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#1 thara96

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Posted 09 June 2019 - 11:42

Anyone here done ABRSM music theory? I am hoping to do G1 MT next spring. What is the exam like, how difficult is it? 

 

What resources do you use for lessons? I have no idea what book to buy- there is so much choice out there.

Thanks in advance! 


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#2 Ligneo Fistula

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Posted 09 June 2019 - 11:49

Do you have a tutor, thara96?


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#3 gav_1988

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Posted 09 June 2019 - 20:34

Anyone here done ABRSM music theory? I am hoping to do G1 MT next spring. What is the exam like, how difficult is it? 

 

What resources do you use for lessons? I have no idea what book to buy- there is so much choice out there.

Thanks in advance! 

 

The 'standard' one is probably 'Music Theory In Practice'. It's not particularly exciting, but it's written specifically for the ABRSM Syllabus.  The exercises in the books are very similar to those on the past papers, which you can also get hold of. Both the workbooks and past papers have model answers, which is helpful if you're doing this without a teacher. Pretty much everything in grade 1 is about factual knowledge and understanding, as opposed to composition (my understanding is they've got rid of composition questions in grades 1-5, at grade 1 that would just mean coming up with a two-bar response to a two-bar rhythm that they give you). 

There's a number of alternative books out there though for learning the content. You should probably spend a bit of time browsing in a music shop that sells theory books if you've got one nearby. Amazon will have them all, too, but you can't always see previews. 


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#4 chris13

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Posted 10 June 2019 - 11:12

I very much like "The Rudiments and Theory of Music" published in 1958 by ABRSM. It contains a chapter for each of the eight grades but unfortunately is now out of print. It is however worth searching for a secondhand copy if one can be bought for a reasonable price.


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#5 Dr. Rogers

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Posted 10 June 2019 - 13:48

Anyone here done ABRSM music theory? I am hoping to do G1 MT next spring. What is the exam like, how difficult is it? 

 

What resources do you use for lessons? I have no idea what book to buy- there is so much choice out there.

Thanks in advance! 

 

Greetings.  I commend you for entering for G1 theory - it seems that many/most students skip over the lower grades and want to jump right in to G5.

 

I did G5 last March and found it pretty easy.  (Disclaimer: I am a music teacher, so theory up to G5 had better be easy for me.)  ABRSM changed the format of the G1-G5 tests a year or so ago, changing some of the short answer questions to multiple choice.  I think that made it a little more approachable overall.

 

I have never submitted a student for G1, but I have had students work G1 practice tests.  Here is my recommendation for good performance on G1-G5 theory:

 

  1. Know the material very, very well
  2. Stay calm - it's just a music theory exam, not life or death
  3. Work slowly, carefully, and methodically
  4. Go back and double- and even triple-check your work as time allows (don't just finish and hand it in)

As far as resources go, I recommend getting both volumes of The AB Guide to Music Theory.  It would perhaps be overkill for G1, but it will serve you well as you progress.

 

A free resource that I recommend is mymusictheory.com.  No financial interest on my part, but I (and my students) find it helpful.

 

I'm currently studying for G6 theory in November - it's a prerequisite for one of the diplomas that I want to take in the future (DipABRSM in teaching), and I would also like to take AMusTCL at some point...

 

Good luck!


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#6 dorfmouse

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Posted 10 June 2019 - 17:35

I too used the Rudiments and Theory when doing G5, as an ancient adult in a hall full of kids. Just referred to it and did a practice paper for each grade. I think it was the easiest exam I've done in my life! As Dr R says, just be methodical. Lots of it is just learning musical terms and signs by heart.
I remember the first thing I did on sitting down was to draw a sketch on the given scrap paper of a couple of octaves of the keyboard, write down all the sharps and flats in the correct order, and the order of tones and semis in the maj and minor scales.
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#7 Zixi

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Posted 11 June 2019 - 10:46

My husband and I did Grade 1 a few years ago. We used Eric Taylor's Grade Books (ABRSM) and his The AB Guide to Music Theory and First Steps in Music Theory. They are quite dry but they cover what you need. In addition I got a recorder specific book or two and Paul Harris's books on theory (which I quite enjoyed). I tried Maureen Cox's Theory is Fun (cheap and obviously aimed at someone much younger than me but it was useful enough). We did past papers as well but as has already been said the format has changed quite a bit so the 'old exam' past papers won't prepare you for the current format - you need to make sure you used the new format as well.

