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Introduction Hello and thanks for downloading this Music Theory Resources eBook. I hope you find the information included useful.

WHATS IN THIS GUIDE? This guide contains dozens of pages of advice, tips, useful links, resources, book and app recommendations plus loads more to aid both students, parents and teachers to make learning about and passing a music theory exam easy.

WHO MADE THIS GUIDE? This guide was brought to you by Dan Farrant of Hello Music Theory, a site dedicated to helping people study for their music theory exam. All of our teachers are graduates of the Royal Academy of Music in London with decades of teaching /hellomusictheory @hmusictheory /hellomusictheory

music behind us.

DO I NEED TO READ THE WHOLE THING? Of course you don’t, but it depends on where you are at in your music theory journey. Hopefully, there will be something in here that you find useful whether that’s links to books to start learning or apps and revision resources to use as your exam day draws near. Good luck and get in touch if you have any questions, Dan Farrant - Hello Music Theory

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Recommended Music Theor y Books If you, like many others, prefer to hold and feel a book rather than learn on the computer then here’s our list of recommended music theory books. Even if you’re studying online these can be great reference tools and it’ll be worth investing in a couple to refer to when you don’t quite remember something. For more recommendations and for books about individual grades we have a blog post with with all of our favourites listed on.

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AB GUIDE TO MUSIC THEORY PART I B Y E R I C TAY L O R This book is a very common way to learn music theory and is actually one of the ways I first learnt. Part one covers everything you need to know for grades 1 - 5 and is a very in-depth look at music harmony and structure. Whilst being very comprehensive it is quite hard to digest without a teacher and can feel old-fashioned. Still, it is a fantastic reference tool and I own a copy.

£5.00 / $6.50

AB GUIDE TO MUSIC THEORY PART II B Y E R I C TAY L O R The second book in the series by Eric Taylor covers some more complex musical harmony and carries on from the previous book. I’d say it was for grades 5+. I also own a copy of this and it’s another wonderful reference book when learning and studying music theory. It does assume you’ve read part one though and again can be quite hard to digest, especially without a teacher to guide you.

£7.00 / $8.50 ! | 5

MUSIC THEORY WORKSHEETS BY HELLO MUSIC THEORY Over the years we’ve made hundreds of our own exercises and worksheets to help our students get some practice in for certain topics. Each pack contains hundreds of exercises on all the topics that you’ll be expected to know for each grade. As they’re digital downloads so can be printed off instantly and as many times as needed and so are great for teachers. DOWNLOAD NOW


THEORY OF MUSIC MADE EASY BY LISA NG This series of books by Lisa Ng are a great resources for children when it comes to learning music theory. It’s all laid out very clearly and simply and is full of illustrations to keep younger children engaged. She covers every grade too.

£5.00 / $6.50 ! | 6

MUSIC THEORY IN PRACTICE B Y E R I C TAY L O R This series of books is one of the more popular options when studying music theory and it’s what I used when studying for my own music theory exams. It contains lots of exercises for each different subject within the syllabus. It also has brief explanations of things but really needs to be used in conjunction with the AB books I and II to get the most out of it.

£5.50 / $7.00

MUSIC THEORY PRACTICE PAPERS BY HELLO MUSIC THEORY We’ve made some PDF Practice Paper Packs for grades 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 to help those preparing for their ABRSM music theory exam. Each pack contains five papers and all the model answers. We made these by analysing the last 5 years of the actual exams to make sure they represent what you will face in the real thing. DOWNLOAD NOW

$10.00 ! | 7

Music Theor y Mobile Apps If you’re wanting to get some practice in on the move then there are a couple of iPhone and iPad apps that we can recommend. They’re really useful for learning too with whole apps full of lessons.

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TENUTO ###### ###### ###### ###### ###### ######

BY MUSICTHEORY.NET We love this app. It’s a really useful collection of exercises designed to help you become more musical. With exercises on ear training, chord and interval recognition. It also has some useful calculators to help you with accidentals, more intervals and chords. # #

£3.99 / $5.00

THEORY LESSONS a##### ###### ###### ######

BY MUSICTHEORY.NET These guys have made some great iPhone and iPad apps to learn music theory on the go. This is the second of their apps that contains all their lessons and teaching.


