Frequently Asked Questions
Why do I need to pass Grade 5 theory?
If you wish to take ABRSM Grade 6 or above on any instrument, you will need to have first passed Grade 5 or above in Music Theory, Practical Musicianship or a solo Jazz Instrument. Music Theory is also a valuable subject in its own right! By studying Music Theory, most people find that their playing improves as they have a greater understanding of many of the basic principles of music.
Do I need to take any of the lower grades before I take Grade 5?
No – the course will prepare you to take Grade 5 and it is not necessary to take any of the lower grades first. If that seems a little daunting, then maybe you should take our Grade 3 course followed by the Grade 3 to 5 course.
What happens if I miss a lesson?
It’s really important that you attend all of the lessons to make sure that you don’t get behind. Every lesson is important! However, if you are unable to attend a lesson for any reason, then you will be emailed the notes on the topics covered and the homework for the week.
How much homework will I be given each week?
You should expect the homework to take about the same amount of time as the lesson each week. However, as the exam gets closer, you will be given past papers to do for homework, which may take anything up to 2 hours each.
Is the exam different for different instruments?
No – the course and the exam are exactly the same regardless of which instrument you play.
How many students are in each class?
There will be a maximum of 4 students in a class.
Where will I take the exam?
Grades 1-5 exams are now online. You will need to be in a room with good internet connection. Before the exam starts, you will have to do a ‘sweep’ of the room with a camera to show that there is nothing in the room that could be used to give you an unfair advantage.
Grades 6-8 are still paper exams at the moment – please indicate your preferred examination centre on the online application form.
How long is the exam?
You will be allowed 2 hours to take Grade 5, 90 minutes for Grade 3, and 3 hours for grades 6 and 8. You will not be allowed to leave the exam room/submit your online paper in the first 40 minutes. After that, you may leave – but I would recommend that you don’t until you have checked and double-checked all of your answers.
Will there be any extra costs?
No – everything is included, including the exam entry fee, all study material, practice questions and past papers.
I’ve already taken some theory exams with another teacher – which course is best for me?
The best thing to do is to get in touch to discuss the best course for you.
Tell me about the goodie bag!
At your first lesson, you will be given a goodie bag to help organise all of your study material. This should be brought to your lesson each week. The bag includes a ring binder, pencil case, pens, pencils and a ruler, and the first of two sets of flashcards, designed to help you learn all of the Italian, German and French terms together with other performance directions that are required knowledge for the exam.
How do I book?
Choose a course from the drop-down menu on the application form. Fill in the rest of the details and submit the form. Payment is by bank transfer.
How often are the exam sessions?
There are now six dates a year for online exams (Grades 1-5) and three sessions each year for paper exams (Grades 6-8). It’s important that you choose a date that fits around any other commitments such as GCSEs or A-levels.
What happens if I decide not to finish the course?
That would be a shame! The amount of information may seem overwhelming at times, but it is much better to persevere and finish the course/take the exam. So far, everyone has finished the course, and everyone has passed the exam!
Will I get a refund if I decide not to finish the course?
No, refunds will not be given.