Learning to sight read music can be a challenge for many beginner music students, but it’s an essential skill that musicians must know. Fortunately, in our age of technology, there are a number of games and sight reading apps that you can use to help increase your proficiency. The following list of games for musicians and music notation apps vary in price, but offer effective ways to improve your skill.
So, if you’re looking for ways to improve your sight reading ability, give these options a try. Don’t worry if they are designed for an instrument other than you play, this list includes both treble and bass clef sight reading games and fun challenges that you can do practically anywhere you have your mobile device.
Key Features to Consider
Since there are plenty of sight reading options out there, before you choose a few to use, you should know the best features that are included in the most effective learning tools. Look for systems that offer:
- Printable music—The more the better. When learning to read music on sight, you need to have a variety of new music to look at, and if possible, be able to write on. This feature won’t be available on downloadable apps, but be sure to check for this when choosing a software tool.
- Interactive abilities—With traditional sight reading techniques, you basically had to learn without being able to interact with the music. However, new methods have all sorts of ways to interact with the program, which makes it a more effective learning tool. Basically, the more you can interact with the game or app, the faster you’ll develop the skill.
- Analytics—This is just the ability to track your progress and create music designed to strengthen areas where you are weak. And although it might not seem like a big deal, the power to analyze your progress will have a huge impact on how quickly you learn.
Apps and Games
Sight Reading Mastery is a software program that students can use to improve their music reading skills. It is highly effective and features interactive recording, lots of new music created by composers just for the program, and an easy way to track your progress; and it includes an app to help with note recognition. You can start a free trial for this software, but after one-week, it’s $19 per month for students.
Music Tutor Sight Read Lite is a fun Android app that allows you to play sight reading games that improve your ability. This free download includes quizzes that challenge music students using a “read” or “write” staff, as well as a “timed mode that shows various notes across the screen. You can also enable the “learn” mode, which is untimed. The touch screen interaction makes this a great method for training your sight reading skills.
Music Sight Reading PRO is another Android app, but this one does cost a whopping $0.99. However, for that price, you get over 40 sight reading lessons that incorporate rhythm values and not recognition. The lessons are categorized by colors for easy access. You interact with the game by touching your screen to the correct answer as the notes scroll across the viewer. This makes it easy to build your sight reading skills swiftly.
Music Tutor Free (Sight Reading Improver) is an iOS app, designed to work with iPhones and iPad. Although this app is free, it will include advertisements, but if you like it (and hate the ads), you can download the paid version, which is only $1.99. This app is simply a fantastic tool for learning to sight read music. With fun challenges, accuracy ratings, and personal scoring this is one of the best games for musicians.
NoteWorks Free is also an iOS app that is designed with fun visuals that are especially appealing to young music students. It’s the player’s job to help the character, “Hungry Munchy” devour notes off of the treble clef staff. If you don’t identify the note in time, a fire blaster consumes it. The graphics on this app are excellent, and the sound effects and MIDI Note reading options help students learn to sight read very quickly. This app is really perfect for any age student who wants to improve. Plus, the full ad-free version is only $4.99 for your iPhone or iPad.
Learning to sight read music doesn’t have to be a painful or boring experience. By trying out some of the best games for musicians, you can improve your ability in no time.