Peggy Otwell – Clavier Companion Magazine – January/February 2019

Truly fine sight-reading materials are hard to come by. When you have only thirty to forty-five minutes to juggle all aspects of a student’s music study, what’s needed is a quick, efficient solution. Kristine Gore’s Minibooks Music Reading Series is just that – an efficient way to include weekly sight-reading exercises in the lesson plan.

Playing monotonous exercises can quickly become routine and uninspiring. Enter Gore’s Minibooks! They are exciting, motivating, brilliantly sequenced books that can be used by beginner-through-intermediate pianists.

The sheer brilliance of the reading sequence is a tribute to Gore’s insightful and thoughtful creativity, plus her canny instinct for knowing how students learn to see and understand notated music. The short note patterns build upon the previous page’s note sequence and lead into the next page cleverly and naturally. Reading becomes fluid, and pattern recognition is reinforced.

In short, Gore has found a delightful way to make sight-reading an almost addictive challenge for students. Each reading segment is very short, logical, and, therefore, attainable. That is the key. Students feel capable because they see only a few notes at a time, and speedily turn the pages to find out what comes next. Gore’s Minibooks are like the best video games: you need to focus on the task at hand and rely on rapid eye-hand coordination and response. You feel super-motivated to keep going through a book because the rewards are within your grasp – or at least within reach. And the reward is to go on to the next level. Cue the endorphins!

Since my students use the Minibooks only at their lessons, the books are even more intriguing and special. They routinely beg me to work in these books! With great anticipation, they plead, “Can I do the Red Books today, please?”