Sight Singing:


When singers sight read, it is often called sight singing.

Sight Reading and Singing are the terms used for the ability to read and sing a piece of music previously unseen and unrehearsed. Relating the look of the notes on a score into their recognized audible sounds. Many vocalists sing by ear and never find the need to learn to sight read, but 'Session' and 'Classical' Singers will need to be able to read sheet music on first sight.

A competent sight reader can use his skills to learn songs faster, deputies with any band and gain session work with producers and studios so it's definitely worth learning and regardless of the form of singing you choose, learning to read and sing music can be fun as well as useful!

The ability to sight read partly depends on a strong short-term musical memory. An experiment on sight reading using an eye tracker indicates that highly skilled musicians tend to look ahead further in the music, storing and processing the notes until they are played; this is referred to as the eye-hand span

Storage of notational information in working memory can be expressed in terms of the amount of information (load) and the time for which it must be held before being played (latency). The relationship between load and latency changes according to tempo, such that t = x/y, where t is the change in tempo, x is the change in load, and y is the change in latency. Some teachers and researchers have proposed that the eye–hand span can be trained to be larger than it would otherwise be under normal conditions, leading to more robust sight reading ability.

Sight reading also depends on familiarity with the musical idiom being performed; this permits the reader to recognize and process frequently occurring patterns of notes as a single unit, rather than individual notes, thus achieving greater efficiency. This phenomenon, which also applies to the reading of language, is referred to as chunking. Errors in sight reading tend to occur in places where the music contains unexpected or unusual sequences; these defeat the strategy of "reading by expectation" that sight readers typically employ.

How to sight sing:

  1. Learning how to sight sing starts with learning the musical notes and knowing how read them. You have to hear them with your ears, so that you can duplicate them by singing, or by your voice. A piano or keyboard is necessary so that you can hear and play, and learn the scales, and how different they sound when played as a sharp or as a flat.

  2. Practice playing each note, and concentrate on how it sounds. Continue to play, ending up by closing your eyes, so that your ears can hear them and can concentrate on them without sight.

  3. Constant practicing will train the brain to reproduce what the ears hear. It is similar to learning how to type, by not looking at the keyboard, we teach our brain to lead our fingers to each individual key. Therefore, it is our brain that is learning, while our ears hear. Realize that many voice students, who only study singing intervals, can lead to them not being able to use proper intonation. it is also important to be able to look at any melody, and immediately be able to hear inwardly how it sounds.

  4. Studying only the notes of the scales is not enough to learn to be able to become a good vocalist. It is very important to learn the scale in both major and minor. Learn to hear the rhythm or beat. For a student who wants to learn at home, there are many good books that can teach. It is very helpful to own a keyboard or piano to practice with.


  • The system uses one syllable per pitch, regardless of note-name, making it by far the easiest sight-singing system to learn

  • The result is that one learns how to sight-sing any style of music, from ancient to modern, from simple to complex.


  • Learning to sight sing requires patience and right kind of practice. Be careful to choose a system that that will grow with you and won't restrict you to simple tonal music.