TTTV018: Everything But The Pieces (Part 1) with Sam Coates: Sight Reading & Aural Tests

reading aural sam coates

reading aural sam coates

In the third podcast of the exam series, I’m joined by Sam Coates to discuss everything but the pieces. Sam Coates is the author of the ‘BlitzBooks‘ series which blitz through sight reading & theory, and I’m so excited to have her share her tips and tricks for teaching sight reading and aural skills.

Sight reading & aural tests make up a small portion of the marks in most exam systems, but they can cause a lot of stress for some students. Many students want to spend all their time working on their pieces, and don’t see the value in sight reading. However, any accompanist or church pianist will tell you that sight reading is one of the most valuable skills you can possibly develop as a pianist.

Aural tests can similarly cause anxiety if they’re not prepared for fully. The singing portion can be especially troublesome for a shy or embarrassed student. Sam has some great suggestions for dealing with these self confidence issues by starting from music that the student is already familiar with, and working out from there.

Whether or not you have students preparing for exams, I think you’ll really enjoy today’s discussion on these crucial musical skills.

In this episode, you’ll learn:

  • Why you should be making sight-reading a priority
  • What makes someone a good sight-reader
  • How to convince your students that correct rhythm is more important than correct notes
  • How to use an integrated approach to aural skills
  • Why you should start ear-training from the repertoire

Items mentioned in this podcast:

Today’s sponsor: ABRSM


Are your students struggling with their aural skills?

ABRSM is an exam board that supports the teaching and learning of music in partnership with the Royal Schools of Music. Its award-winning Aural Trainer app for iOS devices offers an exciting way for students to practise their aural skills.

Through a series of interactive challenges, pupils can learn to identify and describe musical features and differences quickly and accurately. They can gain feedback on their answers and keep track of improvements. Students can practise exercises in any order, as often or as little as they’d like, anytime and anywhere.

Aural Trainer covers all of the elements of ABRSM’s aural tests for their Grades 1 to 8 exams, including sight–singing and echo tests. There are two versions of the app: Aural Trainer 1 to 5, and Aural Trainer 6 to 8 which is new! Free copies of each app are available to download so you can try a few exercises before you upgrade.

ABRSM offers a whole suite of digital resources to develop general musical skills and knowledge and help with exam preparation.

Thank You for Tuning In!

There are a lot of podcasts you could be tuning into today, and I’m grateful that you’ve chosen mine.

Being a full-time teacher myself, I know how busy teachers are and how much time, effort and passion we put into our students. Sometimes, the last thing we want to do in our time off is listen to more piano teaching stuff! So, well done for using this time for self-improvement.

Whether you’re at the gym, on the bike or in the car, I know that you and your students will get lots out of what you learn in the long run. Just make sure you try out some of the ideas before they get lost in the business of your next lessons.

If you enjoyed today’s show, please share it by using the social media buttons on the left of the page.

Also, kindly consider taking the 60-seconds it takes to leave an honest review and rating for the podcast on iTunes. Reviews areextremely helpful when it comes to show’s ranking and you can bet that I read every single one of them personally.

Lastly, don’t forget to subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, to get automatic updates every time a new episode goes live.

Do you include sight-reading and aural in every lesson?

Do you find that everything but the pieces gets left until just before the exam? How do you get your students to consistently practice these essential skills?

Your ultimate teaching resource

subscribe to the
Integrated music teaching podcast

Are you ready to revolutionise your teaching?

Join the world's largest
creative music teaching membership

contact us

Reach out to learn more about our multi-teacher memberships