Read Ahead - Level 4
Read Ahead is a complete 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. The Online Academy features the first section (Section A) of each level. For more information and to download the app, visit readaheadapp.com
This section of articles features Level 4A from the Read Ahead syllabus and provides suitable sight-reading material for students studying repertoire at the advanced level (approx. Associated Board grade 6-7). The materials are best used in conjunction with the free Read Ahead iPhone app, which provides supplementary exercises, quizzes, and metronome settings.
How it works
The pieces in these articles can be read on your screen, or printed out. In either case, the experience will be greatly enriched with the inclusion of the Read Ahead phone app. Each article constitutes one day or practice session. The exercises on each day are identified in both the article and the app with the following icons:
|Touch exercises introduce patterns or technical issues that will be encountered in that day’s practice.|
|This icon indicates a Memory exercise. Touch it on the corresponding day page in the app to practice a passage while training your short-term memory and decoding skills.|
|Read Ahead exercises are complete pieces of music for sight-reading. Instructions, quizzes and tips on how to read them more effectively can be found in the app along with a built-in metronome preset to the correct tempo for each piece. In the iPad app, the music disappears in advance as you play, forcing you to read ahead.|
|The Sight-reading pieces have fewer suggestions for study, encouraging students to think independently and apply the strategies and techniques they have learned.|
Students are encouraged to use the app timers on the Touch and Sight-reading exercises so they can keep track of time spent practising. The My Progress page displays this and other useful information about your sight-reading practice. Teachers can also follow their students’ progress by signing up for a free Read Ahead teacher portal account.
Each lesson can also be downloaded and printed for use at the keyboard.
Suggestions for Practising
The aim of sight-reading is to play a piece you have never seen before as well as possible the first time you read it. For this reason, it is essential to spend a few moments studying the piece with your eyes before playing it. As you play, try to keep a regular pulse, and don’t stop to correct mistakes. As you improve, you will be able to avoid looking down at your hands, and you will start to read ahead of where you are playing. If your sight-reading of a piece was not as good as you would have liked, make a mental note of what could have gone better, and play it a second time. Don’t continue to practice the pieces however, because then it is no longer sight-reading.
When you have finished a section, your teacher may suggest repeating it or reading some supplementary material before going on to the next section. Teachers may wish to consult the following description of each section’s contents when deciding which section is best for a particular student.
Resources & further links