Apr 10 2007, 12:55 PM
I'm currently working towards my Grade 1 Practical Piano Exam but am not sure whether or not to take the Grade 1 Theory Exam at the same time. After reading some of the forum messages I understand that some people don't take any theory exams until the Grade 5 one but is this the best way to do it or is it better to start at Grade 1 and work your way up as you go through the practical exams?
Thanks in advance for any suggestions!
Apr 10 2007, 01:48 PM
There isn't a 'right' answer to your question, however bear a few things in mind. The reason that a lot of students don't take any theory exams until the grade 5 exam is that this is the only one required to progress further than grade 5 practicals. In a perfect world, I would suggest studying for, and taking each theory exam. However, this is time consuming and expensive. In my view, grade 1 theory is not really worth taking as the syllabus is quite simple. Since you are working towards grade 1 piano, you will probably know the contents of grade 1 theory in-side out!
On the other hand, those students who don't take any theory exams until they reach grade 5 practical often find it a bit daunting.
May I suggest the following...
Nip down to your music shop and buy a couple of theory past-papers (they are only a few pounds each). Grades 1, 2 and 3. Have a go at them (no cheating mind!) and get your music teacher to mark them for you. If you can 'pass' any particular grade, don't bother with entering for that grade's exam - work on the next one. Most of my students working on grade 1 practical tend to be capable of passing grade 2 theory. This way, you can find out what level you already are and can concentrate on the next grade.
Best of luck for your grade 1 piano.
Apr 10 2007, 02:09 PM
I'd say better to start sooner than later. I took up theory just as I finished my grade 5 practical. Should've started alot sooner. I skipped the gr.6 practical then and went in for gr.7, theory can drag you back if you're not careful.
Perhaps a bit early to think about doing theory yet. Depends whether you want to do all the grades by step 1-5 or just go in for the gr.5. I just went straight in at grade 5 and did rather well. Make sure to get a good teacher though.
It's possible to teach yourself theory, especially the early grades; I found it much quicker with a teacher and was more focused on doing a bit each week.
Theory Exam practise papers now have model answers if your interested.
Apr 10 2007, 06:31 PM
I think its a good idea to make sure your theoretical knowledge is as good as/better than your practical - that way you can apply it to what you're playing etc. This does become less relevant in grades 6-8, but then they are so much more fun in thier own right
Theres no need to actually take the exam though, except G5 and G8, unless you need it as a scholarship or something like that. If you can, get a theory teacher - however they seem to be few and far between, unless its just me looking in the wrong places
Apr 10 2007, 08:30 PM
I would work through the theory workbooks and do at least one set of past papers for each grade (depending on how well you do) and get them marked so that you find out whether you have anything you need to go over again before moving on.
This way you are more sure of not having any gaps in your knowledge when you get to grade 5.
As Phil Dixon says, you might well find that you've already learnt a lot of what you need through learing the piano, though this depends a little on whether your teacher includes this as a natural part of teaching and also on how much attention you've paid to it.
If you want to do the exams then do them or only do one or 2 on the way to grade 5.
Apr 11 2007, 08:13 AM
How far from Northampton are you?
I would be happy to appraise your theory for you.
Apr 11 2007, 08:49 AM
If piano is your first instrument and you have trouble with remembering all the musical knoledge, then doing some theory is not a bad idea. The small books like Theory is fun - its red with an elephant on the front - is a very good book, even if you are older than this book is probably aimed at! Most of my pupils do theory right from the beginning but dont enter for the exams until grade 5 theory.
This is a "lo-fi" version of our main content. To view the full version with more information, formatting and images, please click here