School-age or adult, anybody wanting to take ABRSM grade 6+ practical exams needs grade 5 theory.
Whether you’re studying for a GCSE, A level or degree in music, you may feel you need some extra support, with Bach chorales or figured bass, for instance.
It’s a great subject to study, at any age. Perhaps you’ve played an instrument for fun for years, and want to know how music works in theory.
Grade 5 theory
Do I need grade 5 theory?
If you want to take ABRSM practical examinations at grade 6 level and above, then you need grade 5 theory. Some people find this a frustrating obstacle, but we think this is a great opportunity to encourage aspiring musicians to really get to grips with how music works.
You need the certificate – that’s why you’re here. But we think there’s more to learning than passing the exam. We’ll get you the certificate, sure, but what’s the point, if you don’t learn something along the way? We teach methodically, not giving students the answers, but giving them the tools to work out the answers for themselves.
How long will it take?
It depends. If you have experience in music theory already, it might not take long. If you’re new to this, it will take a little longer.
The biggest variable is homework. Students who put as much time into their music theory on their own as they do with a teacher will pass their exam much sooner.
And remember, our priority is always thorough learning. We never enter a student for an exam that we’re not certain they’re prepared for – it’s how our pass rate is so high. This sometimes means a little extra time. But music is something best not hurried, after all.
Tuition for music students
The jump from an A-level to a university music course is a big one. You may have studied harmony and counterpoint at A-level, but you may not (most exam boards don’t require it, and many schools don’t teach it). Music is an incredibly broad subject, so it’s understandable if you’re better at some aspects than others. Perhaps it’s Bach chorales you’re struggling with, or composition; perhaps fugue & counterpoint, or Schenkerian analysis. Whatever you want help with – just get in touch.
A-level music is trickier than many people expect (it’s certainly a step up from GCSE). All exam boards require some understanding of music theory, and Edexcel is especially rigorous in this regard. Students who encounter Bach chorales for the first time often find them difficult, so if this is you, don’t worry! They’re not as hard as they seem – promise – and we can help.
Perhaps, though, your concern is about your level of theory more generally. A-level students are expected to be at grade 5 theory standard, and whether you want to take the grade 5 exam or not, we can get you there.
Many students encounter serious musical study for the first time at GCSE level. The process of analysing music through its harmony, melody, rhythm, texture, etc., can seem a bit confusing, and students will be introduced to a whole new vocabulary very quickly. To need a little extra support is completely understandable, and students thinking of taking A-level music may find it especially valuable. A little one-to-one tuition can make the difference between a C and a B, or a B and an A.
Learning for fun
Can I sign up for fun?
Perhaps you play an instrument for fun, or sing in a local choir, and you just want to understand music a bit better? And anyway, learning something new is always fun. We’ve been surprised and delighted at the number of people who want to learn some music theory just for the joy of knowing.
If this is you, or if you think it might be, and you fancy a try, then get in touch – we’d love to hear from you.
Tell me more
How do the lessons work?
Much of our tuition now takes place online. The advantage to this is that you can learn from home, and your teacher can be anywhere in the country or the world. Students have found these online sessions fun and very straightforward.
Availability of online tuition is guaranteed (since teacher and student don’t need to be nearby).
The old-fashioned way
The online system is great, and as we all know, it’s becoming increasingly necessary. However, nothing quite beats the learning you get from sitting down at a table with a teacher, a pencil, and a sheet of manuscript paper.
Sadly, Face-to-face tuition cannot be guaranteed (we may not have an available teacher near you), but it’s worth asking.
How much will it cost?
Our teachers set their own rates, so we’ll have to let you know the precise figure later, when we’ve found the right teacher for you. But our teachers typically charge between £30 and £40 per hour. Most teachers offer lessons of 30, 45 or 60 minutes. Longer lessons are usually better value for money, but lesson length should be discussed with the teacher.
Simple – just get in touch. Let us know why you’re here, and any questions you may have, and we’ll set you up with the right teacher for you or your child.