The course prepares students for ABRSM Grade 5 Theory Exam, and can also be used as preparation for the Trinity Guildhall Music Theory exam

The course is systematic and structured, written by Fergus Black; it is based on the experience gained from his years of teaching the theory of music. Each day has a programme of different topics and revision: we start with an Icebreaker, and there is a game after lunch. There are five one-hour sessions in each day. In all there are 61 pages of explanation, examples and exercises.

Course days are made up of a tremendous variety of lessons, exercises, quizzes, games, all done at a pace to suit the students. A good sense of humour is essential as the games can get quite amusing and are a good chance to burn off some energy. Variety is the key to keeping everyone involved and happy.

All Music Theory Fast courses are tutored by Fergus Black MA ARCO MISM.


Day 1

I-1. Note and rest lengths
To be able to name note and rest lengths, and to understand their relationship to each other

I-2. Understanding time signatures
To understand what time signatures mean, and to describe them

I-3. Working out Time Signatures
To be able to work out a time signature from a piece of music

I-4. Instruments of the Orchestra
To know the main families of orchestral instruments, the instruments in each family and some characteristics of the instruments (rough pitch, transposing, etc).

I-5. Performance Directions
To learn a large number of words and symbols that tell us how to perform the music

I-6. Draw a keyboard
To be able to draw a piano keyboard

I-7. Clefs
To be able to draw all clefs accurately
To be able to identify note names in all clefs
To rewrite music in different clefs

I-8. Note Names and Ledger lines
To be able to count up and down from the stave accurately

I-9. Accidentals
To know what accidentals do to notes, to be able to place and draw them

I-10. Ornaments
To name the common ornaments from their signs, and identify ornaments when written out

I-11. More on Time Signatures
To identify different ways of writing the same thing

Day 2

II-1. Major Keys and Key Signatures
To be able to work out the key from the key signature and vice versa. To write key signatures.

II-2. Relative Majors and Minors
To understand the relationship between the relative Major and the relative Minor

II-3. Structure of Scales
To know the structure of major scales and the three forms of the minor scale

II-4. Writing scales in any key
To write scales in any key, with and without key signatures

II-5. Intervals
To be able to describe the quantity and quality of intervals

II-6. Tuplets
To be able to say what the equivalent note length of tuplets is

II-7. Degrees of the scale
To know by heart the Technical Names for degrees of the scale

II-8. Triads
To know what a chord and a triad are, and to understand inversions of chords

II-9. Naming Chords
To be able to name chords.

II-10. Cadences
To be able to suggest likely chords at cadences from a melody line

II-11. To identify a 64/53 cadence
64/ 53 means chords Ic Va. To find the chords in a score

II-12. Modulation
To know what modulation means,
and to identify the new key.

Day 3

III-1. Transposition
To be able to write out music at different pitches, both with and without key signatures

III-2. Voice names
To know the names of voice types and their relative pitches

III-3. Beaming and rests
Learn rules for grouping notes (=beams) and rests

III-4. Enharmonics
To know what enharmonic means, and identify enharmonic equivalent pitches

III-5. Writing music & Exam Techniques
To understand the importance of neatness and precision in writing music, and to study exam techniques

Sample pages