Read Ahead - Level 1


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.

Level 1A contains pieces and suitable sight-reading material for students studying repertoire at the elementary level (Associated Board grades 1-2). 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

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 practicing. 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.

Level 1 - Section A

Included in this section:

  • Five-finger positions in C major, G major, A minor, E Phrygian, F Lydian
  • Texture: alternating hands; drones or held notes in one hand; parallel octaves, sixths, and tenths between the hands
  • Meter: 3/4 or 4/4
  • Rhythms: quarter, half (dotted half in 3/4) and whole notes
  • Length: 8 - 16 bars
  • Dynamics, phrase and articulation marks


  • Click here to download companion mobile app for Apple iOS or click here for further information regarding Android version development.
  • Read Ahead - Complete iPad app on Apple iTunes (Click here for instructions)
  • Read Ahead - Level 1 Complete Paperback on Amazon
  • Read Ahead - Level 1 Complete eBook - click here to purchase and get 20% off the standard price of £8.99!
  • Read Ahead - eBook Bundle (Levels 1 - 3) - click here to purchase an eBook bundle featuring levels 1 - 3 and save a further 20% off the discounted bundle price of £22.99!
  • Read Ahead - Other levels on the Online Academy - click here for level 1, click here for level 2, click here for level 3 or click here for level 4.

Subscribe for full access!

Get full access to this content in addition to our growing library of over 1000 articles, videos and other resources for as little as £13.99 per month or £119.99 a year. Click here to sign-up or click here to find-out more (click here to sign-in to view this page if you are already a subscriber).