What is in a Day:

Each day of practice in Read Ahead is designed to be completed in under 10 minutes and consists of 3 phases: Warm-up, Read Ahead, and Sight-reading exercises.

Phase 1: Warm-up exercises

The warm-up exercises prepare you for challenges found in the 3 pieces you will read each day.

Touch exercises introduce you to jumps, and patterns. You should learn to feel your way around the keyboard by practicing these exercises without looking at your hands. Make sure you continue this practice when you move on to the Read Ahead exercises.

Memory exercises help you learn to flash memorize the music and then play it back without looking at the score. You will go through a passage from one of the daily pieces playing one measure at a time in a call and response fashion. You can adjust both the tempo and the amount of time you have to see the music.

Find the hardest setting you can do using the introductory loop on the settings page and then press start. The goal for when practicing these exercises is to become more efficient in decoding and memorizing music; you may benefit from trying the same exercise several times gradually increasing the difficulty and/or tempo.

Phase 2: Read Ahead

There are two Read Ahead exercises each day. These are complete pieces where the music disappears on the down beat of each measure, compelling you to read ahead of where you are playing. This is the most critical ability for developing fluency in sight-reading. As you improve, you may find yourself glancing several measure ahead in places. It may take you a while to become comfortable reading ahead, in which case you should practice this skill by repeating an exercise more than once.

Preview: Read Ahead exercises always begin with a preview or pattern game, some previews are followed by a quiz. Learning what to look for quickly before you begin is an important part of being successful at sight-reading. In addition to getting set up to begin playing, you should try to ascertain the character of the piece and any tricky spots you may encounter. So be sure to look at the whole piece, not just the first few measures. Pattern games are a different sort of preview where you are asked to find and tap certain parts of the score such as changes in hand position, beginnings of phrases, patterns found in the piece.

Exercise: After previewing the piece you set your tempo. We suggest an ideal tempo for each piece but give you a range to choose from. For pieces in common time you can choose to have half or a whole measure disappear at a time. If you choose half a measure, try going back and setting it on a whole measure for a second run through to force yourself to read larger chunks at a time.

Variations: Some Read Ahead exercises give you an option to play a variation afterwards. This is usually the same piece in a different key or meter. The variations don’t have disappearing music but they give you an opportunity to practice reading ahead on your own while offering a different view of the same musical material. This allows you see the same challenges in very similar context and help your brain cement what you are learning.

Phase 3: Sight-reading

At the end of the day you are given one sight-reading piece where the music is fixed. You should try to apply the techniques just practiced but without the iPad guiding you. If you are doing it right, you should find your self reading ahead when you are practicing pieces you are learning too. Improving your sight-reading skills should help you learn pieces faster so don’t forget to practice sight-reading at least 3-4 times a week.