Theory exams advice!

Questions on learning to play the piano, and piano music.

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Theory exams advice!

Post by Blodwen » 21 Apr 2012, 17:20


I passed grade 4 practical last month and now going on to grade 5, but to move on beyond that you have to pass G5 theory.
The thing is I've not done any theory exams before, is it best just to go straight to G5 theory or would I be better off starting on a lower grade first?


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Colin Nicholson
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Re: Theory exams advice!

Post by Colin Nicholson » 21 Apr 2012, 18:06

I presume you are referring to the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music? (ABRSM)
If so, then yes, to enter in for Grade 6 practical (piano) - you must pass Grade 5 theory of music first. The ABRSM then have your details on their system, and assuming you pass the theory OK, you dont need to show proof in the future.

You dont need to actually 'sit' grades 1-4 exams first - you can just work through the 'Music Theory in Practise' books and old exam papers leading up to Grade 5. If you have kept up with the theory along with piano, (and completed most of the previous grade's exercises/ mock papers) - you can simply move onto Grade 5. However, if you haven't done any theory at all, then you are advised to start working through the books.

Grade 5 theory is quite difficult in places, and covers various new subjects including:-
1. Irregular time signatures (5 and 7 time)
2. Open & Short score for SATB
3. Melody writing (up to 8 bars for a chosen solo instrument) - major or minor key.OR: composing a melody to given words/ poetry/ prose.
4. Transposition for instruments in B flat, A and F.
5. Chord progressions/ cadences
6. Identifying various root position, 1st & 2nd inversion chords
7. Keys and key signatures up to 6 sharps & flats/ scales/ triads etc
8. Basic orchestration/ studying extracts of music, and answering questions on terms, abbreviations, symbols, observation skills for the grade.
9. Basic ornamentation - writing into short form the trill, mordent, turn, appoggiatura and acciaccatura/ recognising them.
10. Good knowledge of all simple, compound & irregular time signatures/ grouping of notes & rests etc.
11. Italian, French & German vocabulary for the grade.

The list above is not in any specific order or exhaustive. However for example, to cover Grade 5 chords & cadences, you need a knowledge of the basic primary chords and their triads covered in Grade 4 theory.

Hope that helps .....

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