
      9. Hint-Note on Keyboard
      10. Sound
      11. Break and Performance Score
  5. Note-Reading Tips and Hints
  6. Questions and Answers
  7. Press Releases
  8. Praise
  9. News
  10. Legal Notices
    1. Intellectual Property
    2. Privacy Policy
    3. User Agreement
    4. Advertisements

Introduction

This free online electronic flashcard (flash card) trains you to instantly read notes written in standard musical notation on a grand staff and play the corresponding keys on a piano (or other musical keyboard) correctly, the first time, without practice or rehearsal. This skill is known as "sight reading." 

To practice, just read the music note displayed on the staff at the top of the page. Then click its key on the piano keyboard image below it. In the default settings, a Hint-Note () will appear on the correct key within a few seconds of the appearance of the challenge note on the staff. If you click the correct piano key, a "Correct ..." message will appear under the staff, and a new challenge note will appear on the staff. If you click the wrong key, an "Incorrect ..." message will appear  under the staff, and the same challenge note will appear on the staff again.

A few minutes a day with this training exercise will greatly improve your piano music sight reading skills. It is adjustable to any skill level via preset exercises or custom settings including key signature, note selection, accidentals, practice range, labels, and ledger lines. Optional piano sounds also make this a great ear training drill. A graph shows your progress during a session. This site should be in every piano teacher and student's favorites. 

If you are a beginner, take a look at the Note-Reading Tips and Hints at the bottom of this page.
 

System Requirements

Hardware and Software

Most of the features of this program work on virtually all  modern browsers and operating systems without downloading any software or plug-ins. However, several features have some special system requirements, but they are already exist on most computers. The requirements for each feature are described in detail in the help information for that feature:

Note Sound
Note Spoken Name
MIDI Keyboard Input
Hint Note

Mouse Accuracy

All features of this program require a mouse (or other pointing device) which works with your browser to accurately send the coordinates of where you click on the keyboard image or other control image. If your system does not send this program an accurate click location, it can't tell what piano key you have clicked or if you have clicked the correct answer. 

To ensure your mouse sends accurate click locations, be sure to temporarily disable any display zooming or magnification feature you use in your hardware or software, if the zoom area includes the piano keyboard image. If your computer changes the keyboard image size, the piano keys won't have the location our program expects, so it won't know which note you clicked. 

If you have a computer keyboard with a Zoom feature (such as the Microsoft Wireless Comfort keyboard), use the software that came with the keyboard to disable that feature while using our program. Alternatively, you might be able to leave it enabled but set it at exactly 100%. [We thank our student in Sacramento for helping us identify and resolve this problem.]

Your browser's View > Text Size option should not cause a problem. You can also use the Windows Magnifier as long as you only use it to magnify the staff and not the keyboard image. However, the View > Zoom option must be set to 100%.

If you have disabled display and zoom features as described above, you may still need complete our simple mouse calibration if:

Mouse Calibration 

When you first land on the practice page, you are instructed to click the key labeled "Middle C" before you can begin your practice. This allows the program to check your mouse accuracy. If the program receives some other note, it assumes you clicked middle C, but your mouse needs calibration for this site.

If you did NOT click Middle C on the first practice page, click "No" on the first calibration page. This will return you to the start page where you can click on middle C to start your practice. 

If you did click Middle C but got the calibration page,  please proceed through the following series of four simple calibration pages which will automatically display:

  1. Location of the upper-left corner of the piano keyboard image;
  2. Location of the lower-right corner of the piano keyboard image;
  3. Verification of the display location of the hint note on piano keyboard image; and
  4. Verification of the display location of the challenge note on the staff image.
If you cannot see the cross-hairs pointed to on the first two calibration pages, make sure your Window is maximized and scroll left or right as required. This site works best on a 1024 x 768 or larger display, but should work on smaller ones if you scroll to position it. If you still can't see the cross-hairs, click "Hidden" and proceed with the remaining tests. 

After you have answered the question on each of the four pages, a results page will display the final status. 

To manually force this test to run at any time: start a new session; then click a note near one end of the keyboard image, instead of middle C. Click here to start a new session now. 

Please contact us if you have problems with mouse accuracy. We would like to learn more about the conditions that cause this problem.

Practice Statistics

While you practice, several statistics are displayed above the grand staff  to show you your progress. 

Round, Card, and Page

Your practice is divided into a series of Rounds separated by rest breaks. Each round consists of a number of practice cards (challenges). 

A practice Card presents one notation for you to read and "play" on the piano keyboard image. The number of cards in a round defaults to 15, but you can change it in the Custom Practice "Take a Break" setting. If you click the "Skip to Next Note" button, this skips to a new card but does not increment the card counter since you didn't attempt to play that card. If you make any settings change, it resets the card to 1, and does not change the round number. This does not effect any of the practice statistics because they have their own counters. If you switch modes, it resets the round and card to 1 and resets all practice statistics. 

A Page number is also displayed in the statistics. This number increments every time the form is sent to the server, regardless of how it was submitted (answer, Next, or settings change). This tells you how many actions you have taken and is also useful for communicating a problem to us. 

Difficulty

The difficulty number is displayed in the statistics section above the staff. This number applies to the practice settings as a whole, not to a specific note that is generated by the settings. It reflects both the quantity and difficulty of notations that will appear in your practice. The difficulty is calculated as described below.

For each note in the practice range, based on the practice settings it adds:

The total from this calculation is then multiplied by the following numbers: When you change the practice settings (and click the Apply button), a difficulty number is calculated for the new settings and displayed on the change confirmation page and subsequent practices pages. The highest possible difficulty is 376, however this is not necessarily an appropriate goal for all students. For example, if you are learning to read for a keyboard that is shorter than 88 keys, you will not need to use the full practice range and will therefore not encounter the highest difficulty level. Also, if you have customized the practice settings to focus only on notes that are difficult for you, the difficulty number might not accurately reflect the difficulty for you personally. 

Response Time

When you click the correct piano key in response to a card, a "Correct ..." message appears under the staff. This message displays the number of seconds it took you to click the correct note from the time it was first displayed, regardless of how many wrong notes you clicked before the correct one. 

Your response is rounded to the nearest second. Since the timer starts when our server sends the new note, and stops when our server receives your response, the time displayed includes all internet and computer delays. However, if you have a broadband connection, this delay would normally be less than a second, but still significant. So this is a relative measure of your performance, not a scientific measure. 

If you click the "Skip to Next Note" button, the program skips to the next card and resets the timer so that any time spent on the skipped card is not included in your response time for the next card. This is useful if you get interrupted while practicing. Just skip to the next note before clicking the piano keyboard and your interruption time won't count against you. 

Average Response Time

As you practice, your average response time is calculated by averaging your response time for the last 10 correct answers and is displayed in the statistics section above the staff. If you have an exceptionally long response time on one note, it will adversely effect your average response time for the next 10 answers. 

