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Musicianship & Music Theory courses at Build

Story added 20th Jun 2018

Steve Reich - Clapping Music (1972)

Musicianship: essential skills for all musicians

Whether you are learning saxophone, piano or studying to be an opera singer you will have noticed that there are some universal skills all musicians need. Some of these skills relate directly to the Western music notation system (e.g. staff notation, major and minor scales) and some are universal (e.g. the ability to maintain a constant, steady pulse as you play music). These underlying issues are all part of what we call musicianship.

Our musicianship classes are designed to target important fundamental skills which apply to all musicians and singers. In our classes you will develop your musicianship skills by humming, clapping, singing, writing, moving and listening. Through this wide variety of musical-contexts, we will take you away from day-to-day instrumental/vocal concerns and focus on the universality of musical language.

Each course covers but essential topics through an immersive approach: for example in Musicianship 2: bass clef, scales and rhythm you won’t just learn to identify and write scales, you will learn to clap them, hum them and hear the differences between them. This will help enormously when you return to your instrumental/ singing practice: not only will you read music more fluently but you will hear it in more detail and spot recurring textures and patterns.

The Build range of Musicianship courses

There are also specialist courses in Jazz musicianship:

We also offer substantial year-long courses on Jazz harmony (entry via assessment):

We also offer composition classes:

 

Music Theory: A systematic approach to learning western staff notation, with (optional) exams

Music theory is a systematic approach to learning how to read and write in Western staff notation. At City lit we follow the ABRSM exam syllabus for grades 1-8 and the Trinity Syllabus for the diploma topics. You don’t have to sit the exams if you don’t want to, but if you do decide you would like a certificate to recognize your learning them we offer the chance to sit exams here in college. Each exam incurs an extra fee. Click here for current ABRSM exam fees. Click here for current trinity diploma exam fees.

If you are taking practical exams on your instrument, you will know that you need to take Music theory: grade 5 in order to take grade 6 practical (or higher). So this system of exams is widely used by many teachers and colleges; they are recognised qualifications.

Theory grade-levels are cumulative: so if you are joining the programme part-way through, please read the course outlines carefully as each separate course assumes knowledge of all the topics in the previous grades. E.g. if you enrol for Music theory: grade 5 then we will assume that you know and understand all the topics in grades 1, 2, 3 and 4! As ever, if you are not sure of your current level then book an advice session and we will show you some past-exam questions to help you choose the right level. 

TextBooks: please note that many of the theory course outlines list specific exercise books which you are requested to buy and bring to class for your own use (due to music copyright). Tutors will supplement these books with their own handouts, presentations, worksheets and exam-style questions as needed during the course.

 

The Build sequence of Music Theory courses

Please note, for Grade 6+ courses we strongly recommend that you attain a confident grade 5 practical level on your main instrument before taking this course. We also recommend that you have basic keyboard skills (if your main instrument is not piano) so that you can play some of the chords and harmonic progressions as you learn how to write them.

you may also like to consider:

 

Professional Development

Please also consider our programme of Professional & Personal Development For Musicians to find courses such as:

Courses for teachers:

And music technology courses such as:

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