Music theory resources. Musical children but I have no idea where to start

(28 Posts)
camaleon Wed 27-Jul-16 21:06:03

Hi all,
Both my kids (9 & 11) seem to be very good at music. They have passed grade 5 & 4 violin recently and I now realise they need to catch up with the theoretical part of it. It has been difficult enough to support them without me having any clue about music. But teachers and my husband have been able to guide them. However, we are totally lost with the music part. Are there any resources online/well-known courses/techniques we can try? My husband can read music quite easily. He has never played violin but he would be able to catch up if we get the right material.

Any advice would be very useful. Thank you in advance

camaleon Wed 27-Jul-16 21:07:10

..no clue about theory..

Essexmum69 Wed 27-Jul-16 21:17:37

www.mymusictheory.com/learn-music-theory/for-students/grade-1/grade-1-course

This is where mine started.

GinandJag Wed 27-Jul-16 21:21:15

If they are on grade 5 violin, ask their violin teacher!

camaleon Wed 27-Jul-16 21:26:38

I assked Ginan. She is not sure. She is the violin teacher we got at school (20 min a week practice). We are doing a bit of extra practice with her now that it seems quite clear they need much more guidance. But apart from starting on 'Trinity' for the one who is in grade 6, I have no clue. Nor does the teacher.

camaleon Wed 27-Jul-16 21:27:28

Sorry for all the typos...'asked'/'weak'. Still hope it makes sense

camaleon Wed 27-Jul-16 21:28:00

Thank you very much 'Essexmum'

GinandJag Wed 27-Jul-16 21:31:17

How peculiar! You need music theory to advance through the grades. Surely a music teacher would get on this gravy train.

buffalogrumble Wed 27-Jul-16 21:31:57

Abrsm music theory in practice work books. Start with grade 1 and work through. Or google grade 5 theory classes near you. I know some music schools run grade 5 theory summer camps! It's not that hard to get through - my 10yo did earlier this year after working through the abrsm books, and quite fun.

camaleon Wed 27-Jul-16 21:35:03

Well Ginan... Not sure what you mean about 'peculiar'. We have not needed any theory to advance through grades so far. Just a bit of sight-reading. It is now, that I have become to learn that to achieve grade 6, grade 5 theory is necessary. I may seem very peculiar to you, but this is it.

I will look into courses buffalo grumble. I live in London, so should not be difficult. Thank you

toomuchicecream Wed 27-Jul-16 22:14:32

www.amazon.co.uk/Theory-Fun-Grade-Maureen-Cox/dp/0951694081 is what my son's piano teacher gave him to work through. We did a mixture of arguing and rowing about him doing (ie not doing) workbooks, supplemented with piano lessons being used for theory lessons (trombone was his main instrument) and some practice papers marked/gone through by a colleague of mine who taught music theory. I googled for music theory tutor plus the name of a London borough and got loads of people come up - musicteachers.co.uk looks like a good place to start. I think it's unlikely that a child could teach themself sufficient theory to pass grade 5 without some lessons, but (depending on whether your child is more cooperative than mine....) you could certainly whizz through the workbooks for the first few grades easily enough, before paying for tuition for grade 5.

Trufflethewuffle Thu 28-Jul-16 09:14:46

I don't think Gin is suggesting that you are peculiar - rather that the teacher has not raised this before now.
In our experience (4 DC multiple instruments) the teachers all made us aware of the requirements well in advance so that learning theory went alongside the practical, if you see what I mean.
It was never expected that we would go away and sort it ourselves, the teachers all had input into how the theory was progressing.

camaleon Thu 28-Jul-16 11:14:10

Thanks for the additional tips.
Truffle, thanks for explaining too. I guess it is a mix of very short lessons in school time and me knowing nothing about music. I had never expected the kids to go so far to be honest. We will try to follow tips and get them to level 4 without tuition and then try a camp or a private tutor.
It's been very useful.

DeskOfMyOwn Thu 28-Jul-16 13:27:09

Camaleon: first, don't worry, you are not alone! In my limited experience plenty of children pass Grade 5 without thinking about theory exams. It's only as they approach Grade 6 that it's an issue, and only then I believe if they do ABRSM. Second, some children only ever do Grade 5 theory (if that's the one needed to progress to ABRSM grade 6 practical and above??). Third, the ABRSM website has a series of forums, including one for Parents, where you can post the query. The ABRSM books are great if you have the kind of children who will apply themselves, but my DC found classes good
www.abrsm.org/forum/index.php?act=idx

camaleon Thu 28-Jul-16 16:27:49

Thank you DeskofMyOwn.. You make me feel better about not knowing this. I will check the forum and the other materials and see if we can avoid classes for a while.

TheSecondOfHerName Thu 28-Jul-16 19:19:47

DS2 is working his way through the ABRSM workbooks and past papers over the summer. He started on the Grade 1 level and is now on Grade 3 level. His clarinet teacher marks them for him and explains any corrections. He is hoping to do the Grade 5 theory exam in November.