Average Response Accuracy

The program has two counters: one for the number of correct responses, and one for the number of incorrect responses. After each of your responses, your average response accuracy is calculated by dividing the number of correct responses by the total number of responses (correct plus incorrect clicks on the piano image). This is displayed as a percentage in the statistics section above the staff. Next to that figure the cumulative correct and total responses are also displayed as a fraction. e.g.: 90% (45/50)

Performance Score

Some students prefer to have a single score which represents their performance and can be used to track their progress. This program provides a performance score for each answer as follows: 
Performance Score = difficulty  x  [1 / (response time)]  x  [1 / (wrong answers for current card + 1)] x 100
The score for the completed card is displayed to the right of the "Corrrect ..." message under the staff. Since the difficulty applies to the practice settings as a whole instead of a specific challenge, the performance score is more meaningful when considered over a period of time instead of for one challenge note. The highest possible score is 37600, however this is not necessarily an appropriate goal for all students. For example, if you are learning to read for a keyboard that is shorter than 88 keys, you will not need to use the full practice range and will therefore not encounter the highest difficulty level, or possible score.

Average Performance Score

As you practice, your average performance score is calculated by averaging your scores for the last 5 correct answers and is displayed in the statistics area above the staff.

Average Score Trend

Your average performance score is plotted on a graph displayed at the top of the break page. The graph contains the last 30 average scores (as calculated above), regardless of the break interval you have selected. To see all your score averages, be sure to set your break at 30 notes or less. The scale of the graph automatically adjust to fit the trend, and the score represented by the top of the graph is shown to the left. There are 10 gridlines, and each division is 1/10th the top of the graph. 

Practice Settings

Saving

Practice-settings are automatically saved in a cookie on your computer. When you return to our site in the future, your previous settings are automatically loaded. You are then free to change them as desired. To reset functional practice settings to their default values, select Exercise 1 and click Apply Exercise. Cookies must be enabled on your browser to use this feature. 

The following settings are NOT saved:

Microsoft Windows computers have user accounts which allow several people to share the same computer while having their own personalized settings. If you are logged in to your user account on your computer when you use our site, your settings will be saved separately from other users on your computer who use our site in a different user account. See your Windows help for more information on user accounts.

Key Signature

In musical notation, a key signature  is a series of sharp symbols or flat symbols placed on the staff, designating notes that are to be consistently played one semitone higher or lower (black notes) than the equivalent natural (white) notes unless otherwise altered with an accidental. 

The key signature defaults to C major (no sharps or flats). The current key signature is indicated by standard notation on the left end of the treble and bass staff. There is no standard notation for C major. The key signature drop-down menu above the staff displays the major and minor key names and number of sharps or flats for the current key signature. The names are abbreviated as the key letter in upper case for major keys and lower case for minor keys. To change the key signature, click on the drop-down menu, then click on the key signature you wish to practice. Your selected key signature will automatically apply to the next challenge note. The key signature applies to any Custom Practice settings you select. If you select a key signature while using a preset exercise, it will work with the other existing exercise settings, but will switch the exercise selection to Custom Practice. Notice the key signature selection table is a stretched-outCircle of Fifths, wherein: the  selection is the top of the circle; the 6 and 6 selections share the bottom of the circle. Enharmonic key signature pairs are indicated with matching notes (1), (2), and (3). 

Keyboard Size

Musical keyboards  come in many shapes, sizes, and constructions on a variety of instruments. Although this site is an excellent practice tool for conventional piano sight-reading, it works just as well for most other keyboard instruments including electric piano, digital piano, organ, electronic synthesizer, clavichord, virginal, harpsichord, carillon, and many accordions. To accommodate students of these various instruments, we have added a feature that allows the student to select a keyboard size (length) most similar to their preferred instrument. The sizes are referenced by their number of keys. For example, a standard piano has 88 black and white keys.

The program defaults to an 88-key keyboard. To change the keyboard size, just click on the desired size on one of the tabs above the keyboard. When you click "Next" on the confirmation page, the new keyboard will appear, and if the current practice range setting is outside the range of the new keyboard it is automatically adjusted as required.  Each tab, e.g.: , spans the length of its corresponding keyboard, with the shorter tabs in front and the longer tabs behind. The keyboard size is shown on both ends of its tab. Note, the 61 and 49 key keyboards have the same lowest key, so the left sides of their tabs are aligned and both keyboard selection links are shown on the front (49 key) tab. Note also that the 37, 44, and 49 key keyboards have the same highest key, so the right sides of their tabs are aligned and their sizes are all noted on the right side of the front (47 key) tab so you can see that they all end with that key. The following keyboard sizes are currently supported. Please let us know if yours is not here. If we have enough requests, we will add it. Note, you can also practice on a smaller portion of a keyboard using the practice range setting.
 
Keyboard
Size
Bottom
Key #
Top 
Key #
37 Keys 28 64
44 Keys 21 64
49 Keys 16 64
61 Keys 16 76
76 Keys 8 83
88 Keys 1 88

Some students and instructors prefer to use the full 88-key keyboard setting, even if the instrument they use has a shorter keyboard. Then you are more likely to learn the location of the notes relative to middle C (C4) rather than from the ends of the keyboard. This way, your sight reading skills will be more easily transferred to any keyboard, regardless of the length. But, it is up to you and your instructor. 

Exercises

Select a graduated practice exercise from the drop down menu to activate a preset collection of settings. You can see the resulting settings in the Custom Practice settings section. From that starting point, you can customize your practice by changing one or more of the settings in the Custom Practice section, which changes the exercise selection to Custom Practice. To apply your Exercise selection, click Apply Exercise. 

These exercises start with the most basic practice settings for the absolute beginner, and increase in difficulty with each successive exercise. When an exercise is selected and applied, the new settings for that exercise appear in the Custom Practice area. An exercise selection only effects the following settings and does not disturb other settings (such as labels, hint, etc.) which you may have selected previously using the Custom Practice area:

Here is a summary of the exercises:
 
No. Exercise Name Keyboards Practice
Range
Diff
Notes
1 Beginners: Treble Octave (1 Octave) All Octave of seven white keys above middle C.
8
For the beginner with no familiarity with the piano keyboard. 
2 Treble and Bass Octaves (2 Octaves) All Octave of white keys above and below middle C.
15
 
3 Grand Staff Plus Two Ledger Lines (4 Octaves) All All lines and spaces of the treble and bass clef staves (the grand staff), plus two ledger lines above and two ledger lines below 
39
Range slightly truncated on some shorter keyboards.
4 Four Ledger Lines 61, 76, 88 keys Four ledger lines only above and below the grand staff.
59
 
5 Three Inside Ledger Lines All Three ledger lines only between the treble and bass clef staves.
19
Use custom settings to expand to the less common four inside ledger lines. 
6 Four Ledger Lines with Octave Notation 76, 88 keys Four ledger lines plus higher and lower white keys using octave notation.
87
 
7 Seven Ledger Lines 76, 88 keys Seven ledger lines above and below the grand staff.
89
 
8 Seven Ledger Lines with Octave Notation 88 keys Seven ledger lines plus higher and lower white keys using octave notation.
98
 
