Music Theory

As instrumental and vocal skills progress, development in music theory and musicianship becomes increasingly important in helping students to perform with greater sensitivity, understanding and confidence.

Beginner music theory students work from the ABRSM Piano Star Theory book which contains various fun exercises and stickers - particularly suitable for young learners. Students pursuing this popular theory workbook are usually provided with two pages of short exercises to complete for the following lesson.

Pupils undertaking ABRSM grades in music theory explore Music Theory in Practice and the newer Discovering Music Theory workbooks for grades 1-5, alongside The AB Guide to Music Theory Part 1 textbook by Eric Taylor. When the workbook for the relevant grade is finished a series of past papers must then be completed and passed by the student before entering the exam. To provide a more candidate-friendly experience, ABRSM have moved the assessment of Music Theory at grades 1 to 5 to an online exam. Pupils undertaking ABRSM Grades 6-8 in music theory pursue each Theory Workbook for the relevant grade in conjuction with Part 2 of The AB Guide to Music Theory and additional materials such as published scores and recordings.

A longstanding ABRSM benchmark is that a pass at grade 5 or above in Music Theory must be obtained before candidates may enter for grades 6, 7 or 8 practical exams. This also applies to performance exams at these grades.

Please note that all music theory work should be completed in pencil. A mechanical or propelling pencil such as the Rotring Tikky 0.7 is the most suitable choice for drawing musical notation and available from Amazon or specialist art retailers. Manuscript paper designed by Dulwich Piano Lessons is made available to all music theory pupils in A4 10-stave and 12-stave formats as a PDF file to print, however manuscript paper published as a 12-stave pad by Faber Music is also a suitable choice.

At grades 6, 7 and 8, each music theory exam consists of five extended questions, which are very different in construct when compared to the grades 1 to 5 ABRSM Music Theory syllabus. The first three music theory questions at grades 6, 7 and 8 centre around Creativity in Harmony and Melody, whereas questions four and five relate to Music in Context. Both of these sections are equally weighted and carry a total of 50 marks each. The final grade awarded is an aggregate total of marks achieved across the whole music theory exam, and candidates do not have to pass both sections in order to achieve the overall qualification.

For details regarding current vacancies and all other enquiries relating to music theory lessons, please email Steve at Dulwich Piano Lessons: contact@dulwichpianolessons.com





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