This new curriculum was developed to address lack of good sight-reading skills in many advanced pianists. It is based on research findings of a University of Queensland project that compared three different approaches to sight-reading training (accompanying, rhythm and style) and combined these into a single course. The new curriculum underwent two trials in four institutions and was refined following staff and student feedback. The students using this hybrid program had improved significantly in their sight-reading skills on completion of training.
The course consists of 10 weeks of materials that can be utilised in small-group tutorials or individual piano lessons. The curriculum can be used as a stand-alone elective course in sight-reading or as supplementary materials for keyboard skills or accompanying classes. Each week focuses on three areas: rhythm training, solo repertoire in four mainstream musical styles and duet playing. The pieces consist of examples from the traditional repertoire and are greatly varied in style: using artistically rich examples is a deliberate strategy, employed to increase student engagement with the process. The chosen works utilise a wide range of keys to address impact of key difficulty on sight-reading as highlighted by research. The level of difficulty is pitched 2-3 grades below advanced to correspond with typical sight-reading materials used by examining bodies.