This course has concessions available

Music Theory: Grade 1

A series of modular courses which prepare students for the (optional) ABRSM exam; many of those who take the exam pass with distinction. A complete beginner would start at Grade I and could, with tutor guidance and the support of Kodály musicianship exercises, attain the Grade V qualification within 2 years.

If you would like enrol at the concession rate, please request and complete your enrolment by contacting: or calling 020 7269 6000 Mon- Thu

Available Classes:

Who is this course for

This course is open to anyone who has an interest in notating and understanding written music through extensive theoretical musicianship exercises. No previous knowledge, experience or skills are required. Absolute beginners and those with some elementary knowledge will find it this course appropriate. Those seeking a refresher course could also find it useful.

What does this course cover

This course aims to give an introduction to the fundamentals of Western music notation. Topics are taught in fortnightly blocks (depending on the complexity of the topic) with frequent revision schemes. Some historical background will be given where appropriate.

A list of topics covered will include: Introduction to notation principles: The treble clef; The bass clef; Note values; Rhythm Metre; Introduction to scales (major/minor); Key signatures; Accidentals; Time signatures; Intervals

Part of this course is also devoted to musicianship excercises which aim through singing and clapping to develop the topics covered in a practical way. For this relative sol-fa is used (no previous knowledge of this is required).

By the end of the course, students should:
1. Have a thorough understanding of the topics covered
2. Put these into practice in the form of written excercises
3. Musicianship excercises (e.g singing in sol-fa, clapping rhythms) appropriate for this level

What will it be like

The course will be taught in a seminar/workshop environment

The piano will be used when demonstrating various aspects. Sometimes short pieces of recordings will be played.

Input and discussion from students will be encouraged.

Musicianship excercises will supplement the theoretical excercises (see above)
All written work done by students will be checked regularly, sometimes by the tutor and someitmes by fellow students (in pairs). At the same time special attention will be given to various additional questions/ difficulties of individual students by discussing there in class.

What else do you need to buy or do

Music Theory in Practice (Grade 1) by Eric Taylor (2.95) (Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music)

First Steps in Music Theory by Eric Taylor (5.95) (Associate Board of the Royal Schools of Music)

The tutor is able to buy these on behalf of the student, and orders can be placed in the first week of term.

Additional manuscript paper and pencils, rubber, ruler.

Some homework will be given each week. Students should be prepared to spend up to half an hour on this. It is recommended that students do their homework in order to make more sense of class work. It is also helpful to go over the material covered in the class during the week.

Instrumental lessons are strongly encouraged, as is singing in a choir. In this respect, students may like to consider enrolling in one of the choirs at the Mary Ward centre, or some of the ensemble classes for string.

What this course could lead to

Take Grade 1 Theory Examination ABRSM (next term). Piano, or other instrumental lessons, choir singing, further theoretical studies. please ask for advice.
There is detailed information in Reception about all our courses at the Mary Ward Centre.

Information about other learning opportunities can be obtained from Learn Direct: and from the following websites:;;;;

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I've been to many Centres to study in London and the Mary Ward Centre is one of the nicest I've studied in.

MWC student


This course has concessions available for people who meet certain criteria

Got a Question about this Course?

Contact The Departmental Administrator.

Why choose Mary Ward?

Mary Ward Centre is the adult education centre with a difference. We provide a wide range of subjects for people at all levels and run courses during the day, evening and weekends to suit your timetable. You can learn face to face at one of our centres (Bloomsbury or Waterloo) or take an online course

Get inspired and enjoy excellent teaching in an environment where each individual’s learning experience is valued. That’s what makes Mary Ward Centre ‘the friendly place to learn.’