Music theory: grade 1
Time: 09:30 - 10:30
Location: Keeley Street
Course Code: MG445
Duration: 8 sessions (over 8 weeks)
Please note: We offer a wide variety of financial support to make courses affordable. Just visit our online Help Center for more information on a range of topics including fees, online learning and FAQs.
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 Grade 1 syllabus. Practical exercises in class in conjunction with written homework will increase your understanding of musical language and notation.
This course may be used as preparation for an external ABRSM music theory exam.
- 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
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.
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 sample Grade 1 theory music exam paper.
What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?
This course is designed for students who have already started learning an instrument or voice so you need to be familiar with the basic symbols of music notation, but no other previous experience of music theory is needed. It is expected that you will already be learning and instrument/voice whilst taking this class.
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?
You will need your own copy of the course text-book (see below).
Your tutor will use a variety of techniques:
- tutor explanation and demonstration
- 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 your own copy of:
Discovering Music Theory, The ABRSM Grade 1 Workbook (c.£7) [external website].
When I've finished, what course can I do next?
This course leads to Music theory: grade 2
You may wish to support your learning through a focus on reading, writing and hearing music and musical patterns. 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.
Edward Henderson is a composer and performer from South London. He studied at Cambridge and Trinity Laban, where he won the Director's Prize for Composition. He co-directs composers’ collective Bastard Assignments, which presents shows in London and across Europe. His theatre pieces "Manspangled" and "Hum" have been performed at Second Movement's Rough for Opera night and the Tête à Tête opera festival, and his piano piece "Milk 2" has been performed in Europe and in Sydney. His "Tape Piece" opened the 2015 London Contemporary Music Festival, and his performance piece "Totally" featured at the 2016 Internationale Ferienkurse für Neue Musik in Darmstadt. Edward teaches at City Lit, Morley College and Trinity Laban, and runs inclusive community choirs for Certitude.
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.