MusicTheory Grade 1 And 2 Fast Track

Who is this course for

This course is open to anyone who has an interest in notating and understanding music through extensive theoretical and musicianship exercises. No previous knowledge, experience or skills are required. Absolute beginners and those with some elementary knowledge will find this course appropriate. Those seeking a refresher course could also find it useful.
This course (Fast Track) will combine the syllabuses of Grades 1 & 2 and will therefore move at a faster pace than when the grades were offered over two terms.

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.
Topics covered will include:

Grade 1
Introduction to principles of notation
The treble and bass clefs
Note values
Rhythm, time signatures and metre
Introduction to scales (major)
Key signatures
Performance directions

Grade 2
Ledger lines; Time signatures; The major keys of A, B-flat and E-flat; Triplets The minor keys of A, E and D; Groupings of notes and rests; Intervals; more performance directions

1. Have a thorough understanding of the topics covered
2. Put these into practice in the form of written exercises
3. Be able to work through these exercises independently and unaided (depending on progress in the class).

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 or recordings will be played.
Input and discussion from students will be encouraged.

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

What else do you need to buy or do

Discovering Music Theory (Grade 1) by Simon Rushby (£6.50) and Discovering Music Theory (Grade 2) by Simon Rushby (£6.95).(Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music)
These are new workbooks, designed to support the new format of exams

First Steps in Music Theory by Eric Taylor (£6.95)
(Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music)

Additional manuscript paper and pencils, rubber, ruler. A folder or file to keep additional handouts given by the tutor.

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 or 2 Theory Examination ABRSM (in June or November, according to student's preference). Exam costs about £30, and applicants receive a certificate and breakdown of marks. Post-Covid these exams are now taken on-line and the Centre can assist in providing technical support for taking these exams where necessary.
Piano, or other instrumental lessons, solo/choir singing, and further studies in theory. Please ask the tutor 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

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.’