Music theory: grade 1
Time: 11:00 - 12:30
This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
Course Code: MG451
Duration: 5 sessions (over 5 weeks)
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.
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?
- 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?
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?
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 ZOOM 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 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.
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.