6) Practice sightreading at least once a week, if it’s not already part of your routine.
There are few tricks to getting better at sightreading. You just have to do it; preferably with a metronome. I like to pick something that is a little easier than the hardest thing I am capable of, so don’t go pulling out the Hohe Schule and expect glory. I like Lee’s Melodious Studies, anything Schroeder, maybe some Dotzauer. Pick a medium sized section, set the metronome to a non threatening pace, observe the key signature and scan the page for exciting things like accidentals, key/meter changes, rests, and most important, zesty rhythms. Even if you don’t know how a rhythm should sound, the key is starting each measure on time. If you are able to do just that, you may unintentionally play complex rhythms correctly. Do not let yourself stop or go back to correct anything! This is sightreading, and it is a different skillset to sharpen. My students can all repeat my mantra on this one: It is more important to know where you are in the piece than play the right notes. The wrong note in the right place is infinitely more relevant and welcome in an ensemble than the right note in the wrong place. It is after all, still wrong, with the additional bonus of not knowing where on earth the rest of the ensemble is.
Hope everyone is having a wonderful Christmastime. This morning I had to scrape ice from my car and let it warm up!