At the origin of the Sight-O method, there is Pierre Boutin. He is a conductor, a teacher of Saxophone and Music Theory, and the author of a “Music Theory Method” in 3 volumes used by many musicians... He is also a founding member of the Saxophones de France Quartet (recipient of numerous awards) and a former student of Marcel Mule at the National Conservatory of Paris (CNSMD), that he graduated from in 1966 with a Prize in Saxophone. He is the creator of the Sight-O method and wrote the exercises for most instruments.
A former student of Pierre Boutin, Alexis Maingaud is a composer and conductor, mainly in the field of Cinema. He also teaches Music Theory and Computer Music. He is a lecturer for the CNFPT of Val d'Oise on “New Technologies Associated with Musical Education.” Alexis is responsible for the technical implementation of the Sight-O method, and also oversees its development and growth.
When he was a young teacher, Pierre was extremely puzzled about his students’ shortcomings in sight-reading. He therefore sought to develop a technique that would allow musicians to “read in advance.”
He noticed that the main source of error or hesitation for students when reading a score came from the fact they almost always tried to make sure the note they just played was the right one. Their eyes got stuck on the current note and didn’t keep moving forward. In other words, the student wasn’t reading in advance.
Pierre began making students read exercises by using a sheet of paper to hide the note or notes that the student was currently saying/playing. As a result, the student was forced to read the next notes all the while saying/playing the group of hidden notes. The student had no choice but to read in advance!
It may sound like a simple idea, but this method was extremely effective. Within a few months, his students were making great progress. Some read so fast they could no longer pronounce the notes correctly... They were no longer reading note by note, but globally.
He adapted this technique for instruments, mainly the violin. He received students from Jean Lenert, a violin teacher at the National Conservatory of Paris (CNSMD) and the Schola Cantorum, from Maurice Moulin, a violin teacher and assistant to Gérard Poulet, a violin teacher at the CNSMD of Paris, and other teachers.
Then came other string instruments such as the viola and cello and Pierre realized his method was accessible to all those who need it.
He wrote for all the instruments of the orchestra, taking advice from the most competent teachers for each. From his own experience, he designed the exercises to be adapted to the average progress he observed in his students, which is why there are so many.
Since then, his method came a long way: after first being adapted into CD-ROM (!), it is now an online app, Sight-O.