Progressive Sight Singing

Progressive Sight Singing

Progressive Sight Singing

Progressive Sight Singing


Ideal for undergraduate courses in aural skills,Progressive Sight Singingintroduces students to the underlying grammar and syntax of musical structure and prepares them to perceive that structure with both the ear and the eye. Working from the premise that students learn musical skills in much the same order as they do language skills, this book employs a unique pedagogical structure that introduces the concept of sound before sight. It trains the ear first--through hearing and imitating patterns--teaching students to hear and perform before they read and write.


• Extensively and successfully class-tested at colleges and universities nationwide

• Adds only one new element per chapter and incorporates components from previous chapters into examples and exercises, thereby continuously reinforcing learned skills

• Integrates a rich variety of well-paced, graduated exercises covering rhythmic and melodic reading, dictation, audiation, musical memory, and error detection

• Encourages students to actively participate (sing, chant, write, create, improvise) in the practice of each concept in order to become skilled musicians

• Offers instructors great flexibility in that they can use the tonal and reading systems they prefer; the appendixes provide a brief overview of each system

• Packaged with an audio CD that includes rhythm and tonal patterns introduced in the book; this connects the eye to the ear and helps student hone their aural skills

• Supplemented by an Instructor's Manual that expands upon the pedagogy underlying the book, offers solutions to the exercises, and provides additional exercises and teaching tips


Progressive Sight Singing is designed to help beginning students develop rhythmic and melodic reading skills in aural skills classes. Whether students are novices and need basic instruction or have considerable background in music but need remediation to fill in gaps, they will find in this text the information they need to read with accuracy and fluency. Through carefully paced instruction and exercises, the text introduces concepts in a sequential manner and limits explanations to the essentials, thereby increasing the likelihood of students’ success in attaining requisite aural skills.

The material in this text is a synthesis of my formal education and my experiences teaching musicianship skills to students of various levels and orientations: singers and instrumentalists; music education, performance, composition, and conducting majors; and middle and high school choral and theory students. The skill level of the majority of the students I encountered was surprisingly weak. Those who had prior knowledge and skills were missing crucial elements and were not truly independent musicians. To address these needs, I developed materials based on learning theory concepts that would facilitate the development of independent, literate musicians. The text has been successfully class tested at a number of institutions nationwide.


The book is divided into two sections: Part I presents rhythmic exercises only, and Part II presents melodic exercises. The two sections, which each contain 18 chapters, are designed to be used concurrently over a two-semester course sequence. The separate presentation of rhythm and melody allows each to be studied at a pace that suits the abilities and backgrounds of a particular class or course schedule.

Chapters follow this sequence: Building Aural/Oral Skills, Symbolic Association, Patterns, and Exercises. These sections reflect the literacy process incorporated in the book, a process based on the pedagogy of learning sound before sight before theory. This process is briefly outlined in the Music Literacy Process that follows the prefaces.

Building Aural/Oral Skills

Each skill or concept is introduced through the ear and voice by imitating patterns, the basic unit of meaning in music. Part II also contains vocal-pitch exercises (intervals, scales, chords, and so on) designed to develop the ability to hear the tones as scale degrees in relation to the tonic pitch and tonic chord tones (Reference Tones).

Symbolic Association

Sounds learned by rote in the first section are translated into musical symbols. Chapters in Part II also contain staff-familiarization exercises to aid in connecting the ear to the eye.


Tonal and rhythm patterns prepare the ear and eye for reading the “new” element or skill. Melodic patterns are included when a “new” rhythm element is integrated into a tonal element.

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