9 Four Octaves with Accidentals All Four octaves of white and black keys (sharps and flats).
138
 
10, 11 Four-Octave Key Signature exercises All Four octaves of white and black keys in F Maj and G Maj (1 flat, 1 sharp).
142
Exercises 10-23 include all accidentals. They are limited to four octaves so they are applicable to most keyboard sizes. To expand one of these to include up to 88 keys, select one of these exercises and then select the desired practice range in the Custom Practice settings.
12, 13 Four-Octave Key Signature exercises  All Four octaves of white and black keys in B flat Maj and D Maj (2 flat, 2 sharp).
146
 
14, 15 Four-Octave Key Signature exercises All Four octaves of white and black keys in E flat Maj and A Maj (3 flat, 3 sharp).
150
 
16, 17 Four-Octave Key Signature exercises All Four octaves of white and black keys in A flat Maj and E Maj (4 flat, 4 sharp).
155
 
18, 19 Four-Octave Key Signature exercises All Four octaves of white and black keys in D flat Maj and B Maj (5 flat, 5 sharp).
159
 
20, 21 Four-Octave Key Signature exercises All Four octaves of white and black keys in G flat Maj and F sharp Maj (6 flat, 6 sharp).
164
 
22, 23 Four-Octave Key Signature exercises All Four octaves of white and black keys in C flat Maj and C sharp Maj (7 flat, 7 sharp).
168
 
  Custom Practice All Custom.   0-376 This option is automatically selected if you change a setting in the Custom Practice area and click Apply Custom Practice. If you select this option in the Exercises menu and click Apply Exercise, it doesn't change any settings. Its only purpose is to indicate when a custom setting change has been made.
* Diff = Difficulty level without hint note and without note-name legends. 

As noted in the exercise names and descriptions, some of the exercises only apply to keyboards of a certain minimum length capable of playing the notes in those exercises. If you select an incompatible keyboard size and exercise, the program automatically reverts to the next lowest exercise which is compatible with the selected keyboard size.

If you liked the old Preset Difficulty Levels, you can still use them using the following Custom settings. We will remove this legacy information on or after 3/25/09.
 
Level Bot Note Top Note Max Ldgr Lines
Above/Below Staves
Max Ldgr Lines
Between Staves
Other Settings
1 21 59 0 1 No accidentals, all labels, 5 sec hint.
2 21 59 0 1 No accidentals, no labels, 5 sec hint.
3 11 69 3 3 No accidentals, all labels, 10 sec hint.
4 11 69 3 3 All accidentals, no labels, 15 sec hint.
5 1 88 7 3 All accidentals, no labels or hint.

Custom Practice

Select any combination of settings. The changes will automatically apply to your next challenge note when you click Next, or you can click Apply Custom Practice. Changing any setting in the Custom Practice area changes the Exercise selection to Custom Practice.

Practice Type (Mode)

MIDI Keyboard Input

These features are beta test versions and have a lot of compatibility issues. The more people who try this, the more information we can collect to hopefully resolve many of these issues. To use the MIDI See-and Play or MIDI Play-and-See modes, you must connect a Musical Instrument Digital Interface (MIDI) keyboard instrument to your computer using the following instructions. 
System Requirements
System Compatibility Problem 
There are unexplained compatibility issues with with some browser and operating system combinations. Here is a table showing combinations known to work (Y). If you have one of these combinations but can't get it to work, the problem might be with your settings or with your Java. If there isn't a Y for your combination, that doesn't mean it won't work - it only means we haven't yet seen anyone successfully use it with that combination. We monitor use continually and add updates to this table periodically. 

Since we use a third party javax.sound.midi package (see below), we are at the mercy of its capabilities and have been unable to diagnose the scope of this problem or determine a solution. If you have information regarding this apparent javax.sound.midi compatibility issue, we would be grateful to hear more about it. 

How to use this feature
  1. Navigate to our practice page, but DO NOT enable the MIDI Keyboard Input option yet.
  2. Connect the instrument to your computer and turn it on per the manufacturer's instructions.
  3. In the instrument's MIDI settings:
  4. In the Custom Practice Mode section of our site, check the MIDI Keyboard Input option, and click Apply Custom Practice.
  5. A small yellow MIDI control panel will appear asking if you agree to our User Agreement. Click Yes if you do.
  6. An alert/confirmation window will pop up. Wait as instructed in the box, then click OK.
  7. A yellow bar will appear prompting you to select an input device from a select list. Select your MIDI instrument. 
  8. A yellow bar will appear with a Next button. Click it.
  9. A yellow bar will appear labeled MIDI Keyboard Input. A text box will have a scan counter which increments from 0 to 9 every second. This indicates that the MIDI instrument is being scanned for input every 10th of a second. The name of the scanned device will appear to the right in brackets [ ]. You can now play your answers on your MIDI keyboard (or, you can still click them on the piano keyboard image). Click the Select Device button to change devices, or the Close button to close the MIDI feature. -
Troubleshooting
Since there is an infinite combination of hardware and software components, we can't ensure this will work for everyone. However, we would like to hear about your success or failure using this feature so we can improve it and pass on potential tips to other students. We will list problems and solutions here as we learn about them. 

The MIDI control bar contains the following diagnostic displays to help you and us determine the cause of problems:

Here is a simplified data flow diagram which shows how a note code gets from the keyboard to our server-side program which then evaluates it and responds as if the keyboard image were clicked.

Note Selection

Select one method you want the system to use to select your challenge notes:

Accidentals

An accidental , also referred to as a chromatic sign, is a musical notation symbol (e.g.: sharp, flat, or natural) used to raise or lower the pitch of a note from that indicated by the key signature. Accidental is also used to refer to the black keys on the musical keyboard. A note with an accidental is sometimes referred to as an altered noted.

Select any combination (or none) of accidentals you want to practice:

Practice Range

If you want to practice on a limited range of the keyboard, select the top and bottom note of your desired practice range. To determine the note numbers for this setting, look at the note-numbers (number-only) below the keyboard image. If no note-numbers are displayed, select the "Note-numbers under keyboard" option in the label section of the custom practice settings and click "Apply Custom Practice" to activate. 

Here are some typical  ranges. Note, you cannot select a top or bottom key that is outside the range of the selected keyboard
 
Range Name Bottom
Key 
Number
Top
Key 
Number
Bottom
Note 
Name
Top
Note 
Name
Bass/F-Clef ("Left hand") 21 42 F2 D4
Treble/G-Clef ("Right hand") 39 59 B3 G5
Grand Staff 21 59 F2 G5
Octaves
Contra Octave 15 C1 (C,) B1 (B,)
Great Octave 16  27 C2 (C - Deep C) B2 (B)
Small Octave 28  39  C3 (c - Low C) B3 (b)
One-Line Octave 40  51 C4 (c' - Middle C) B4 (b')
Two-Line Octave 52  63  C5 (c'' - Tenor C) B5 (b'')
Three-Line Octave 64  75 C6 (c''' - Soprano C) B6 (b''')
Four-Line Octave  76  87  C7 (c'''' - Double High C) B7 (b'''')
Vocal Ranges 
Bass (M) 16 44 C2 E4
Baritone (M) 21 47 F2 G4
Tenor (M) 28 52 C3 C5
Countertenor (M) 33 64 F3 C6
Contralto (F) 33 54 F3 D5
Alto 32 56 E3 E5
Mezzo-Soprano (F) 35 59 G3 G5
Soprano (F) 40 64 C4 C6

Ledger Lines

A ledger line  is musical notation to inscribe notes outside the lines and spaces of the regular musical staffs.  See also How can I practice off-staff notes without octave notation?

