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Super Sight-Reading Secrets: An Innovative, Step-By-Step Program for Musical Keyboard Players of All Levels Paperback – May, 1986

3.8 out of 5 stars 28 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

A pianist's main asset is to be a good reader. This book will be an invaluable asset toward that goal. -- Delores Stevens, Pianist/Artist-Teacher

All pianists can benefit and some will experience the transformation into 1st-class sight-readers - something they may have thought was an impossibility. -- Leonid Hambro, Concert Pianist/Teacher, New York

His ingenious exercises cannot fail to help people become better sight-readers. -- The California Music Teacher, Vol 10, Number 2

I've used it in the studio, on tour, and in playing classical music. -- Vonda Shepard, Recording Artist for Reprise Records

It is elegantly simple yet comprehensive. -- Todd Winkler, Professor of Music Theory and Solfege, California Institute of the Arts

It present a series of progressive drills that help all keyboard musicians overcome their weaknesses and develop into better sight-readers. -- Piano Guild Notes, Vol 36, Number 2

Richman has gone a long way toward de-mythologizing the process of sight-reading. Highly recommended. -- American Music Teacher Magazine, September/October, 1988

Thank you for providing piano educators with a most useful tool. -- Jeanine M. Jacobson, Assistant Professor, Piano proficiency class for piano majors, California State University, Northridge

The drills and lessons are well thought out, and sincere application of the material he presents will improve a pianist's sight-reading ability. ...his enthusiastic encouragment to all struggling sight-readers keep this method from being dry and tedious. -- Clavier Magazine, July/August 1989

From the Publisher

Most sight-reading books simply offer sheet music to sight-read. Instead, this is a text that explains actual drills to do that will give you the results you want.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 48 pages
  • Publisher: Sound Feelings Publishing; 3rd Revised edition (May 1986)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0961596309
  • ISBN-13: 978-0961596309
  • Product Dimensions: 11 x 8.5 x 0.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,011,128 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Robert E. Welcyng on April 6, 2004
Format: Paperback
I am embarrassed that I actually bought this book of 48 pages without first examining it. I found no "super sight-reading secrets." In fact, I found nothing about reading music that I had not already learned from grade school music classes.
I did not find the following sort of advice especially useful:
"Get a book of all major and minor scales. Begin practicing all 24 major and minor keys."
"Play every note of the Bach Chorales hands alone, without looking, one octave displaced."
I was able to follow much of Richman's text only because I recognized what he was trying to say. I found little clarity in his writing and I was annoyed by his many ungrammatical sentences.
My advice is to buy an old standby such as "Learn to Read Music" by Howard Shanet.
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Format: Paperback
This book has a gimmicky title and a cheap price, but it fails deplorably on several fronts. For one, the lay-out and print quality are absolutely embarrassing considering the times we live in. One of the few musical examples actually looks as though it were rendered by a dot-matrix printer. Further, the unrealistic exercises are ambiguously described and seldom illustrated. They are also a complete waste of time since one is better off sightreading real compositions. That's why it's better to invest in sheet music/ etudes that suit one's tastes. The Musician's Institute Sightreading for Keyboard book is far more helpful and complete at a comparable price, offering several chapters of exercises and etudes without making ludicrous promises--very professional indeed. There is really no substitute for practice; forget the nonsense of "secrets" and invest elsewhere.
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By Andy on October 24, 2004
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This "book" is more like a short document you could download off the internet. There are hardly any exercises in the book. The author asks you to exercise on other artists works using various methods. The whole book could be summarized on one page if you ask me. Also, half the book is dedicated to teaching you how to read music. Having played piano for 20 years, this half of the book was just wasted paper.
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I play piano for a choir, and recently bought this book to improve my sight reading.

The method here uses a simplified counting method which breaks the music down to its essence and gives me a lot more confidence in playing trickier pieces with syncopated rhythms etc. It certainly makes it possible to pick up the piece a lot more quickly, and does improve the speed and accuracy of my reading. So, I find it to be a very good book.

It is a short book which I think is good, the drills are short and easy to run through, especially with practice. Some of the later references in the book are a little confusing, and the book could be better organized.

This book does not have all the answers, which is why I do not give it the full 5 stars. It is good value for money. Most people should be able to improve their sight reading using this book.

It is well worth the small amount of money I paid for it here on Amazon.

I also haveMusic Reading For Keyboard: The Complete Method (Musicians Institute Essential Concepts) book which is more about the theory of sight reading, and does have some examples in different styles of music and rhythms to work on. If you are looking for a definitive sight reading book the Steelman book is better. Yet this book has insights and techniques which are very useful. I would not be without this book
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By A Customer on February 27, 2002
Format: Paperback
This book has helped me (and continually does) with sightreading. I have a rock/jazz background - with little classical training unfortunately. Although he is a classical pianist and teacher, his exercises are just as effective for contemporary music. One small gripe I have is with the layout of the book - a little disjointed I thought - but it's not enough of a problem to detract from the full 5 stars. The exercises are very direct and one is inclined to keep at it as they don't take up hours on end. Just make sure you practise regularly - like anything of course. The exercises do work. I can read a lot better than I have ever done. Another good book for rock/pop players is Larry Steelman's 'Music Reading for Keyboard'.
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Format: Paperback
The best thing about the book that I found is that it presents the ideas and drills in bite-sized chunks. The general idea is "just do it and see" rather than long-winded abstract statements which leave one feeling that one needs to be a genius in order to sight-read. Unlike some other books with titles involving "super secrets", this book never presumes to show a "short-cut to success" that needs no practice. But, rather, it teaches a very efficient way to practice.
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Format: Paperback
"A minute to learn, a lifetime to master"

As an autodidact who cultivates the art of learning "skills" one thing I've concluded is that true skills don't require a lot of information to learn, but rather a lot of actions to perform; a lot of work. The description of the work is simple, although you can fill books with it if you'd like, but the practice that develops the skill is the major part of the learning. Like Pareto's principle, skill is 5% explanation and 95% perspiration. Every multi-linguist agrees, for example, that you learn more from 5 minutes of conversation than two months and 25 pages of your high-school language course.

Great books for learning skills are exactly like Mr. Richman's book: very few words, very few pages. By finding the right components to the skill there's no need for long description. Each exercise sounds deceptively simple, but when you try, you realize that you cannot do it well. When you simply do each exercise perfectly before moving to the next, the result is astounding. Although the book is so thin, the exercises so few, it will probably take a year to go through it - even for the person who already plays by looking at the keyboard.

The funny thing about the disappointing reviews here is that the title IS misleading. There are NO 'secrets' to sight reading, and it's obvious that many of the reviewers were looking for them. Instead, being excellent at sight-reading requires practice, and this book offers the best practice and the best way to implement it: "Secrets to LEARNING sight-reading." I have the feeling that the reviewers who complain about the length would be offended with my handmade version of the Hanon exercises, with the first in its entirety and the remaining described in two bars each, all on one page.
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