Highly recommended and at £2.99 its an absolute steal. There is a free version on


their website though which is worth a look at too.

# #

£2.99 / $3.00 ! | 9

MUSIC THEORY PRO ###### ###### ###### ###### ######

BY JOEL CLIFFT A great music theory app with games and exercises to help you with note naming, key signatures, interval ear training, scales, modes, chords and lots more. It’s a staple of any music theory student and comes recommended from us!


# #

£3.99 / $5.00

MUSIC THEORY BASICS ###### ###### ###### ###### ###### ######

B Y PAT R I C K Q . K E L L Y This app covers five different modules: notes, keys, intervals, chords and rhythms. Each module is full of different tests and quizzes to make sure you’re getting to grips with all that you need to know for each grade. A fantastic app and definitely one of our goto recommendations.

# #

£7.99 / $10.50 ! 10 |

Practice Papers A very important part of preparing for your music theory exam is making sure you do some practice papers. Especially if you’re going to be sitting an ABRSM music theory exam. By not taking some you’re pretty much setting yourself up to fail. They are an essential part of your preparation and in the next few pages, I’ll explain why.

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WHY YOU SHOULD TAKE PRACTICE PAPERS Taking some practice papers in advance of your exam is absolutely crucial to passing a music theory exam. Why? Well here are a few reasons: • It gets you familiar with the sort of questions that will be asked • It shows you where your strengths are • It shows you where your weaknesses are • It gets you used to the pressure of answering within a time limit If more people took practice papers before a music theory exam there would definitely be less people failing every year.

HOW YOU SHOULD USE THEM With all our students, we recommend they should take as many papers as possible before the exam. At least four or five but preferably a lot more if you can to get really comfortable with the format of the questions. With our students we recommend taking one a week in the run up to exam day and then and then lots more exercises on the things they are struggling with to get them to understanding everything. This is the best way to ensure you pass your exam first time.

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WHERE DO YOU GET SOME? There are a couple options of where to get practice papers from. If you go to the ABRSM website - you can purchase a pack of four exams for around £4 + postage. The answers are another £3 or £4 on top too. Another option is the our practice papers packs. We’ve created five PDF Practice Paper Packs covering grades 1 - 5 that you can download from our website. We’ve made these from gathering the ABRSM past papers over the last 5 years


and analysing the questions making sure that we’ve included questions on every


possible thing that you could be asked in the real exam.


You can download a pack of five from our website for just $10.00 What we like about them is you get them instantly (as they’re sent to your email address.) You don’t have to wait for them to be delivered or spend loads of money getting them posted especially if you don’t live in the UK. Our packs include all the model answers too so you can see where you’re going wrong, plus, we offer a 30-day money-back guarantee so you can try them riskfree. For more information head over to our website practice-papers

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Video Courses These are lots of ways to learn about music theory and a really good way is through online courses. It lets you learn at your own pace and comfort of your own home. We’ve listed a few of the different ones we’ve come across that are pretty good.

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WWW.UDEMY.COM Udemy is an online course website dedicated to learning different things. It’s literally full of people teaching all sorts of different things. We’ve used it before (although not for music theory courses) but there seem to be a lot of options when it comes to options to learn music theory. Worth a look and some of the courses are even free.


WWW.YOUTUBE.COM There are hundreds, probably thousands of videos on YouTube teaching music theory and it can be a great way to look up reference videos on specific topics that you’re studying. The sheer amount of videos available does make it quite an overwhelming place to begin though so we’d probably only recommend it for the odd reference now and then. If you find any good ones let us know and we’ll add to this list.


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WWW.DAVECONSERVATOIRE.ORG A great website full of videos about learning music. Their learning music theory is probably more aimed at beginners but could be good for reference and to brush up on things that you’re not too sure about. They also have some videos on reading music as well as ear training for being able to recognise intervals etc.


WWW.HELLOMUSICTHEORY.COM 2018 is the year that we start making youtube videos teaching music theory. We’ve got a lot of videos planned out and so if you’d like to support us in the this new endeavour you can subscribe to our youtube channel.