Octave Brackets

An octave bracket  is a musical notation to play specified notes one (8va) or two (15ma) octaves higher or one (8vb) or two (15mb) octaves lower than written.

This notation is an alternative to ledger lines, which become difficult to read at over three or four lines. Challenge notes beyond the ledger lines you have selected will be automatically written in octave brackets, with ledger lines when necessary. 8va or 8vb will be used where possible, otherwise 15ma or 15mb will be used.

Labels

You can display labels on the staff and the keyboard to help you locate notes which are new to you. 

Hint Note on Keyboard

If desired, a hint note (  ) will display on the keyboard key corresponding to the challenge note after a short delay. The delay defaults to 5 seconds. Use the Custom Practice settings to select other delays, no delay, or to disable it (No hint note). This is very useful for beginning players who have no prior familiarity with the keyboard layout. When you apply an Exercise, if the hint delay is zero, it is forced to 5 seconds, otherwise the difficulty level is zero. 
System requirements and troubleshooting
We create the hint note delay by using a two-frame animated gif for the hint note. The first frame is blank and displays for duration of the delay. Then the second frame containing the green hint note is displayed. 

For this feature to work, your browser must display animated gifs as they are designed and not de-animate or block them. If the hint note is not displaying properly, here are some things to try: 

  1. Disable any browser feature which limits animated gifs.
  2. Disable your browser pop-up blocker.
  3. It is possible for a hint note gif to be loaded incompletely on one occasion so as to prevent the delay. You may be able to correct this problem by clearing your browser cache so that a fresh hint note image will be reloaded. Search your browser help for "cache" to determine how to clear it.
  4. Some security software may block or stop animations. See here and here
  5. Firefox often doesn't display animated gifs correctly. See here and here
  6. Try using another browser.
  7. As a last resort, you can completely turn off the hint note by selecting No Hint Note in the custom practice settings. 
If you find a solution to a hint display problem, please contact us and let us know so we can add it here for other students. 

Sound

Sound is provided to enhance your practice by helping with ear training  and learning note names. 

Break and Performance Score

Note-Reading Tips and Hints

Note Locations
By examining the relationship of the staff lines to the piano keys, you might make some useful observations:
  • The staff lines, ledger lines, and spaces only correspond to the 52 white piano keys. The remaining 36 black keys are referenced by sharps and flats on the white notes (diatonic scale ). So, most of your work is done when you have learned the locations of the white keys. 
  • The location of C's (keys with dots on image to the left) in the bass staff is a reflection of their locations in the treble staff.
  • The treble clef, also called the G clef, is a stylized G, and the inside tail circles G.
  • The bass clef , also called the F clef, is a stylized F, and the two dots straddle F.
  • Middle C can be represented in two places on the grand staff: one ledger line below the treble clef staff, or one ledger line above the bass clef staff. This example only has room for one ledger between the staves, but the grand staff is often written with the two staves farther apart allowing for more ledger lines between them. 
This practice site doesn't eliminated the need for practicing sight reading on a musical keyboard because true sight reading is performed without looking at the keys and can  therefore only be learned by actually playing the notes. However, this exercise, like flash cards, is very helpful in advancing you toward that goal. 

Note Names
To learn sight reading, it is not necessary to learn the note names  (spelling). Sight readers do not think of the note names as they are reading, just as proficient book readers do not spell out the words in their minds as they are reading, and typists do not think of the letters as they are typing.

However, it is useful to know the names of the notes for other tasks, so name labels are provided for the staff and keyboard to help learn the notes and to help you find the notes on the keyboard when you are just beginning. 

Here are some mnemonics, which are helpful in memorizing the names of the notes:
Location Lines or 
Spaces
Reading 
Direction
Note Names Mnemonic
Above Treble Clef Staff Ledger Lines Up ACEG (1) All Cows Eat Grass
Above Treble Clef Staff Ledger Spaces Up GBDFA (1) Good Boys Do Fine Always
Treble Clef Staff Lines Up EGBDF Every Good Boy Does Fine
Treble Clef Staff Spaces Up FACE The word FACE
Bass Clef Staff Lines Up GBDFA Good Boys Do Fine Always
Bass Clef Staff Spaces Up ACEG All Cows Eat Grass
Below Bass Clef Staff Ledger Lines Down (2) ECAF Eat Cake And Frosting
Below Bass Clef Staff Ledger Spaces Down (2) FDBGE Fast Dogs Beat Giant Elephants
(1) These are for 4 ledger lines, which covers most of the notes you normally encounter. They start with the first space above or below the grand staff.
(2) We created these new mnemonics reading down because it is a lot easier to use them when there are less than four ledger lines showing.

Questions and Answers

This section answers questions and requests students have submitted, and explains known errors and problems. If you have submitted a question, suggestion, or request that isn't already here, check back periodically to see our response. We usually update this within a few days. To submit a question or suggestion, please use the comment box on the practice page, contact us. To see the praise we're getting, please take a look at our Praise section. 
  1. How can I center the keyboard Image?
  2. Why isn't there any sound?
  3. Why is there a loud burst of noise with some notes?
  4. Error: Unable to find acceptable note
  5. Error: Incomplete page
  6. How can I practice with just the left or right hand notes?
  7. This is too hard! How can I make it easier?
  8. This is too easy! How can I make it harder?
  9. Why does the text below the keyboard sometimes flash when I click a key?
  10. How can I remember to practice?
  11. How can I set this site as my home page?
  12. How do I remove the yellow instructions banner from the keyboard?
  13. Is this program available on a CD or to download for offline practice?
  14. Is there a drill for chords?
  15. Why isn't this site referenced in Wikipedia?
  16. Is there a way to use this with my music keyboard?
  17. How can I display just the keyboard without the tabs and labels?
  18. Have you considered introducing double-flats and sharps?
  19. How can I track my progress on an exercise?
  20. I wish the image didn't change so fast after getting it correct...
  21. How can I practice ledger-lines only?
  22. Can you make the grand staff larger?
  23. Some custom selections don't work with some exercises.
  24. Can you add interval reading?
  25. Can you add a way to save my settings?
  26. Can you adapt this site for other instruments, such as guitar?
  27. Are the notes displaying correctly and are the answers registering correctly?
  28. Will this site work with the Apple Mac OS?
  29. Can you make this site more fun, interesting, entertaining, easier to change or understand?
  30. Hint note doesn't delay.
  31. Can you display multiple notes like a measure (bar), section (passage), or piece?
  32. Can I change the results message?
  33. Are their note-name mnemonics for ledger lines?
  34. Can you add other clefs?
  35. How can I practice off-staff notes without octave notation?
  36. Can I use this program on my mobile phone, PDA, or laptop?
  37. How can I show you what my screen looks like?
  38. MIDI Input doesn't work.
  39. Where is Middle C?

