MUSIC THEORY is the study of the elements of music – how they are formed, how they are set down on paper, and how they can be creatively combined. Whilst learning to read music is not easy it is essential training for the all-round musician. Many instrumentalists who "pick it up" through their playing soon discover gaps in their knowledge. Anyone wishing to proficiently play a musical instrument should consider learning music theory as well. A firm understanding of the fundamentals upon which music is based will pave the way for your musicianship and other key skills as your practical playing ability progresses.
Theory Lessons provide a complete course from level 1 to grade 8 and there are different examination boards available for qualification purposes.
For beginners up to Grade 4, music theory is incorporated into the lesson. Grade 5 and above requires much more intense study and I would suggest that separate lessons dedicated solely to this subject are highly recommended.
EXAMINATIONS AND THE ASSOCIATED BOARD OF THE ROYAL SCHOOL OF MUSIC. ABRSM
The ABRSM is the leading recognised examination body in the UK and worldwide. Accordingly this is normally the examination board I would recommend but I will assist with any other governing body if an alternative is preferred.
Exams are split into two types namely, Theory (reading, writing and composing music etc.) and Practical (your ability at playing any particular musical instrument) - both are scored from levels 1 to 8. Please see the heading for ‘Piano Lesons’ for more information on achieving even further exam success on the practical side.
Grade 5 theory has a special importance for music students, who must achieve this standard before they can proceed to the higher grades on the instrumental side. In other words passing grade 5 theory is obligatory if you wish to progress to practical exams at level 6 or above playing ANY musical instrument.
The theory syllabus for grades 6 and above are necessary for a career in music but apart from that are still well worth taking, especially for students wishing to take music beyond GCSE level.
HOW LONG WILL IT TAKE TO LEARN?
Grades 1 to 4 theory exams are not obligatory however they are necessary to achieving and taking grade 5 theory exam. Obtaining grade 5 theory level will typically take anything from one to three years, dependant upon study, ability to learn and determination.
Music theory is a universal language and enables players of different instruments, abilities and cultures to connect and collaborate. If you are considering pursuing a career in music, the study of theory should be high on your agenda.