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Booking An Exam Who? When? Where? What? Why? How much? Everything you need to know about booking an ABRSM music theory exam in 2018 is below. For countries other than the UK head over to

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UK 2018 ONLINE E N T R Y D AT E S Spring: 19th January 2018 Summer: 11th May 2018 Autumn: 28th September 2019

WHEN ARE THE EXAMS? So in most countries there are ABRSM Music Theory exams three times a year. In the spring, in the summer and in the autumn. But depending on where in the world you are these will be on different dates and some countries only have one or two exams per year. If you want to see when the exams are, go to the ABRSM website:

UK 2018 EXAMS D AT E S Spring: 28th February 2018 To change the location look in the top right-hand corner of the website and you can select your location.

Summer: 16th June 2018 Autumn: 7th November 2018


DOWNLOAD #### NOW ####

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WHERE ARE THE EXAMS Exams happen all over the world. To see where your nearest exam centre is you can use this link to the ABRSM website. The exams usually take place in schools or local halls but it’s worth checking where the nearest location is before you book the exam.

HOW MUCH ARE THE EXAMS? Grade 1 - £27.00 Grade 2 - £29.00 Grade 3 - £32.00 Grade 4 - £34.00 Grade 5 - £37.00 This will vary though depending on what country you’re in It’ll be worth checking the website for your country to see prices in your local currency.

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Exam Tips Who likes taking an exam? I’m not sure anyone does. Music theory exams are no exception and can be even more nerve-wracking as usually, people will only take one or two of them in their lifetime. Here are my Top Music Theory Exam Tips for anyone sitting an ABRSM exam this year.

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1. PREPARING FOR A MUSIC THEORY EXAM My dad always said, “You have to remember the five Ps… Perfect Planning Prevents Pathetic Performance” and your music theory exam is no exception. You need to prepare and plan out what you need to cover before the exam date and make sure you have enough time to learn and practice all the different questions that you are going to be asked. Check out the syllabus for the grade you’re taking.


Making sure you’ve worked through all the subjects in the grade that you are taking is very important so you don’t have any unexpected surprises. You should also complete some worksheets and very importantly, you need to do some practice papers. This is essential to giving yourself the best chance of passing. You can put yourself under “exam conditions” and time yourself so to get comfortable with how long you have for each question. One thing to be aware of is to make sure the past papers you are practising with are suited to the examining board that your exam is for. You don’t want to be practising Trinity papers when you’re doing an ABRSM exam!

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2. WHAT EQUIPMENT WILL I NEED TO BRING? You’ll need to take a few different bits of equipment with you for your music theory exam. The main things to remember are: • A pencil • A second pencil (in case the first breaks) • A pencil sharpener • An eraser • A ruler (some people like to bring a ruler to help when drawing the stems of the notes to make them extra straight) Now you might be wondering “should I use a pen to fill out my exam paper?” Well AB regulations say that "Candidates should bring their own pens or pencils.” They don’t specify that you HAVE to use either but I'd highly recommend you go with pencil given the choice. It’s a lot easier to correct any mistakes.

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3. HAVE A GOOD BREAKFAST The third and probably the most important of our music theory exam tips is to have a good breakfast on the morning of exam day. Your concentration levels could be the difference between a pass and a fail and something as simple as a good breakfast (or lunch if your exam is in the afternoon) is essential. Make sure you stay hydrated and take a bottle of water with you. Try to avoid coffee and sugary food as although this will give you a boost in the short term the come down won’t help and will lead you to be distracted and unable to focus.

4. GET COMFORTABLE Make sure you’re comfortable by arriving early. There is nothing worse than rushing and stressing about whether you’re going to make it on time when taking an exam. You’ll arrive in a sweat, uncomfortable and flustered which isn’t going to help your cause. Arrive at least 20 minutes early (I’d arrive 30 minutes personally) and make sure you go to the toilet in case nature calls half way through. Wear some layers so if the exam room is like a sauna you can take a jumper off and vice versa if it’s like the north pole you won’t be too cold.

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5. MAKE YOUR OWN RESOURCES When you sit down to take your music theory exam you’ll be given your exam paper and also a piece of manuscript paper to use for notes. I highly recommend you draw out a piano keyboard so you can visualise the notes when working out intervals or write out a circle of fifths for when you’re working out key signatures and relative minors. Write out or draw whatever things will help you to get to the answer and not make any mistakes.

