SightReadPlus — $7.99 *for iPad only*
Update: also check out my short review of SightReadMinor ($4.99).
SightReadPlus is an app for iPad for piano students. The app not only contains thousands of sight-reading exercises, but it also “listens” to the student play on their piano and evaluates their performance based on accuracy of pitch and rhythm. I love this technology! SightReadPlus is a great tool to improve students’ sight-reading abilities, especially in preparation for examinations or adjudications that require sight-reading.
The 4800 sight-reading examples in this app are appropriate for beginning and elementary students. The range of notes in each exercise is limited to major five-finger patterns, and all exercises are either for RH or LH (never together).
The exercises are divided into 10 levels. Level 1 begins with half note and whole note rhythms in 4/4 time, with intervals limited to 2nds. The more advanced levels contain intervals up to a 5th, rhythm values such as dotted quarter notes and eighth rests, and a variety of time signatures (2/4, 3/4, 4/4, and 6/8). The exercises can be played in any key.
The app requires students to sign-in under their names in order for the app to track their progress. After selecting the appropriate level, key, and LH/RH, the exercise is shown on the screen. After finding the right place for their hand, the student presses the red start button. The app clicks off one measure of beats and then the exercise begins. Throughout the exercise, the student will hear the click of the metronome and see a green cursor moving along on the screen beneath the notes. When the exercise is over, the app scores the performance based on accuracy of pitch and accuracy of rhythm. If the students score well, they will see fireworks across the screen and hear sound effects.
I have a few sight-reading books in my studio lending library that I use with students on occasion. When I ask students to sight-read during the lesson, they often stop when they make a mistake — even when I had asked them to keep going no matter what happens. However, when I used SightReadPlus with my students, I observed that my students did not stop when they made a mistake — because they wanted to stay with the metronome and score well at the end of the exercise. This was a great benefit that I had not anticipated. What a great tool to help teach students learn how to become good sight-readers!
The price of SightReadPlus is right when you consider that the cost is comparable to a sight-reading book, but the benefits are much greater. Having a set of leveled sight-reading exercises on the iPad is convenient (especially for mobile teachers, I imagine), but it is also great to have an external entity “grading” the students’ performances and even tracking their progress. You can learn more about SightReadPlus here at their website.
The developers behind SightReadPlus have graciously offered to hold a GIVEAWAY for a free download of this app! To enter the giveaway, leave a comment on this post by midnight EST on Thursday, July 18, 2013 with a tip for helping students learn to sight-read well. A winner will be randomly chosen and announced on Friday the 19th.
Note: I was given a promo code for a free download of this app; however, as always, I write only honest reviews.