Lessons‎ > ‎

Music Theory Lessons

What is Music Theory?

Music theory is the study of how music works, how its built and it provides a way to explain and describe the music we hear.  Studying music theory complements learning any musical instrument.

Topics Covered

  • General Knowledge: Learn all the musical symbols, signs and words that regularly appear in music.
  • Notation: Know how composers write down music and learn how to do it yourself.
  • Rhythm:  Understand time signatures, beats, pulses, note groupings and syncopation.
  • Tonality:  Know how to recognise and write major and minor keys, chords and scales, understand intervals (distance between notes), modulation (changing keys) and transposition (writing a piece or song in a different key).
  • Harmony: Gain a deeper understanding of chords, how chords work to complement a melody and which chords sound great together.
  • Musical Form: Learn how composers use common plans to form their music and how to de-construct pieces to better understand them.
  • Instruments: Learn about the instruments of the orchestra, what they sound like, their ranges and how they produce sound.

Why Will This Help Me?

Developing your theory skills has many practical benefits that will make you a better all around musician and help you to progress more quickly.  For example:
  • Learn your pieces faster and more thoroughly
  • Memorize your pieces more easily
  • Improve your sight reading
  • Better understand what you are playing 
  • Understand musical language and terminology so you can better communicate with teachers, examiners and fellow music students
  • Recognise scales in your pieces 
  • Recognise patterns and chord progressions in your pieces 
  • Identify sections and structures in your pieces
  • Read music in related blocks of information instead of individual unrelated dots on a page.  Like reading words and sentences instead of sounding out every letter.

Is Music Theory a Requirement?

Even a beginner is learning some form of simple theory during their piano lessons.  So, in a way it is compulsory although not formally.

However, if you want to take piano exams then AMEB have theory prerequisites to meet for the advanced piano grades before you can receive your piano exam certificate.  

AMEB Prerequisites
 Piano Exam  Theory Exam Requirement
Grade 6 Grade 2 
Grade 7  Grade 3 
Grade 8  Grade 4 

What Levels Do We Teach?

Our students have been very successful in AMEB theory exams from grade 1 to grade 6.

Group Lessons or Private?

Some students are best suited to an individual lesson but many work well in a well-organised class of 4-6 students.  So, we cater for both when possible.  If we can coordinate a theory course class with several students (a feat intself!) then we are happy to run a structured course in preparation for a specific exam date.

What Do We Use?

We us a variety of resources available including our own Treviano Theory Course for grades 2, 3, 4 and 5.  This consists of an information booklet and plenty of worksheets for each topic covered to practise your skills.  We also have a music whiteboard to work more interactively with the student.