The Theory Exam

Well it's that time of the yr again...OG members will be sitting for the ABRSM Theory Exam on Mar 16 next year in Kuantan; this will be the 2nd time we send UMP students to sit for this renown exam. Last semester, 34 students sat for the test and 80% received Distinction. A very good result for our debut there hehe...Currently about 28 students had already registered; more will do so tonight.

The Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music (ABRSM) is the world's leading provider of graded music exams & assessments. Based in the UK, the ABRSM has branches all over the world. In Malaysia, there are many centers associated with the board, so one will have no problem to register for the exams/assessments. The papers are graded by examiners in the UK.

The Exam
It has become a policy in the OG for all OG members to have a minimum requirement of ABRSM Theory Grade 1. Why?
  • Encourage deeper understanding of music theory. Music theory is universal & can be applied to all instruments. It helps you to understand the convention used by musicians.
  • Enable independent song-learning. So you have the score you want but how do you play it? Once you've a strong grasp of music theory, you can identify details like the time signature, the music key, even dynamics of the song.
  • Helps to assess your knowledge in music. The exam will help to identify your strength & weaknesses in your understanding of music theory.
  • An extra qualification couldn't hurt. Plus it's interesting to learn.
We encourage our members to sit for the Grade 1 exam first, then skip to Grade 3. The fees aren't that cheap so it's better to be safe than sorry, knowing the Malaysian mentality...
Grade 1
  1. Note values of semibreve, minim, crotchet, quaver and semiquaver, and their equivalent rests (candidatesmay use the terms ‘whole note’, ‘half note’, etc.). Tied notes. Single-dotted notes and rests.
  2. 2 Simple time signatures of 2/4, 3/4, 4/4, bar-lines and the grouping of the notes listed above within these times.Composition of a two-bar rhythm in answer to a given rhythm starting on the first beat of a bar.
  3. The stave. Treble (G) and bass (F) clefs. Names of notes on the stave, including middle C in both clefs. Sharp, flat and natural signs, and their cancellation.
  4. Construction of the major scale, including the position of the tones and semitones. Scales and key signatures of the major keys of C, G, D and F in both clefs, with their tonic triads (root position), degrees (number only), and intervals above the tonic (by number only).
  5. Some frequently used terms and signs concerning tempo, dynamics, performance directions and articulation marks. Simple questions will be asked about a melody written in either treble or bass clef.

Sample Grade 1 Theory Paper
Grade 3
  1. Includes assessment of previous items.
  2. 1 Compound time signatures of 6/8, 9/8, 12/8, and the grouping of notes and rests within these times. The demisemiquaver (32nd note) and its equivalent rest. Questions will include the composition of a simple four-bar rhythm which may start on an up-beat.
  3. Extension of the stave beyond two ledger lines. The transposition of a simple melody from the treble clef to the bass clef, or vice versa, at the octave.
  4. Scales and key signatures of all major and minor keys up to and including four sharps and flats, including both harmonic and melodic forms of minor scales, with their tonic triads (root position), degrees (number only), and intervals above the tonic (number and type).
  5. More terms and signs. The simple questions about a melody may include one on its phrase structure.
We have a tutor who comes from Kuantan every Saturday to teach & help prepare OG members for the exam. There are also practical exams available; so far we haven't sent anyone to sit for the practical exams.

Violin Grade 3 Piano Grade 1
I know some people think it's a hassle to pay for the classes & the exam fees, plus to actually study music theory seems to be a burden...But I assure you that it's a worthwhile venture & it really helps you to quickly pick up the skills needed to be a musician. It's never easy to be a musician; one needs to be dedicated & the interest must be there. We can only try our best to make your music experience a wholesome & fun experience :)

For more information, check out the regional site for Malaysia.
You may see past yr papers here

1 comment:

espree said...

Hi Rowie.
Out-of-topic here.
Just wanna wish you all the best for the coming finals!
You Rock!
And thanx for visiting my blog.