 

You can pick up plenty of resources second hand - try ebay! And see which ones you like the best. We also got the Trinity Grade 1 tutorials but they drove me to despair - they are *extremely* reiterative. My husband fared a bit better than I did as he is a lot more patient than I am! But even he ended up a bit frazzled round the edges by them.

 

You'll have a lot of fun. We did. We sat the exam with a lot of 5-7 year olds and the main invigilator apologised afterwards for not putting us with a more adult group but actually we really enjoyed being there with children starting on their music theory too! We found we had tons of time and most of the children (and my husband) finished early but I deliberately took my time. We did a couple of mocks at home before the real exam and I'm pretty sure we completed in 15 minutes! In the real exam I lost one mark on a rhythm composition exercise bringing my score to 99/100 but I beat my husband by 1 mark and he never ceased to hear the end of it for months afterwards - in reality he is musically much much much better than I am!

 

I do wish you all the very best - enjoy it - it really is good fun and hopefully - like us - you'll come out wanting to do do more.


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#8 Sylvette

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Posted 12 June 2019 - 10:25

I agree with all the previous comments, plus do the exam in pencil and make sure you have an eraser (in case you need to change anything), a sharpener and a ruler (makes it much easier to write leger lines and group quavers neatly).

I did G3 as a sort of 'practice' exam, then G5.  I worked through the Music Theory in Practice workbooks, plus the AB Guide to Music Theory.  I found that the G1 work was mostly stuff that I remembered from learning recorder at school 50 years ago! (I didn't do O-level music.)

The worst part of the actual exam, which was held in a primary school, was having to use child-sized chairs and desks.  I was not the only adult there!

Dorfmouse's suggestion of drawing a keyboard and a table of key signatures is very useful (although I don't think you need to know all the key signatures for G1).


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#9 Gillybobs

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Posted 18 June 2019 - 10:51

Am also trying to get to grips with theory, and it helps with learning piano pieces too which I've found easier to read as it feels I am understanding what am doing rather than just using my ears and guessing.  I have been working through the books and am about half way through grade 3.  I'm awful at maths and it takes me a while to "get" things in terms of halfs and quarters etc.  But I get there lol, am hoping to do the grade 3 exam as am not keen to jump into grade 5, although this is what I (and many others I expect) need to go on to the grade 6 practical exam.  One day maybe, fingers crossed.  

 

I use the Eric Taylor book, but think my folks have the wee "rudiments and theory of music" book which my dad bought years ago.  Will maybe see if I can get a hold of it.  I also like internet resources, although these can be confusing.  The Circle of 5ths is all new to me but still did practical piano exams in my teenage years.

 

Gill xx


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#10 thara96

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Posted 11 July 2019 - 09:29

Sorry for not updating earlier. I just started another job in a office and have been busy. I use Theory of Music Grade 1 as a teaching resource for lessons. Hoping to take the exam early next spring. I've only been learning theory of music for 5 months now and have made a lot of progress quickly my teacher says. Where do you find practice papers? I have looked on the online shop here but the prices put me off ordering them. 


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#11 Misterioso

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Posted 11 July 2019 - 11:03

Did you realise that each set includes four past exam papers? At £3.25, that's less than £1 per exam. It really is the best way to prepare for what the exam will be like. If you do go for this option, be sure to choose the most recent year possible as there have been changes in the syllabus.


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#12 zwhe

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Posted 11 July 2019 - 11:20

https://forums.abrsm.org/en/theory2018

 

there are some free ones here + answers


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#13 thara96

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Posted 12 July 2019 - 13:37

Thanks 

Yes I do have a tutor. I went to SMC- sutton music centre today and saw their range of books on music theory. What topics do you need to know for Grade I? When will the results come back? Where will the exam be held? 

 

I will take a look at the online shop too. My goal is to take G1 and then build up slowly. Thank you for the links! 


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#14 adultpianist

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Posted 20 July 2019 - 04:22

can you have a separate tutor who only teaches you theory?   My piano teacher said we do not have time in the half hour lessons to cover much theory  and i can do some theory on my own and ask any questions in the lesson for anything I do not understand.   I also do not cover theory in my flute lessons.  My piano lessons cover more things than my flute.  Is that usual?

 


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#15 Gordon Shumway

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Posted 20 July 2019 - 07:25

All I can remember about it is cramming theory with my piano teacher maybe twice a year.


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