Music theory: introduction to score reading

Course Dates: 28/04/25 - 14/07/25
Time: 16:30 - 18:30
Location: Online
Tutors: 
Learn to navigate music scores and analyse basic structures. Learn to identify stylistic characteristics of music from different periods of music history, suitable for developing your understanding of music in its historical context, and to support the style identification elements of grade 5+ ABRSM exams. NB: this course has a scheduled breaks on 5th & 26th May 2025.
This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
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Full fee £229.00 Senior fee £183.00 Concession £160.00

Music theory: introduction to score reading
  • Course Code: MG449A
  • Dates: 28/04/25 - 14/07/25
  • Time: 16:30 - 18:30
  • Taught: Mon, Daytime
  • Duration: 10 sessions (over 12 weeks)
  • Location: Online
  • Tutor: Selena Kay

Course Code: MG449A

Mon, day, 28 Apr - 14 Jul '25

Duration: 10 sessions (over 12 weeks)

Any questions? music@citylit.ac.uk
or call 020 4582 0412

Please note: We offer a wide variety of financial support to make courses affordable. Just visit our online Help Centre for more information on a range of topics including fees, online learning and FAQs.

What is the course about?

Through study of scores and listening to recordings develop your understanding of the stylistic hallmarks of musical styles and periods in Western classical music. Learn the key features of Baroque, Classical, Romantic and 20th Century musical periods and develop confidence in differentiating between styles and key composers (which forms an important strand of the Grade 6+ theory exams).

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.
- Earphones/headphones/speakers.
We will contact you with joining instructions before your course starts.

What will we cover?

- Rhythmic and melodic characteristics from the different style periods
- Understanding musical textures and how they evolved over music history
- Understanding tonality and its context within different style periods: especially in terms of structure (eg. Sonata form)
- Background social and cultural context for changes and developments in musical styles
- Developments in instrumentation and the effect on other elements of music, e.g. dynamics, expression.

What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...

- Identify the style period of a piece of music from key features in the score
- Identify the style period of a piece of music through aural analysis
- Have more confidence differentiating the different elements of music (rhythm, phrasing, tonality, dynamics, etc.)
- Have a broader understanding of instruments in historical contexts
- Have greater confidence with style identification questions in ABRSM theory and aural exams.

What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?

Suitable for anyone with knowledge of music theory at Grade 5 standard or higher. You will need to be able to read music fluently (treble and bass clef) and have some confidence with the structure of major and minor scales and chords (e.g. do you know what is meant by chord I and chord V in G major?).

How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?

Sessions will comprise combinations of lecture, discussion, quizzes, guided listening, video and score study. Course materials (handouts, scores, links to online videos) will be shared via google classroom.
You will be encouraged to do extra reading outside class.

Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?

Please bring a pencil and eraser for annotating the scores provided by the tutor, and some manuscript paper.
Many scores will be sourced from IMSLP.org and links will be posted on google classroom. So you may work with your own laptop/tablet if you prefer or use the printed handouts in class.

When I've finished, what course can I do next?

This course is an excellent introduction to score reading for anyone studying music theory at higher levels (Grade 5 and above. You may wish to progress to higher-level Music Theory classes, Studies in counterpoint, Composition Techniques etc. You may also be interested in City Lit's Music history courses, or one of our wide variety of practical courses in singing or playing an instrument.

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.

Selena Kay Tutor Website

Selena began her musical career as a composer, gaining a Dutch Government scholarship to study at the Royal Conservatory, The Hague with Louis Andriessen. As a student she won numerous prizes including BBC Young Composers, resulting in a commission for the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra and BBC Radio 3 broadcasts. She has wide musical interests ranging from Renaissance counterpoint and the origins of tonality to twentieth-century composition techniques and electronic music. Selena performs in an experimental electronic music duo KOGG with Cerys Hogg. They create music by sampling vocals, sound objects, and home-made instruments, combining composed and improvised material. They have performed live and are producing an album. Selena has a keen interest in music pedagogy, particularly the social and cognitive benefits of music education, and is a specialist Kodály practitioner. She is also advisor in further education for the British Kodály Academy. Selena holds BMus (Hons), MMus and PGCE degrees, has held positions at Goldsmiths and Middlesex University and currently teaches at City Lit and Morley College.

Please note: We reserve the right to change our tutors from those advertised. This happens rarely, but if it does, we are unable to refund fees due to this. Our tutors may have different teaching styles; however we guarantee a consistent quality of teaching in all our courses.