How can I center the keyboard Image?

Some users prefer to center the keyboard image in their display so it is more like sitting at a piano and easier to find middle C. Because there are so many different computer setups, it is difficult for us to center the keyboard image in your display. If you prefer to center it, and your display is large enough, here is how to do it:
  1. Click the restore button on the right end of the title bar that displays "Sight Reading Practice..." If there is no restore button displayed, skip this step. (The restore button is similar to the button circled in the image below.)

  2. Move the mouse cursor over the left or right edge of the window. The cursor should change to a double-ended arrow.
  3. Click and drag the edge of the window until the window just fits the keyboard image.
  4. Click and drag the title bar to center the window in your display.
  5. NOTE: If there is no space between the left end of the keyboard image and the edge of the window, and the keyboard appears to run off the display, there may be a problem we should know about - please contact us

Why isn't there any sound?

"Would love to hear some sounds with this exercise!" - Charleston, West Virginia, USA, 1/26/09
"Is there sound at all? - Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, USA, 5/17/09
"The Play note sound with note doesn't work on my machine - using Firefox browser." - St. Charles, Missouri, USA, 3/10/09

When you select one or both of the sound options, one or both of the connections shown below are automatically set up by your computer.


If you aren't hearing your selected sound options, it could be caused by any of the following sound components. Here are some things you can check. 

Browser
A sound problem is probably not a compatibility problem with your browser. It is more likely to be a problem with your audio plug-in or other sound components of your system. Sound options have been tested with Internet Explorer and Firefox browsers using several common audio plug-ins.
Plug-in
Web browsers don't play sound directly. Instead, they rely on multimedia programs that extend their capability. These programs are called plug-ins or add-ons. Some typical multimedia programs are QuickTime, iTunes, RealPlayer, and Windows Media Player. When a sound option is enabled, the default plug-in selected by your operating system for the type of sound displays at the bottom of the practice page. The plug-in shown above is typical but may vary depending on your computer. 

This site has two sound options, each using a different capability of your audio plug-in:

If only one of the two sound options fails to work, your default sound plug-in might not be set up for or capable of playing that type of file. If you are comfortable with multimedia setup, you might try different settings or a different program as your default audio player plug-in. Many computers have several multimedia players installed and available for selection as the default player. Search the Help feature of your computer to learn more about changing the default player.
Mixer
As illustrated above, most computers have a program called an "audio mixer" which provides controls to adjust the relative levels and stereo balance of the various sound sources. If only one of the two sound options fails to work, it is possible that the volume for that sound type is turned down or muted. In Windows XP, the mixer can be displayed by clicking Start > Settings > Control Panel > Sound and Audio Devices > Volume tab > Device volume Advanced button. In other systems, search your Help feature to find the mixer. 
Sound Card
Most sound cards are capable of playing both .smf and .wav files. It is unlikely this is your problem if you can hear sounds from other sites. The settings of the sound card are controlled by the plug-in.
Speakers
Make sure your speakers are plugged in, turned on, and volume up. If you can't hear sounds for system events or sounds from other sites either, it is most likely that your speakers are not connected or adjusted properly, or your master volume is turned down or muted. 

Why is there a loud burst of noise with some notes?

"Sometimes ... the sound is static and scratchy sounding ... Any help would be appreciated." - Raleigh, North Carolina, USA, 12/11/08
"I'm getting a really nasty (and random when it happens) BUZZ!!! sound with Play Note Sound enabled. Really a shame because sound adds so much to the sessions. Firefox 3.5.5, XP SP3, SoundMax integrated High Def Digital audio card." - Sicklerville, New Jersey, USA, 3/23/10

Sometimes there is a loud burst of distorted sound at the beginning of the note sound. This can be caused by the QuickTime Music Synthesizer. If your computer is setup to use QuickTime (or iTunes, which uses QuickTime) to play music, try changing the QuickTime settings as follows:

  1. Make sure this site's Play Note Sound with Note Custom Practice setting is selected and a note has been played.
  2. Scroll to the bottom of the page to the QuickTime control panel, which looks similar to this:

  3. Click on the triangle on the right end of the panel, or right-click anywhere on the panel to display the settings drop-down menu.
  4. Select Connection Speed or Plugin Settings to pop up the QuickTime Preferences window.
  5. Select the Audio tab.
  6. Change the Music Synthesizer Default setting from "QuickTime Music Synthesizer" to "General MIDI."
  7. One user also reported that changing the Sound Rate setting on this tab to "48 kHz" has fixed the problem, but that doesn't work on all versions.
Since there doesn't seem to be a problem with Windows Media Player (WMP), another option for Windows users is to change your computer file type associations to use WMP for playing MIDI files. To do this, run WMP, go to Tools, then Options, then the File Types tab. This tab allows you to set the file types for which you want WMP to be the default player. Check the box by MIDI file (midi), and click OK or Apply.

Error: Unable to find acceptable note

This is usually caused by improper or incomplete information being received by our site. This can happen with a very old or non-standard browser or a misbehaving proxy (relay) between your browser and our site. For example, one proxy in Tokyo sends mouse-click position information in the non-standard parameter "submitted_x", instead of the standard parameter "submitted.x". 

If you are getting this error, please contact us and we will investigate the exact cause for you. 

Error: Incomplete page

This error can occur if you click a form button or the keyboard image before the page has completely loaded on your computer. 
You can often recover from this error by clicking your browser's back button several time and then proceeding from that page. Possible causes:

How can I practice with just the left or right hand notes?

"Should be able to work the scales in just the treble or base clef." - Glen Cove, New York, USA, 4/14/09
"Need beginners bass clef only [and] more bass clef on beginners treble and bass clef exercises" - Maple Grove,  Minnesota, USA, 11/19/09

The so-called right or left hand range is the treble or bass clef. Your practice can easily be limited or expanded to any portion of the keyboard or staff using the Practice Range setting. 

This is too hard! How can I make it easier?

To make your practice easier If there is anything else we can do to make it easier for you to get started, please contact us and let us know.

This is too easy! How can I make it harder?

To make your practice harder: We've included almost every possible notation that could be encountered by even the most advanced player. The Difficulty level is displayed above the staff.  The highest possible difficulty is 376, so if your level is below that, you still have a challenge ahead of you! 

If there is a notation or challenge missing that you would like to practice, please contact us and we will consider adding it. 

Why does the text below the keyboard sometimes flash when I click a key?

Some text below the piano keyboard image flashes when you click the keyboard image or the Next button. This problem comes and goes and we don't know the cause. If you find this too annoying, you can simply resize the window so that the text is not visible without scrolling down. We've also found that, strangely, this problem is sometimes less pronounced when sound is enabled. You can enable the sound in the practice settings even if you don't have your speakers on. If anyone knows the cause or solution to this problem, please contact us

How can I remember to practice?

