Improving Sight Reading Skills with Sight Reading Factory
Keith Ozsvath, Band Director at Rotolo Middle School in Illinois, uses Sight Reading Factory (SRF) to support and enhance his students' musicianship. SRF is a software tool in the MusicFirst suite that generates short melodic exercises for students to play and record on their devices. It allows users to customize key signatures, time signatures, note values, dynamics, and articulations. There are built-in levels of difficulty ranging from very easy to difficult. Ozsvath has found that SRF can also be used with an ensemble in rehearsal by projecting it onto a monitor or TV screen. He has identified three specific ways to incorporate SRF into full band rehearsals: focusing on rhythm only, playing in unison as an ensemble, and playing multipart exercises. In the "rhythm only" method, Ozsvath uses the built-in levels 1-6 to quickly get started with an exercise after selecting the time signature. He can also customize the exercise to include only the rhythms and rests that he wants to appear, such as sixteenth notes, quarter notes, and eighth notes, and select a rhythmic difficulty level. For the "ensemble unison" method, SRF generates a unique melody for the ensemble to play. It includes parts for all band instrument keys and even a snare drum part. He customizes the exercise by selecting the tonality and mode and including or excluding articulations and dynamics. In the "ensemble multipart" method, SRF generates multiple parts with different notes, rhythms, and articulations, providing an extra challenge for more advanced ensembles. Ozsvath recommends using SRF in conjunction with other tools, such as virtual warm-ups to create a comprehensive musical experience for his students.