Choir Classes using Sign Reading Factory

Grants in Action | 2022/2023 School Year

An $800 grant from Perrysburg Schools Foundation launched a pilot program in choir classes in grades 5-12 this past school year. Sight Reading Factory is a digital, on-demand sight-reading platform designed to help build music-reading skills for students.

“Sight reading is the ability to look at a piece of music and you are able to sing or play it with little to no preparation,” explained Shelvin J. Burns, M.M.Ed., Assistant Director of Choral Activities, Perrysburg High School. “This skill of music literacy is extremely important for musicians. Every day when students come in, there is an 8-24 measure melody on the screen. Students are then given a few minutes (or seconds, depending on the level) to look through the passage and figure out the solfege for the melody. After time is called, the students then sing through the excerpt.”

“Having access to this program is greatly improving students’ ability to identify notation and prepares them for the next level of the choral program,” explained Joel Hamilton, Choir Director, Hull Prairie Intermediate and Perrysburg Junior High Schools. “The students’ confidence with sight reading is improving as well. The differentiation that is possible with this program is phenomenal.”

“Sight Reading Factory is already making a huge impact on my classroom,” shared Mr. Burns. “Not only have I noticed a big difference in my students’ music reading ability, but it has also already demonstrated its effectiveness, specifically when starting a new piece of music and when being evaluated at Large Group Contest.”

Large Group Contest is one of the highlights of the year for music ensembles. They prepare three pieces to perform for a panel of adjudicators and must participate in a sight-reading component. “All three of our concert choirs received superior ratings, which is the highest possible rating, in sight-reading at Large Group Contest this past March. Some credit definitely goes to Sight Reading Factory for helping us prepare,” Mr. Burns stated. “It has also been very nice to assign sight reading progress checks for students to complete at home, which helps their skills stay fresh, even when not in class.”

The Perrysburg Schools Arts Council is charged with suggesting areas of funding from the Perrysburg Schools Foundation and its Campaign for the Arts that supports the visual and performing arts through student discovery, student experience, program growth and program sustainability.