Like any other skill, the more you practice the faster you will learn. Here are a few ideas on how you can remember to practice:
  1. Plan to practice the same time every day, and fit it in with your normal routine.
  2. Plan a comfortable practice duration so you don't dread it. Set a fixed goal of a specific number of rounds and cards.
  3. Instead of practicing a long time once a day, practice shorter periods several times a day.
  4. Set you browser home page to this site. See How can I set this site as my home page?
  5. Keep a log of when you practice, how long, and the difficulty level so you can see your progress.

How can I set this site as my home page?

You can easily set this site as your home page (the site that appears when you first open your browser) in most browsers. It will then display every time you open your browser, reminding you to practice. 

Some sites have buttons for this, but they are unreliable. We recommend you do it manually. This procedure will work on most browsers:

  1. Pull down the Tools menu. (This is labeled Safari on the Safari browser, View in Explorer 4.0, and Edit in Netscape 6.0, 4.0, and Mozilla.) 
  2. Select Options, Internet Options, or Preferences.
  3. Select the General tab.
  4. Find the section labeled Home Page.
  5. Type http://www.sightreadingpractice.com into the home page box. (You can also select, copy, and paste this with some browsers).
  6. Click Apply or OK to return to browsing. 
For specific instructions for your browser, click your browser's help link or menu and enter "home page" in the index or search box.

How do I remove the yellow instructions banner from the keyboard?

United Kingdom, 12/12/08
"Have to reset each time I restart. How to avoid this?" - Antwerp, Antwerpen, Belgium, 9/28/09

As a result of this question, we decreased presistence of the instructions from three notes to one note. This banner should now only appear on the first card of the first round, that is, until the first correct piano key has been clicked.

Each time you enter the site for a new session, the program has to check to make sure your mouse is calibrated to the image. Otherwise, clicking the piano keys might not give the correct response note. It has to do this with each new session because it doesn't know if you are using the same computer or the same settings on your computer as the previous session. If you plan on having multiple practice sessions in a day, just leave our site open on your browser. If you need to use your browser for something else between practice sessions, instead of using the browser with our site, just open another browser and use it.

Is this program available on a CD or to download for offline practice?

"Can you put this software on a cd so that it can be access offline for a fee??" - League City, Texas, USA, 12/18/08
"Is this Piano sight reading exercise available for sale or download? Thanks"  - Plano, Texas, USA, 12/15/08
"This is a wonderful tool to learn from...the best. However, I have dial up internet connection, which is very slow. Would purchase this product if it were available." - Clarksburg, West Virginia, USA, 12/5/09
"Where do I purchase a copy of this program" - Reston, Virginia, USA, 1/14/10
"It is slow. Offline program would be better - DSL. Moscow, Russian Federation, 1/27/10
"I would be willing to pay for a cd or dvd for home use. At this time I only have dial up internet service, which sometimes causes difficulty using the web-site." - Belington, West Virginia, USA, 2/24/10

Unfortunately, this program is not available for sale or download and will only run on a Web server. We would have to translate the program into another language for it to run on your computer, which would be an expensive undertaking. Therefore, we don't have any plans to offer it for sale in the near future. 

However, since our sight-reading practice program runs on our server instead of your computer, you can practice for free any time from any browser with internet access including many phones and PDAs. You don't have to worry about installation, technical problems, or spyware often associated with free or purchased software and shareware. You don't have to worry about upgrades either since any of the frequent improvements we make become operational immediately on our site. 

Though the inability to use it offline definitely has the disadvantage of being tied to an internet connection and being limited by connection speed, the proliferation of broadband, wireless connection alternatives, and Web enabled phones and PDAs is rapidly eliminating this problem. The trend in applications is toward "cloud computing" like this. 

Is there a drill for chords?

"Can you add chords to these exercises? That would be great, too!!?" - Leesburg, Florida, USA, 5/12/09
"What about exercises for determining chord changes to develop a students ear: the program would play a major chord and the name is given (C, for example). The next chord in a 'progression' is played and the student must determine what it is (say, Gm7). Then the next, and so on." - Leesburg, Florida, USA, 5/19/09
"It would be way cool to have a sight read chord feature." - Jacksonville, North Carolina, USA, 6/23/09
"Is there any way to have practice with full chords, starting with 3 note chords, and moving up?, maybe also interfacing with a keyboard? If I read this correctly, all practice so far is confined to single note practice, thankfully also with a Midi keyobard interface. - Strasbourg, Alsace, France, 11/13/09

We have chord practice on our list of possible future features to explore. This existing single-note drill also improves chord playing, since it provides confidence in keyboard topology (layout), which is the foundation for all piano playing skills. 

Why isn't this site referenced in Wikipedia?

And, "... did you know that the link from Wikipedia's Sight-readingarticle has disappeared?"

As a Wikipedia editor, I proposed and added a link in August 2008. In October, another editor removed it, thus beginning a protracted debate  as to the suitability of the link under Wikipedia guidelines. I rebutted  all of the arguments against the link except the Conflict Of Interest (COI) argument: "you should avoid linking to a site that you own, maintain, or represent — even if WP guidelines seem to imply that it may otherwise be linked. When in doubt, you may go to the talk page and let another editor decide.

I believe a link to this site would be acceptable if: 1) added in External Links section; 2) by another registered Wikipedia editor; 3) who has not been solicited by me; and 4) after it has been discussed on the talk page . A similar debate  occurred regarding a similar link on the Ear training  article and prevailed because the adding editor was not affiliated with the linked site. 

Is there a way to use this with my music keyboard? 

Raleigh, North Carolina, USA, 12/11/08
"Is there any way of hooking the keyboard up to it? - New York, New York, USA, 1/27/09

Yes! Please see the MIDI Keyboard Input help section. 

How can I display just the keyboard without the tabs and labels?

"Would it be possible to have a tick box for a "clean keyboard" which removes the note names, note numbers, and keyboard range tabs?" - Aberdeenshire, Scotland, UK, 1/8/09

This option exists for names, numbers. As a result of this comment, we added this option for keyboard size tabs on 1/8/09. 

Have you considered introducing double-flats and sharps?

Aberdeenshire, Scotland, UK, 12/29/08
Just one little comment - how about adding double sharps and double flats. - Toronto, Ontario, Canada, 2/18/09

Yes, and we will increase the priority if we get more requests for these rare creatures.

How can I track my progress on an exercise?

"It would be great to have the option of keeping a score (percentage correct, 10 out of 15, or some such)."  - Aberdeenshire, Scotland, UK, 12/29/08
In response to this suggestion, on 12/30/08 we added complete performance statistics consisting of accuracy %, accuracy ratio, average response time, and a performance score based on accuracy, speed, and difficulty. 
"Would be nice to get information on our overall progress at a particular level so that we can see we're getting better easily. Those statistics could include average time, success percentage, etc." - Montreal, Quebec, Canada, 1/29/09
This can be accomplished by using the existing Reset Performance Score to manually reset your average response time, accuracy, and performance score when you change exercises or custom practice settings. As a result of this request, we have added to our list of future improvements an option to make this reset automatically occur with a difficulty change. We also have on our to-do list a graph of your performance score. 
"The score and stats at the top of the page disappear on the "break" page - yet this would be a good time to review performance - could they be kept on display? - Aberdeenshire, Scotland, UK, 2/10/09
In response to this suggestion, on 2/10/09 we made it so. 

