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ABRSM theory books


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#1 Misterioso

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Posted 10 December 2019 - 18:47

I have an adult student who has been working through the Music Theory in Practice series. We're nearing the end of G4, and looking online for a G5 book, I had expected to see a new book issued to reflect the changes in the syllabus, but there doesn't seem to have been anything printed since 2008 according to Amazon. We could use that copy and just skip anything that no longer applies (as we did with G4) but is anyone able to clarify just what changes have been made to G5, please?


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#2 Latin pianist

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Posted 10 December 2019 - 19:35

You can print a couple of sample papers free which should show you what's required.
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#3 jenny

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Posted 10 December 2019 - 20:49

The changes to Grade 5 were to omit both the composition question and also the sort score/long score SATB question


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#4 BabyGrand

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Posted 10 December 2019 - 21:02

"We are not making any changes to our Music Theory in Practice books for Grades 1 to 5. They still cover all the knowledge and skills you need for our Music Theory exams at these grades from 2018. The sections on rhythm-writing, word-setting and melody writing will not be directly relevant to the exams from 2018, but overall Music Theory in Practice continues to provide plenty of valuable teaching and learning material for the exams." - quote from ABRSM website.  

 

Of course, continuing to sell books that don't match their own exams is ridiculous, but it is the decision they have made, and they're sticking to it.  

 

I have been switching my students over to Trinity for theory, despite it being much further away to our nearest centre, because since ABRSM changed their exams, they have become predominantly an academic exercise, with very little practical benefit.  Almost all the connections that can be made between theory and practice - which I want my students to make - have been removed.  The only thing I previously disliked about Trinity was the use of multiple choice questions, and since ABRSM now use those, there was nothing stopping me from moving.  The workbooks are much more relevant - it's something my students have commented on - and they are both child- and adult-friendly.  The progression makes much more sense, and I can actually put primary age children in for early theory grades without them having to deal with complex fractions - nothing shorter than a quaver at Grade 1.  

 

I realise it doesn't help you with this student, but if you haven't seen the Trinity workbooks before, do check them out!  :)   Also, why not have your student complete the whole book, including the parts no longer in the exam?  Those exercises are really useful!  Even ABRSM, when the changes were announced, said something about how they weren't removing them from the books because they are still good things for students to do, they just weren't going to be included in the exam any more.  The way they explained it makes me suspect that they weren't removed for any pedagogical reason, but purely because those questions are harder to mark by computerised marking....but that's a discussion for another day.  But yes, my advice would be to complete the whole book, and then use the practice exam papers to get an idea of what the exam itself will look like.  


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#5 ma non troppo

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Posted 10 December 2019 - 22:32

Bless him, I know he has passed, but I do find the late Eric Taylor's books to be so very dry and not really well laid out.

I confess I use YY Ng's young musician books, even for adults. The adults don't mind, I find. In fact some of them quite like the surrealism of

A. Being labelled as "young"
B. The almost trippy irrelevant illustrations.

They are very clearly laid out I find. There's loads of practice too, much more than the Taylor books.
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#6 BabyGrand

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Posted 10 December 2019 - 23:18

Bless him, I know he has passed, but I do find the late Eric Taylor's books to be so very dry and not really well laid out.

I confess I use YY Ng's young musician books, even for adults. The adults don't mind, I find. In fact some of them quite like the surrealism of

A. Being labelled as "young"
B. The almost trippy irrelevant illustrations.

They are very clearly laid out I find. There's loads of practice too, much more than the Taylor books.

Yes, my AB candidates nearly all used Ying Ying Ng's books, not MTIP.  As you say, much more practice.  

 

As for Eric Taylor, aside from the workbooks, I'm not a fan of the pink book, but the orange one is much better.   :)   


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#7 thara96

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Posted 11 December 2019 - 08:09

Are Ying Ying's books any good or not? I have been thinking of buying some for my little sister to use. 


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#8 Piano Meg

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Posted 11 December 2019 - 09:40

Bless him, I know he has passed, but I do find the late Eric Taylor's books to be so very dry and not really well laid out.