6. BE NEAT It sounds quite obvious but if the examiner marking your paper can’t read your writing or can’t quite tell if the note is on the ledger line or in the space below the ledger line they can’t mark the question correct. Take your time and make your answers as clear and as legible as possible. If you make a mistake cross it out with one straight line through it and then write your new answer next to it.

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7. WHAT HAPPENS IF YOU GET STUCK It happens to all of us. You’ve revised everything but on the day you can’t quite remember the definition of cantabile. Does it mean “in a smooth singing style” or “sweetly?” (It’s the first by the way.) If you get stuck on a question just move on. Go through the paper and answer all the questions you know first. Once you’ve completed everything you know you can then go back and try the ones you’re not too sure about. Make sure you keep an eye on the clock though. Do not leave any questions unanswered. You’re better off hazarding a good guess or attempting the question. You will get zero marks for a question left unanswered but you never know your guess might be right!

8. CHECK YOUR ANSWERS Try to leave some time at the end of your exam to go through your completed paper and check all of your answers. I know no one likes to check their answers but we all make mistakes. The last thing you want to do is to have to retake your music theory exam and checking could be the difference between passing and failing or a merit and a distinction. Good luck!

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Other Resources There are lots of other useful things we’ve found over the years. Everything from websites to help you learn about music theory, to flashcard apps and helping you learn the musical terms and symbols. Here’s a round up of everything that we can think of that you might find helpful.

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MUSIC PERFORMANCE TERMS TO LEARN There are a lot of musical performance terms and symbols that you need to know. It’s not easy when they’re in different languages too. Find out which ones you need to know for each grade and their definition using the links below. Grade 1 Musical Terms

Grade 4 Musical Terms

Grade 2 Musical Terms

Grade 5 Italian Terms

Grade 3 Musical Terms

Grade 5 German Terms

FLASHCARDS Learning all those different Italian, French and German musical terms, performance directions and notes especially in clefs you’re not too familiar with is tough. Using flashcards is a great way to get them drummed into your head. We’ve put together a few flashcard packs using Quizlet to help you learn everything and it’s totally free. Head over to our flashcards page on our site to find out more.

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2018 ABRSM THEORY SYLLABUS As of January 2018 ABRSM has changed their syllabus slightly. The links below are to download the new syllabuses from the ABRSM website for 2018’s exams. Grade 1 Syllabus 2018

Grade 4 Syllabus 2018

Grade 2 Syllabus 2018

Grade 5 Syllabus 2018


Grade 3 Syllabus 2018 40,000

The format of the exams has changed too so make sure you the practice papers your doing aren’t from 2017 and earlier as they won’t include everything you need


to know. They also contain some questions that won’t be asked in the new exams. All of our practice papers are modelled on the new ABRSM syllabus.







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USEFUL WEBSITES There are lots of other useful sites for learning and studying music theory. Here are a few of our favourites that hopefully you’ll find useful. - Open source (free) music theory textbook - Free theory lessons and exercises - Free exercises and tutorials music theory for musicians and normal people - One page summaries of music theory topics music theory worksheets - All our worksheets on different topics - Details on everything you need for the exam music theory subreddit - Community of people interested in music theory

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Thanks And Disclaimer Thanks for reading this far and I hope you’ve found some of the information helpful! I update this guide a every year as I find new things that I think might help so drop me an email if you want to get the most up to date version. If you want to get in touch with any questions about music theory or the resources I’ve mentioned in the guide please don’t hesitate to email me. Finally, if you have any suggestions of how we can make this eBook better please let us know. Good luck! Dan Farrant - Hello Music Theory

© 2018 Dan Farrant - Hello Music Theory All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, including photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, without the prior written permission of the publisher.

LEGAL Apple, the Apple logo, iPhone, and iPod touch are trademarks of Apple Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries. App Store is a service mark of Apple Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries.

AFFILIATE EARNINGS DISCLOSURE I’ve always believed in being upfront so just to let you know that some of the links in this guide are affiliate links. That means if you buy the product through the link we’ll get a small commission. I have put these products up though because I genuinely recommend them, not just to get a commission.

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Music Theory Resources 2018  

A round-up of all of our favourite music theory resources. Book recommendations, exam information, worksheets, practice papers, exam tips an...

Music Theory Resources 2018  

A round-up of all of our favourite music theory resources. Book recommendations, exam information, worksheets, practice papers, exam tips an...