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Music exam - theory questions?

(13 Posts)
ksld Thu 27-Mar-14 14:05:09

(Disclaimer - I am not at all musical being tone deaf so do not really know what I am talking about.)

DS Year 5 is learning recorder at school and really enjoys playing. He is very shy and not confident. He took a recorder exam last year and hated it. We have talked about it since and he didn't hate playing the music, but was taken aback at being asked questions about the music - he didn't seem to have been prepared for that at all. The school music teacher is an elderly rather disorganised lady who has been no help with this at all. He has bravely agreed to try a music exam again this year and I would like to prepare him better so he can be more confident going in. The music exam will be with London College of Music but I can't find any information on what sort of things will be asked. Is there a workbook we could buy or something we can work through to help prepare him?

JaneinReading Thu 27-Mar-14 14:27:11

Our did Associated Board instead.
Yours seems to be doing It seems to have a viva voce questions element that the normal associated board exams don't.
"Component 3 - Questions on Rudiments
15 marks
Recognition / identification of
staff, clef, barlines, pitch names, note types
and values, rest values, all relating to the
music performed"

Could she enter him for associated board instead which is what most children do?

Music theory is worth doing. I am quite musical so taught my sons from grades 1 - 5 myself just by buying the book and working through it and entering them for the grades.

ksld Thu 27-Mar-14 14:49:07


Thank you so much for that - your googling skills far superior to mine! That is just what I was looking for. I have only had a brief chat with the teacher but don't think she is going to be changing which exam board at my suggestion - I believe she has been teaching recorder and using this exam board for 20+ years at this school (could be wrong this is just hearsay from parents).

Could you recommend a book on music theory for us to start on? DS music ability far superior to mine already so I won't be able to help him like you did, but it might give him confidence to 'teach' me a bit!

JaneinReading Thu 27-Mar-14 15:57:07

We tended to buy the book for each grade - 1 upwards work through that a bit at a time every few days at home before bed. Then when the theory exam grew close bought some test papers. For Associated Board exams for all instruments you cannot do higher grades (6 - 8) without passing grade 5 theory so it can be sensible to do some theory (and actually I found it really interesting including as a teenager and even got almost full marks in grade 8 - obviously not the usual teenage girl's usual hobby).

JaneinReading Thu 27-Mar-14 15:57:40

I think I liked the precision of it. It is like maths. You can get full marks. It's logical and clever and interesting, magical in some ways.

RaspberryLemonPavlova Thu 27-Mar-14 18:59:48

Trinity has an option to to do a Knowledge skills test instead of sight reading or aural, it sounds rather like that. DD liked it, because it is based on the music you play you can prepare for it rather, whereas sight or aural is more random.

You don't need Grade 5 theory for ABRSM higher grades by the way, there are other options eg Grade 5 jazz. Most people choose that route though.

JaneinReading Thu 27-Mar-14 21:44:16

That's true: - although I think the mental discipline of the theory exams is good for children and doing regular exams in exam conditions can be quite a good experience for children and good practice for other exams later. Some also like the chalk up certificates and qualifications.

"Grade 5 as a prerequisite
A longstanding ABRSM benchmark is that a pass at Grade 5 or above in Theory of
Music must be obtained before candidates can enter for Grades 6, 7 or 8 Practical
exams. We believe that a thorough understanding of the elements of music is
essential for a full and satisfying performance at these higher grades. (Grade 5 in
Practical Musicianship or any solo Jazz subject also fulfils this prerequisite."

1805 Fri 28-Mar-14 21:45:18

What grade are we talking about?
As a basic knowledge, he should know about note duration (crotchets, minim etc), note names, clef name, basic Italian terms (Andante, Allegro etc) Dynamics, articulation, the keys of the pieces he's playing, whether it is major or minor, a bit about the style of his pieces, and whether parts/phrases are repeated, and be able to point out scale and arpeggio patterns.
I think that covers the basics!!!! Does he learn in a large group? Could he ask teacher about these things? Are you happy to google this info yourself?
Let me know if I can help….

1805 Fri 28-Mar-14 21:51:22

Also, possibly intervals between notes, and about practice techniques and instrument maintenance and posture. And time signatures.
All this should be discussed during lessons anyway, but you could ask ds to 'teach' you these things at home.

gonzalez Mon 22-Sep-14 13:33:49

Does anyone have children studying piano on Saturdays at the London College of Music? I am debating whether to go with a private teacher who comes to the house - very expensive or whether to send the children to an audition at the LCM.

lavendersun Mon 22-Sep-14 14:10:40

I think it is a shame that his teacher didn't prepare him properly, I would expect a 'mock exam before the first one, perhaps we are spoilt by our music teacher (who is an LCM examiner). Theory has always been taught alongside whatever instrument here.

You can buy these downloadable books direct from LCM:

everything is available there incl. previous papers etc..

gonzalez Mon 22-Sep-14 20:44:02

Ah thank you have helped me decide. I think we will stick with private music lessons for now and prepare the children properly for an audition at LCM in a year's time. I found a teacher on the London Music Centre website. I didnt realise there were teachers out there who are LCM examiners - you are very lucky. Thank you again for the advice.

lavendersun Tue 23-Sep-14 08:36:53

Yes, we are very lucky, she is an incredible person. I fear her retiring (she has already retired from her full time professor of music career and now 'just; teaches privately and examines). She is inspirational.

We do lose her for a month or two a year when she goes off examining to far flung parts of the world but we usually carry on during school hols if we are at home to make up for it.

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