The study of Music Theory as defined by the ABRSM is “an attempt to help people learning music to understand how it is written down, what the various signs and symbols denote, and what the common technical words used by musicians mean. These, of course, are not matters which are merely of concern to students preparing for theory examinations: they are vital to all musicians, including performers and those who wish to write their own music.”
As well as providing staged theory lessons, I can provide fast-track training for those students who need to take their Grade 5 exams as soon as possible, without previous formal theory lessons.
As a composer myself, I am happy to teach the technical aspects of composition, however any student must already have creative ideas which he or she would like to express. A fair knowledge of basic music theory is also necessary. I have found that most composition students fall into two categories:
1) Those who can create music but are not sure how to express their musical ideas on paper.
2) Those who have written down their music but wish to arrange it for a group of instruments, and need advice on arranging, or orchestrating, their music.
Every composition student is unique and so I structure the lessons accordingly, depending on the level of knowledge and the requirements of the student.
How long does it take to reach Grade 5 Theory?
If you have been learning theory alongside your practical instrument lessons, you would not find it hard to be at the same level as your practical grade, so for a typical student, a grade every two or three terms is usual.
I have not learnt any theory and need to pass Grade 5!
I can provide fast track teaching, using the traditional ABRSM materials as well as my own additional exercises. The time taken to achieve Grade 5 will depend entirely on the student’s ability to complete homework topics on a timely basis. I have known students pass Grade 5 after less than two terms of lessons.
Where can I buy the books to learn music theory?
I can supply all the books and materials you will require for studying theory, including past exam papers.
Do I need to be using software to compose music?
You do not need to be using music notation software to write your own music, although it is a great advantage if you have access to software as a lot of the workload is removed. The ability to write by hand is still valid.
I use Sibelius software, and have done since 1997, but I still handwrite my initial ideas, and sometimes write at the piano for hours before transferring the music to Sibelius.