I confess I use YY Ng's young musician books, even for adults. The adults don't mind, I find. In fact some of them quite like the surrealism of

A. Being labelled as "young"
B. The almost trippy irrelevant illustrations.

They are very clearly laid out I find. There's loads of practice too, much more than the Taylor books.

 

I agree - they're more logically laid out too (in my mind at least), and as well as having more practice, there's more actual teaching too. For some topics, there's no guidance in the Taylor books, just a few exercises. With the Ying Ying books, you don't have to spend valuable teaching time writing reminders as they've got all the basics in the book. 

 

And yes - my adults have liked them a lot! Especially if before they've started lessons, they've tried the Taylor books by themselves!


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#9 Norway

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Posted 11 December 2019 - 10:07

Another vote for the Ying Ying books. I use them for everyone from about age 10 upwards.


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#10 HelenVJ

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Posted 11 December 2019 - 10:18

No surprise that, like Baby Grand, I now use the Trinity workbooks with all but the youngest kids - most of my Yr 5s and 6s can cope with it, and it feels quite grownup. The logical progression is very clear, and I like the way the diagram of the Circle of 5ths is expanded through the grades. The multiple choice section in the Trinity papers is only10% of the total, and melody writing features, if anyone is missing it from ABRSM. There's a clearer introduction to chords and harmony - my GCSE students have found this particularly helpful, and also the analysis questions.
Although I've yet to enter anyone for Trinity Grade 5 Theory, I think some will be doing it soon, and an added bonus is that the ABRSM will accept Trinity theory for their Grade 6 upwards practical.


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#11 Misterioso

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Posted 11 December 2019 - 11:41

I have actually used the Ying Ying books, but am always wary about them with older students, and this one is a retired gentleman.  My student has worked right through the series of MTIP books, and has sometimes found them a little tricky to understand. He tried Trinity on one occasion, but I was somewhat disappointed with the small quantity of exercises, of which my student needs a lot. Do Ying Ying and MTIP books compare, topic for topic, by grade? I think he would find it disconcerting to have to back-track if the two were not compatible.

 

I think I will order the Ying Ying for G5 and see what he thinks. Can you buy answer books for each grade like MTIP? (I like to check I'm right!)


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#12 agricola

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Posted 11 December 2019 - 13:24

I have started using Josephine Koh's Practice in Music Theory books for teenagers and adults.  They cover the basic syllabus with no cartoons or silly irrelevant questions.  I gave the ABRSM Grade 5 book to a student recently but we couldn't find much in it that was useful for the revised syllabus.


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#13 BabyGrand

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Posted 11 December 2019 - 13:31

I have actually used the Ying Ying books, but am always wary about them with older students, and this one is a retired gentleman.  My student has worked right through the series of MTIP books, and has sometimes found them a little tricky to understand. He tried Trinity on one occasion, but I was somewhat disappointed with the small quantity of exercises, of which my student needs a lot. Do Ying Ying and MTIP books compare, topic for topic, by grade? I think he would find it disconcerting to have to back-track if the two were not compatible.

 

I think I will order the Ying Ying for G5 and see what he thinks. Can you buy answer books for each grade like MTIP? (I like to check I'm right!)

The Trinity workbooks have fewer exercises in than the YYN books, but definitely more than MTIP!  

 

The YYN books directly correspond to the AB grades, and so cover the same things as MTIP.  

 

There is no answer book with them.  

 

I've had a number of adults, including blokes, use the YYN books.  I generally show them the different book options and give them a choice.  Most will either (a) choose the one with more practice exercises in, despite the cartoons etc, or (b) go with my recommendation.  As long as the content/wording isn't childish - which it isn't in the YYN graded books - they're happy to just ignore the pictures.  


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#14 jenny

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Posted 11 December 2019 - 16:14

I find the YY books are especially useful for young pupils because they provide many more practice exercises, which is essential for most younger pupils. I use the Eric Taylor books for adults, but find I have to explain a lot of new concepts as we go along. 


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#15 Misterioso

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Posted 11 December 2019 - 18:26

Just found an answer book online. It covers Grades 1-5.  :)


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