Read Ahead is a comprehensive sight-reading curriculum based on high-quality music, carefully graded and supplemented with a wide variety of exercises to help instill the habits essential for fluent reading.

Level 3a contains pieces at the early intermediate level, and provides suitable sight-reading material for students studying repertoire at the late intermediate level (equivalent to ABRSM grades 4-5). This material is best used in conjunction with the free Read Ahead phone app, which provides supplementary exercises, quizzes, and metronome settings.

The Online Academy will feature the first section (Section A) of each level. For further material, the complete levels (Sections B & C) are available from Amazon as a printed book, the Apple App Store as an iPad app and will also be published in eBook format at the Informance store. For more information and to download the app, visit

Click here to find out more about how it works and for the Level 3 material.

About the Authors

Ken Johansen

Ken Johansen has been on the faculty of the Peabody Conservatory of Music at Johns Hopkins University since 2002. He teaches keyboard skills including sight-reading, keyboard harmony, and score reading to piano majors. Johansen holds degrees from the Johns Hopkins University Peabody Institute and the University of North Texas. Johansen trained extensively in the pedagogical tradition of Nadia Boulanger in Paris, France. Johansen has given concerts and lectures across the U.S. and France and has written articles for American Music Teacher, Piano Journal, Clavier, and Piano and Keyboard.

Travis Hardaway

Travis Hardaway began teaching at the Peabody Conservatory of Music at Johns Hopkins University in 2004. Hardaway holds a Doctor of Musical Arts in composition and music theory from Boston University. His compositions have been performed at national venues including Ozawa Hall at Tanglewood and the Aspen Institute. He has also worked as freelance audio engineer and editor for clients including NBC, Local Color, and Sound Mirror. Over the past two years, Hardaway has focused on cognitive science research on deconstructing musical learning processes.

Resources & further links

  • Click here to find out more about how it works and for the Level 3 material.
  • Click here to download companion mobile app for Apple iOS or here for Android.
  • Read Ahead - Complete iPad app on Apple iTunes
  • Read Ahead - Level 3 Complete Paperback Amazon
  • Read Ahead - Level 3 Complete eBook (Coming soon!)


How to Find the Tempo When Sight-reading:

How do we find an appropriate tempo for a piece of music we’ve never seen or heard before? Sometimes the title can help, particularly in dances (Minuet, Waltz, Gigue, etc.), but only if we have already played quite a number of pieces with those titles. The tempo markings above the... Read >>

Tags: practising, sight reading

Day 1

Warm-up: C and G Major Five-finger Positions Play these exercises without looking down at your hands: Memory Exercise Click here to download mobile app for... Read >>

Tags: practising, elementary, sight reading

Day 11

Exercise in Parallel Sixths This exercise helps you to focus your attention on the lower staff. The right hand follows the left hand, moving in parallel motion a sixth higher. Exercise in Parallel Tenths... Read >>

Tags: practising, elementary, sight reading

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