What is the course about?
An introductory course for those with little or no previous knowledge, covering the basics of music theory using the ABRSM/Trinity Grade 1 syllabus. Practical exercises in class in conjunction with written homework will increase your understanding of musical language and notation.
This course is scheduled to prepare students to sit the Grade 1 exam. Please contact the music office ([email protected]) if you would like to sit your exam at Build, which is an ABRSM Theory exam centre. ABRSM theory exam dates are usually towards the end of each term and published online here: https://gb.abrsm.org/en/exam-booking/exam-dates-and-fees/ all grade exams are available each term.
What will we cover?
- rhythmic values for notes and rests from semibreve to semiquaver, including ties and dotted notes
- time signatures of 2/4, 3/4 and 4/4
- barlines and the grouping of rhythmic values within bars
- pitch names on treble and bass clefs
- sharp, flat and natural signs and their cancellation
- construction of major keys (C, G, D, F): scales, scale degrees, intervals above the tonic, key signatures, tonic triads
- the most commonly used musical terms and symbols.
What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...
- read, write, hear, clap and play/sing simple rhythms in 2/4, 3/4 and 4/4
- read and write pitch on the treble and bass staves
- read, hear and write music in simple major keys (C, G, D, F)
- understand the most commonly used musical terms and symbols
- answer questions on a Grade 1 theory music exam paper.
What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?
You need to be familiar with the basic symbols of music notation, but no previous experience of music theory is needed. This course is designed for students who have already started learning an instrument or voice.
You will need to follow written and verbal instructions in English, engage in class discussion and practical exercises, take notes in English and write staff notation.
How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?
Tutor presentation and explanation, written and practical exercises (clapping, singing, playing) written exercises, tutor feedback, class discussion.
Written homework between sessions will help you practise and consolidate what you learn in class.
Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?
You will need manuscript paper, pencil and eraser, notebook and pen.
Please buy and bring to class:
ABRSM Guide to Music Theory Part I (covers Grades 1–5) (c.£7) [external] This book is used for reference during grade 1-5.
(c.£4) [external website].
When I've finished, what course can I do next?
This course leads to Music theory: grade 2
Study of music theory is greatly enhanced by our Practical musicianship courses.For more details about musicianship and music theory please visit our blog: Musicianship and music theory at City lit which lists our full sequence of musicianship and music theory classes.
General information and advice on courses at Build is available from the Student Centre and Library on Monday to Friday from 12:00 – 19:00.
See the course guide for term dates and further details