I wish the image didn't change so fast after getting it correct...

"...Could you make it so that it stays for like 5 seconds after getting the correct answer?" - Atlanta, Georgia, USA, 11/27/08

We can delay sending the next note challenge, but that would also delay the "Correct" message which comes with it. This might be confusing to the student. If we receive additional requests for this feature from other students, we will consider adding this as a user selectable option. If anyone else is interested, please contact us

How can I practice ledger-lines only?

"I've mainly been using the site to improve my ledger line note recognition. My normal practice settings are 5 lines above and below the cleffs (notes 8-81), plus three inter-staff ledger lines. It would be great if there was a toggle switch which ONLY allowed leger line notes within the range to be displayed. Great for those of us who are already confident with the intra-staff notes! - Aberdeenshire, Scotland, UK, 1/5/09

At this student's suggestion we added a ledger-lines-only option on 1/6/09! On 1/26/09, we added exercises which automatically engage this feature. 

Can I make the grand staff larger?

"If the grand staff was bigger or if one could zoom it in and out, maybe this site would be able to fit everyone's vision." - New York, New York, USA, 2/17/09

Yes, on most computers there are several ways to make the grand staff larger. 

Some custom selections don't work with some exercises.

"Even if enharmonics are disabled, the G flat still strikes on the treble key (using exercise #9)." - Paris, France, 3/1/09

When an exercise is applied, it resets some previously set practice settings. However, you can then reapply any desired custom practice setting "on top of" the selected exercise by just making the change after the exercise selection. An exercise applies a preset group of settings as a standard starting point, which you can then modify to meet your needs. 

Can you add interval reading?

"A suggestion for improvement: some exercises could keep track of the previous notes, allowing relative sight reading practice." - Paris, France, 3/1/09

We don't presently have a drill for sight-reading intervals, but we will add it to our list of possible future features to explore.

Can you add a way to save my settings?

"It might be handy, though, to have the custom settings saved in a cookie, so as not to have to reset them." - St. Charles, Missouri, USA, 3/10/09
"The only problem I have with it is that I cannot save my progress." - Corn, Oklahoma, USA, 3/18/09
"It would be great if settings were saved from previous sessions." - Dublin, Ireland, 3/28/09
"I wish the program could remember the midi keyboard from session to session without having to set it up each time." - Sacramento, California, USA, 5/7/09
"Could you add a 'Save settings' button for when I come back later?" - Leesburg, Florida, USA, 5/12/09
"It would be nice if you could keep my custom practice settings between uses, perhaps by using cookies?" - Christchurch, Canterbury, New Zealand, 11/18/09 
"I don't want to accept your cookies. I'd rather be able to bookmark the page with my individual settings...then recall them, similar to an ebay search, etc. Hope that's possible. Thanks." - Denver, Colorado, USA, 4/15/10

Your practice settings are now automatically saved in a cookie on your computer for your future return visit. We have also added a non-cookie alternative to our list of possible future improvements. 

Can you adapt this site for other instruments, such as guitar?

"Has anyone successfully connected a midi guitar   to this program? If so what make, model, etc. Thanks." - Atlanta, Georgia, USA, 5/29/09

Any MIDI instrument (a.k.a. controller) should work with the MIDI feature of this site as long as it sends a standard MIDI code when a note is played, and you have a MIDI driver installed on your computer. Most MIDI instruments come with a MIDI driver on a CD-ROM or downloadable from the manufacturer's site. However, we have only tested it with a keyboard. If you have used our MIDI feature with a non-keyboard instrument, like a MIDI guitar, please tell us the model and we will add it here. 

"Make one with a guitar fretboard to please!" - Hutchinson, Kansas, USA, 4/15/09
"It would be great if you could make this same game but with a guitar neck instead." - Peyton, Colorado, USA, 3/14/10

This seems quite feasible. In fact, we could probably adapt it for any instrument with a well defined planar note topography. We have added that to our list of possible future improvements.

Are the notes displaying correctly; are the answers registering correctly?

"Always wrong note [even when I know it's correct]." - Sacramento, California, USA, 5/7/09

Some system configurations or settings can cause the mouse to send the wrong note. This program has a calibration feature to detect, and in many cases correct, a mouse accuracy problem. 
 

Will this site work with the Apple Mac OS?

"I am running a Macbook 2.0ghz Intel - I can't get the midi to work." - London, England, UK, 5/29/09
"I am unable to get the midi keyboard to work. ... your program/site says it is searching for midi devices but then [doesn't complete searching] .... I run a Mac OSX." - Portsmouth, England, UK, 5/30/09

We have many Mac students, however the MIDI feature will not work on a Mac. See MIDI "System Requirements" for more details. 

Can you make this site more fun, interesting, entertaining, easier to change or understand?

"I hate it ... Could make it a bit more lively or in other [words,] this this is so boring!!!!!! ... this really is confusing if you want to change stuff + it could be more lively!!!! ... very dull only black green red and blue ... more colourful ... smiley faces ... Jokes." - Preston, England, UK, 6/8/09 - 2/9/10
"The page is too cluterred to understand what is expected of users." - Liverpool, New York, USA, 10/31/09

These are great suggestions. We'll add them to our list. If anyone has any specific suggestions, please let us know.

Hint note doesn't delay

"The 5 sec delay has turned in to no delay. Even when I adjust the delay to a 10 seconds, the revealed note appears instantaneously." - Schenectady, New York, USA, 6/15/09

We haven't been able to determine with certainty what causes this problem, but we have determined that it is a problem on the browser side, and not with our program or server. It is caused by the browser not animating the animated gif we use for the delay. We have added more information on this in the hint note help.

Can you display multiple notes like a measure (bar), section (passage), or piece?

"You should put a whole sight reading piece up so we can practise." - Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, 6/25/09
"Hello. May I suggest an additional exercise? Would it be possible to present more then one note at the time, starting with two and then maybe three or four etc.? - Netherlands Antilles, 3/23/10

We have added this to our list of possible future features. There are currently other sites which will generate and print sheets of music for off-line practice, but they don't have the advantage of error correction and feedback.

Can I change the results message?

"My son who is 6 was very upset with the "WRONG! TRY AGAIN" message:) It would be nice to have an option to change it to something more positive..." - Renton, Washington, USA, 8/14/09

We will look in to making the wrong-note message kinder or user setable. We'd love to hear further suggestions and comments. For now, we will change to "Incorrect ..." which is less judgmental and grammatically opposite "Correct."

Are there note-name mnemonics for ledger lines?

"Could you help me with how to memorize the notes that fall above or below the ledger lines. ... Thank you for your help." - Canon City, Colorado, USA, 8/25/09

We have added a complete table of mnemonics to our tips and hints section. 

Can you add other clefs?

