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Academic Advantages of Music ~ A Simple Music Sight Reading Checklist Music has been shown to have great academic advantages, especially for children. Learning to play an instrument stimulates the neural pathways helping in other ways, including reading and math.You may wish to improve your music sight reading simply to get better at reading music. Or it may be that you are preparing your child or student for an instrumental exam. It is easy to use an app to improve your sight reading and you can go through the basics easily. There are several musical elements that you can work out about the music before you even start playing. By identifying these, it will ensure that you have a clear idea of how the music sounds in your head before you play the first bar. Key Signature If the key signature has one sharp, it will ALWAYS be an F Sharp. If the key signature has one flat it will ALWAYS be a B flat. The sharps and flats appear in a key signature in the same order. This order is F,C,G,D,A,E,B. The order of the flats is B,E,A,D,G,C,F. This is known as the circle of fifths. So for instance, if there are three sharps showing in the key signature at the start of a score, they will always be an F, C and a G sharp. Apps such as Toonia Jelly and Rututu can help younger children learn music theory such as key signatures. Time signature A 2/4, 3/4 and 4/4 time signature always has the strong beat on the first beat of the bar. However, if you are looking at a 6/8, 9/8 or 12/8 time signature, there is no dominant beat. Before you start playing tap out the beat at the speed that you want to play. A metronome or sight reading app can help you with this. Dynamics Dynamics make the musical world go round. Those louds and softs are so important. If you are taking an exam, identifying the dynamics on the score will pick you up valuable extra marks. No matter your choice of instrument, playing with expression will make the music more interesting both to you to play, and also to the listener. Put the right finger on the right note This might seem like an obvious point to make, but it is essential. Look for the small finger numbers on the score first and establish what finger you need to start playing with. Then work out the note that you are playing. Remember in the treble clef, middle C sits just under the stave with its own little ledger line through it. In the bass clef, the C that is an octave below middle C sits in the second space from the bottom of the stave. Use these as markers and remember that each note consecutively sits one on a line, one on a space, one on a line etc. Like learning to read, learning to read music takes practice. If you do a little every day, even if it just five minutes, you will improve. Learning a musical instrument is of huge benefit, it helps children develop physical coordination. It can really improve social skills and teach valuable traits such as patience and dedication. Academically, it doesn't just help musically but helps with many other subjects, particularly math and logic. Using an app to boost this learning can help make learning music great fun.