Pradaqueen Thu 28-Jul-16 19:36:14

OP have a look at the musicians thread in extra curricular. V supportive and lots of tips. Music teacher should've brought this to your attention waaay before getting to G5 as you cannot sit ABRSM practical beyond G5 without the theory passed. Maybe your kids don't want to though? My DD (9/10) did G1 theory last summer having passed g1 violin and piano that term then G3 theory at the same time as G3 violin and piano in Dec then G5 theory this summer at the same time as G5 piano and Violin. Your children will be proficient at reading music so suggest working through the ABRSM music theory work books by Eric Taylor this summer and get the teacher to mark them. My guess is with 30mins theory lesson pw your G5 child will be ready for Nov or maybe March. You don't have to do all the grades. Else switch to Trinity exam board where G5 theory is not required (teacher might not want to teach this though). Good luck and come and see us on the musicians thread!

raspberryrippleicecream Thu 28-Jul-16 21:46:30

I second joining us on the musician thread in extra curricular.

It's not that unusual not to have theory mentioned though if your lessons are all through school, if we had only had school lessons I wouldn't have known as am not musical.

Three DC with multiple instruments, older two have Trinity Grade 8s with no theory, not interested. Both play in lots of bands and get a lot of enjoyment.

Pradaqueen Fri 29-Jul-16 05:31:57

Sorry OP missed the point that it's school music (hi raspberry!) so quite possible you are behind on theory. You mentioned Trinity though? If you're doing this syllabus, you won't need to pass G5 theory with ABRSM but it's always good to have. Hope to see you on the musicians thread grin

DeskOfMyOwn Fri 29-Jul-16 10:09:40

Yes, with a 20 minute lesson and in-school lessons it's difficult for teacher and parent. In one sense Grade 5 theory is just a piece of paper you need to carry on taking ABRSM exams, and many many people treat it as such. In another sense, it can be helpful though not essential: some carry on to Grade 8 theory e.g. for supporting music studied to a high (academic) level. I stress to OP that although Pradaqueen's children's study of theory has been exemplary, it's by far from common and I would not describe your children as 'behind' in any sense that should worry you. The theory exam is just something to get under their belts, they only have to 'pass' - or switch to Trinity (discuss that option with the teacher - they tend to decide the exam board, the syllabuses/exams differ in some respects).

More to the point in my humble but somewhat experienced opinion is that Aural cannot possibly be covered in a 20-minute music lesson, and how do children of posters cope with that? The aural part of the exam gets demanding as you progress up the ABRSM grades, at least. OP hasn't asked, but I chuck the question in for her!

raspberryrippleicecream Fri 29-Jul-16 11:08:18

ABRSM exams in our house are private lessons, so I can't answer for those.

School Trinity lessons, practice at home with the book/CD

I am going to add that my oldest .DC have achieved merit in 3 Grade 8s between them on 25 minute school lessons. But they do play in a lot of bands in and out of school.

TheSecondOfHerName Fri 29-Jul-16 11:26:37

DS2 does ABRSM exams through school. In the month before the exam, the head of the music department offers a few aural lessons before school (free of charge). These are done in small groups (2 or 3 students) who are grouped according to which grade they are doing.

DD does Trinity exams privately. Her teacher covers the aural prep during her usual lessons.

camaleon Fri 29-Jul-16 12:45:34

I will joint the musician thread. Posting here has been a great idea.
DeskofMyOwn you asked about preparation for the aural part of the exam. The teacher recommended my kids to download some app and they have been preparing with that. It has worked. They both like playing and practice a lot. They also joined an orchestra this year which has helped immensely for some reason. I would say they probably devote 8-9 hours a week to playing violin (orchestra included).
My daughter has ended primary school and my son has changed current school so we have started using the same teacher privately and more time can be used in lessons.
Their father played another instrument up to grade 7 very years ago, so he has been very useful, but none of us thought much about theory or anything. As I said, we never thought they would make it this far.
Thanks again everybody. I think I have a much clearer idea now, and I will follow relevant threats from now on.

Greenleave Fri 29-Jul-16 23:46:03

Second Prada and Raspberry on joining the music thread in extra curr for more detailed advices. I am happy to share my experience. I learnt about theory earlier this year, around Feb then I started to do some research on it. My daughter is 8 and was learning for piano grade 3. We started theory around mid March by reading the pink book, doing abrsm practise book and doing past papers. She passed grade 5 with 90 mark few weeks ago. We have a private teacher although he isnt most familiar with abrsm especially theory( he is foreigner). He helped to explain difficult terms and marked the past papers( we marked ourself by referring to the answer book about half of it-well, I meant my daughter marked herself as we are both nonmusical and work full time long hours). Its doable with self study, if your husband can read music and they have already passed g4/5 in an instrument then at 9&11 its definitely doable. Good luck. My daughter in the end really likes it. She has been doing silly composing since and not scared of sight reading anymore

Genevieva Sat 30-Jul-16 21:20:04

You will be surprised by how much theory your children know, so I wouldn't worry. Lina Ng books seem to be quite popular.

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