"Would you also be able to put the Alto clef and other C-clefs?" - Malden, Massachusetts, USA, 10/14/09
"You should include the Alto clef - I play viola. :)" - Toronto, Ontario, Canada, 11/4/09

Though rare for keyboard, this occasionally turns up in keyboard music such as Brahms's Organ chorales and John Cage's Dream for piano. We have added this to our list of possible future improvements. 

How can I practice off-staff notes without octave notation?

"A lot of sheet music [does] not use the 8va and [15ma], This is where I need the practise. Can I set this so that it show the notes high on the ledger without the use of the 8va and [15ma]?" - Tallahassee, Florida, USA 10/16/09

Set the maximum ledger lines settings to their maximum. Octave notation automatically appears for notes beyond the specified ledger line limit, so to decrease octave notation, increase the ledger line limits. 

Can I use this program on my mobile phone, PDA, or laptop?

"I would like to use this tool on my mobile....how can I get it to work? Thanks" - London, England, UK, 2/5/10

We do not have a special mobile version or app of this site. However, most WWAN or WLAN mobile devices that can access a regular internet site can also use our site. The Play-and-See and See-and-Play modes require only HTML and don't use JavaScript or Java. Most phones with Wireless Internet Browsers (WIB) will probably work. Your device does have to support input tags of type=image, which tells us where you click on the piano keyboard image. Some WIBs don't support this and always send (0,0). If your device doesn't work when you first try it, your device is probably not compatible with the site and can't be adjust to work on it. 

How can I show you what my screen looks like?

1. Save a picture of the screen (a "screen shot") to the clipboard using one of the following methods:
1.1 PC: Press and release the Print Screen key on the top of your keyboard to the right of the F keys.
1.2 Mac: Simultaneously press Shift, Command, and 3, then release all. 
2. Open your favorite image/photo editing application, OR in your Windows Start menu, select Programs > Accessories > Paint.

3. In your image application menu:

3.1 Select File > New
3.2 Select Edit > Paste
3.3 Select File > Save
4. In the Save As dialog box: 
4.1 Enter a name in the File name box.
4.2 Select JPEG in the Save as type box. 
4.3 Save
5. Create a new email message to us, attach the jpg file you created above, and send it to us. 

Where is Middle C?

"One possible improvement would be to offer the option to label middle C only. In going back and forth on the keyboard, sometimes I lose sight of middle C. It would be helpful to have that one note labeled."  - Fond Du Lac, Wisconsin, USA, 8/25/10

To help you find middle C while you are practicing, turn on one of the keyboard labels. The Note-Names label shows middle C (C4) bolded. The Key-Numbers label always shows middle C as key number 40. 

Can you add relative note notation?

"My suggestion is to also print the relative position of the note within the current key (e.g. '4th' would be printed when an F is shown in the key of C). This is of great help to singers: if you know you are singing a 4th, it helps you to hit that note. It is also helpful for jazz musicians, who must be able to quickly identify the function of a note within a scale. In C: C - 1st C# - b2 D - 2nd D# - b3 E - 3th F - 4th F# - #4, or b5 (pick one at random to show) G - 5th G# - #5th or b6 (pick one at random to show) A - 6 Bb - b7 B - 7th (ps jazz musicians would say b9 instead of b2, but I would prefer to keep it simple and forget about b9, #11, etc)." - Spain, 9/21/10

This is an interesting suggestion. We have added this to our list of possible future features. 

Press Releases

News Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

New Web Site for Piano Sight-Reading Practice Builds Grand Staff Fluency

SightReadingPractice.com now offers free online electronic flashcards to train piano players to sight-read musical notes fluently on the grand staff. Skill level is adjustable by selecting the key signature, range, accidentals, ledger lines, octave notations, and labels. Sound aids ear-training and audiation skills.

Eugene, Oregon -- A new Web site (http://www.sightreadingpractice.com) provides free online drills to improve piano grand-staff fluency, a building block for sight-reading. It displays a note on the grand staff for the student to locate on a piano keyboard image. Students can customize their practice to their skill level and specific training needs by selecting the key signature, practice range, accidental use, number of ledger lines, octave notations, and labels. Optional sounds provide ear-training, audiation development, and note-names.

Sight-reading requires skills in pre-reading, remembering, and playing chords, phrases, and patterns. It also relies heavily on intervallic and directional playing, as well as fundamental technical skills [2]. But, these skills all require grand staff fluency: an ability to instantly recognize a note and locate it on the piano keyboard [1]. Paper flashcards teach note identification [1,3] and develop keyboard topography visualization, which improves tactile facility [2,3]. However, paper flashcards have limitations.

SightReadingPractice.com provides much more comprehensive and efficient training than traditional paper flashcards. The site's complete selection of notes, key signatures, accidentals, and octave notations, combine to create over 5500 unique electronic flashcards. An ability to instantly select a set of challenges that focus specifically on the student's level and needs makes practice more efficient, productive, and rewarding. The scope and flexibility of this site far exceeds the capability of paper flashcards. 

Students can select any of 15 key signatures (0 to 7 sharps or flats). The practice range can be set to any number of notes located anywhere on the standard 88 key music keyboard, enabling students to practice their specific weakness range or a smaller keyboard. Students can practice with or without accidental flats, sharps, naturals, enharmonics of natural notes, and courtesy-natural notations. By selecting the number of ledger lines with the practice range, the student can practice difficult off-the-staff notes with up to 7 ledger lines and with octave notations (8va, 8vb, 15ma, and 15mb).

Unlike other sight-reading practice software, students can begin practicing the instant they land on SightReadingPractice.com. There is no need to purchase, download, or install software, and no site registration is required. No setup is required since the site defaults to a beginner level and has five preset difficulty levels for users who don't yet need to customize their practice. 

For more information about this new site and its capabilities, visit the site at http://www.sightreadingpractice.com. This site was developed by Tegus Corporation. 

NOTES

1. Beauchamp, Laura (May 1, 1999), “The 'Building Blocks' of Reading: Suggestions for Developing Sight Reading Skills in Beginning Level College Piano Classes”, Piano Pedagogy Forum (Columbia, SC: University of South Carolina School of Music) 2 (2), www.music.sc.edu/ea/keyboard/PPF/2.2/2.2.PPFgp.html.

2. Hardy, Dianne (May 1, 1998), “Teaching Sight-Reading at the Piano: Methodology and Significance”, Piano Pedagogy Forum (Columbia, SC: University of South Carolina School of Music) 1 (2), www.music.sc.edu/ea/keyboard/PPF/1.2/1.2.PPFke.html.

3. Udtaisuk, Dneya (May, 2005), "A Theoretical Model of Piano Sightplaying Components," Diss. U. of Missouri-Columbia 2005, pp.54-55, edt.missouri.edu/Winter2005/Dissertation/UdtaisukD-070705-D1115/research.pdf.

4. "Sight-Reading," Wikipedia, last accessed 9/18/08, www.wikipedia.org/sight-reading

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As a service to you, we provide links to other resources for piano study, appreciation, and enjoyment. To partially defray our operating costs, some of these links are paid advertisements for resources which are goods or services.

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