Freebie Friday: Another round of free sight reading exercises!

The stuff of nightmares . . .

I’m getting obsessed with getting my students to sightread, so I imagine these types of posts will just keep coming for awhile.

But let’s make it more interactive, in order to get access to these two free exercises, comment below and answer the following questions:

1. Do you work on sight reading in your lesson?

2. What resources do you use to practice sight reading?

3. How important do you think regular sight reading is? 

4. Say something random about your feelings about sight reading!

I realize this might seem like a big ask just to get two easy exercises, but the point is to start a conversation to see what we can learn from one another. So please participate!

Once you’ve made a good faith effort at commenting, I’ll probably just email you the exercises, but maybe i’ll figure out a better way. Let’s just see what happens.

Oh, and HAPPY HOLIDAYS!!! I was thinking about leaving you with a snowman, but since we don’t get snow down here, this is what I’ve come up with:

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Freebie Friday: 4 Beginner Sight Reading Pieces

Sight reading

I know that sight reading is probably the last thing on everyone’s mind in the midst of all the Christmas music you are rapidly teaching and performing BUT I’m going to share these anyway because I’ll likely forget if I wait.

My usual m.o. for teaching sight reading skills is usually to write something geared toward that student in the few minutes before the lesson begins. Then, I present it to them and give them between 1-4 minutes to “study” the piece without playing it. Usually, I’ll give them prompts or hints for potential tricky spots without directly pointing them out (e.g. watch out for hands together parts, or look for any tricky rhythm). Then, I let the student attempt it and we discuss what they missed and what they did well and how they might use that knowledge to improve. Of course, the thing with sight reading is that it takes lots of practice but each piece has to be different so it takes lots of pieces.

Well, I’ve decided to start methodically writing the pieces and assembling them in a sort of progressive packet that students can use so that I don’t duplicate my work. And I’ll be sharing those pieces with you over the next few weeks.  So here’s the first installment.

Louisiana Music Teachers Association

The pieces in this installment are geared to match the Louisiana Music Teacher’s Association’s Rally syllabus for sight reading. These fall into the Prep A criteria with maybe some slight variances. For the syllabus Prep A (grades 1-2) requirements, see p. 10.

sight reading

Example of Sight Reading freebie; pardon my handwriting!

You can find them, as per usual, on my website here.

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Freebie! Simple interval identification flowchart and accompanying online quiz


Teaching my beginner students intervals, I often find that they want to count the lines and spaces for each interval rather than looking at the patterns of how these intervals look.

In an effort to retrain one of my students, I came up with this handy flowchart to help her approach the answer correctly, using the method I’d like her to learn. So now, I’m going to share it with you lucky people.

A note: This chart only addresses generic 2nds, 3rds, 4ths, and 5ths (not major, minor, perfect, etc).

You can get the flowchart here.  Below’s a preview.

music theory flowchart

After I get the student to understand the ins and outs of the flowchart, I give them this easy online exercise (and they can use the flowchart to work the problems.)

Here’s the link.  It’s customized by me to only include the relevant intervals, so you’ll need to bookmark the link to have the same quiz each time. Or you can always customize it yourself, but who wants the extra work, right?

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Halloween worksheet on . . . dah dah dum “the devil in music”


As many of you may know, the tritone (aka augmented fourth or diminished fifth) has always had some spooky connotations. (For those of you who aren’t so familiar with its history and are interested, you can read about here and here

Listen to a classic example of the use of the tritone in this great animated version of Danse Macabre by Saint-Saens.

Teach your students about this interval using this very simple free worksheet. It’s written so that it can be used by students who aren’t ready to know about diminished and augmented intervals, instead discussing only whole steps.

Halloween music worksheet

Added bonus (or a little lagniappe as we say here), I created a tritone ringtone  (nice, hunh?) and I’ve shared it on my facebook page. Look for the tab with the pumpkin.  Once you click through, you should be able to download the ringtone.

To round out the lesson plan, I’m assigning my student a composition activity that let’s them use the tritone to make an eerie Halloween song.  I’ll share that worksheet in the next day or so.

Sorry for sharing so late!  Hope you enjoy.

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Free piano concert tonight at Tulane @8pm

Here are the program details:

Newcomb Dept. of Music Presents

Pianist Andre Ponochevney

Monday, October 20th- 8:00 pm

Dixon Hall-Tulane University

Free admission


Domenico Scarlatti, Six Sonatas                                                                                     

  1. D Minor K 213
  2. E Minor K198
  3. C Major K487
  4. B Minor K87
  5. E Major K531
  6. A Major K24


Sergey Prokofiev,    Sonata No.7 in B flat major, Op. 83                                                          

  1. Allegro inquieto                
  2. Andante caloroso                                                                                   
  3. Precipitato


Nikolai Medtner:

3 Fairy Tales:

A minor op.51 No.2 ; E flat major op.26 No.2 ; B flat minor op.20 No.1

Alexander Scriabin:

Sonata No.4 in F sharp Major, op.30

Pyotr Tchaikovsky:

Lullaby in a Storm from 16 Songs for Children, Op.54 (Transcription by Arcady Volodos)

Sergei Rachmaninoff:

Andante from Cello Sonata (Transcription by Arcady Volodos)


Prelude in D Major, Op.23 No 4

Prelude in G major Op.32, No 4

Prelude in G sharp Minor, Op 32 No. 12

Prelude in B flat Major, Op. 23, No 2

Pianist bio:

Andrey Ponochevny – Bronze Medal Winner of the 2001 International Tchaikovsky Competition, 2002. In addition, he has won many top prizes including 1st prize at the “Tomassoni Internatl. Competition in Cologne”, Germany, top prizes in Prague, Warsaw, Dublin, Moscow, Hong Kong Latvia, Alexandria and New Orleans, LA.

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Free Halloween worksheet pack from!

I just happened upon this bundle from in my inbox this morning.

halloween worksheets

It’s a great assortment of beginner music theory worksheets for children. I printed them all out and am going to assemble a worksheet packet that my students will work through up until Halloween. Kristin (the lady behind the packet) gives great suggestions for how to make these exercises extra fun for kids. I’m especially looking forward to the rhythm dictation worksheet called “Knock, Knock Trick or Treat.” If the student “knocks” correctly, they get the treat.  I know my students are just going to eat that up (literally and metaphorically.

Rhythmic dictation

Fun new ear training worksheet for practicing rhythmic dictation. Kids listen and then fill in the missing measures.

Anyway, serious thanks to Kristin.  Here’s a preview of some of the sheets and links to get them (click on image).

My students LOVE these kind of worksheets. I’ve shared a few of my own making, but these are really great:

Halloween worksheet

My students often don’t get enough consistent practice drawing the treble clef sign and grand staff. It’s my recent resolution to focus on this more, so it’s great to have a Halloween-themed way to bring it to them this month!

Halloween worksheet

Ear training, despite how vital it is, often gets put to the side in lessons – there’s just too much to teach in one hour, once a week. Definitely going to use this to make sure my students get a well-rounded music education.

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JK. We decided to stay here.

I know I said we were moving, but wordpress called us back. So just ignore that moving thing we mentioned here.  Note: posts that were made on our website are still there.  Maybe one day I’ll move them here, but in the meantime, check there for content too.

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