What is the course about?
A course for those with knowledge of the basics of music theory. Using the ABRSM Grade 2 syllabus, you will increase your knowledge and understanding of musical language and notation through practical exercises in class in conjunction with written homework.
This course may be used as preparation for an external ABRSM music theory exam. City Lit will not be hosting ABRSM exams during this academic year, 20-21.
- Music theory grades 1-5 are available as online examinations only
- Music theory grade 6 and upwards are available as paper-based exams at ABRSM exam centres (government guidance permitting)
For latest information from ABRSM, including theory exam dates/fees, please click: https://gb.abrsm.org/en/exam-booking/exam-dates-and-fees/ [external website]. All grade exams are available three times per year, and we recommend you sit your exam the term after your course finishes.
This is a live online course. You will need:
- Internet connection. The classes work best with Chrome.
- A computer with microphone and camera is best (e.g. a PC/laptop/iMac/MacBook), or a tablet/iPad/smart phone/iPhone if you don't have a computer.
We will contact you with joining instructions before your course starts.
What will we cover?
- Subdivision of the beat into triplets
- Time signatures of 2/2, 3/2, 4/2 and 3/8, including the grouping of rhythmic values within bars
- ledger lines on treble and bass clefs
- keys of A, Bb and Eb major
- the construction of minor keys (A, E, D): harmonic and melodic scales, scale degrees, intervals above the tonic,
key signatures, tonic triads
- 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 rhythms in 2/2, 3/2, 4/2 and 3/8
- understand and apply triplet rhythms
- read and write pitch in treble and bass clefs, up to two ledger lines above/below the stave
- read, hear and write music in major keys up to three sharps / flats
- read and write music in simple minor keys (A, E, D)
- understand the use of melodic and harmonic minor constructions
- understand commonly used musical terms and symbols
- answer questions on a Grade 2 theory music exam paper.
What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?
You will need to follow written and verbal instructions in English, engage in online 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?
This is an online course you will need your own copy of the course text-book (see below) and a computer or tablet with a webcam, microphone and reliable internet connection to take this class. We use GOOGLE CLASSROOM to share messages, documents, audio and video files and for you to submit any homework tasks. We use GOOGLE MEETS for live classes via webcam.
Your tutor will use a variety of techniques:
- tutor explanation and demonstration via webcam / shared screen
- short revision videos and/or audio files (posted in Google Classroom)
- worksheets (posted in Google Classroom)
- group performing and individual demonstration tasks (e.g. clapping rhythms).
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 website]
ABRSM Music Theory in Practice Grade 2 (c.£5) [external website].
When I've finished, what course can I do next?
This course leads to Music theory: grade 3
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.