As any Grade 6 instrumentalist will tell you, the prospect of the Grade 5 theory hurdle can often seem like a daunting one. With all those dots and lines and phrases like ‘doppio movimento’ (sounds like something you might learn at Hogwarts) and ‘estinto‘ (sounds like a coffee) to get under your belt, it really can seem like another language.

ABRSM have long made Grade 5 theory a prerequisite for being able to continue with higher level instrumental exams; as the board puts it, “We believe that a thorough understanding of the elements of music is essential for a full and satisfying performance at these higher grades.” But not to worry, The Music Place has you covered! We now offer four theory practice classes throughout the week, all taken by lovely Gemma.

We asked Gemma why students should study music theory. She replied that “theory can tie everything together and make you a better musician. Things you play on your instrument and things you hear start to make more sense and it is a brilliant way to help improve your sight reading, understanding, memory and even song writing skills. Theory incorporates elements of art, maths, language and history, helps you explore other instruments, develop musical creativity and composition and it can even be fun to learn with online quizzes and apps, tricks and tools to help you answer questions (which are very satisfying) and there’s often banter and sometimes snacks in the group sessions we hold here at The Music Place. The courses here are tailored to exactly what is in the ABRSM grade 5 theory exam which is a prerequisite to the higher grade practical exams but we start by going through the very basics and take it step by step. So there’s no need to be intimidated by theory, just take that first step to back up your musical knowledge and you never know, you might actually enjoy it!”

But don’t just take Gemma’s word for it (although you should… she knows her stuff!) Music Place student, Tabbi Sulaiman, who recently sat her Grade 5 theory, had this to say about the process, “I really enjoyed it, because you learn the practical side of techniques and how intricate music works, which is especially helpful to anyone who sight-reads or writes their own stuff!”

Theory classes now run on Mondays, Thursdays and Fridays at £9 per 45-minute session. Get in touch if you think it’s for you!

Have a lovely week everyone!