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Ipad App review: Wessar Sightread4Piano
This innovative and educational iPad app has been developed by Dr Christopher Wiltshire, who is a respected pianist, teacher and adjudicator. The app is produced in conjunction with several of the main music exam boards, with material available which relates directly to their specific syllabuses. It is also useful for those not following an exam-based learning path. An ABRSM specific version of the app is also available, with more extensive coverage of the Associated Board’s syllabus.
Available as a free download, which contains a limited number of sample exercises, users can then purchase more examples suitable for their needs. Although these are relatively expensive compared to the usual ‘in-app’ purchases, the material is of a high standard and perhaps comparable in price to buying printed material.
The technology is used well; the pianist is instructed to read the music directly from the iPad screen, and following a timed preview period - such as would be given during an exam - a metronome gives a pulse as the music is played. The tempo can be chosen by the player, allowing for a gradual increase in speed as skills are developed. A sound indicates the start of the playback, and each time the duration of a bar elapses, the bar disappears from the screen, so the player has to keep going and cannot dwell on mistakes or hesitations. This is an excellent tool for maintaining the tempo during performance, and will serve to give the student an awareness of any inconsistencies in speed. I would love to see, in a later version, an option which allows the player to develop their skills at reading ahead, by removing notes a beat or two before they are due to be played. The ability to read ahead, and to develop short term memory in this way, is extremely useful for fluent sight-reading, and would be a very welcome addition here.
The screen colour can be changed to green for the ease of dyslexic users, and a flashing metronome option is also available for users with hearing difficulties.
This is a well thought out app, which has undoubted educational use. It takes away the idea of sight-reading as a tedious chore and makes it more interesting, good fun and perhaps even an entertaining part of daily practice.
The app is currently available for piano, but versions for other instruments are in the pipeline. I very much look forward to having the opportunity to try out a version for flute on my students as soon as it is available. Highly recommended.

Carla Rees


































































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