Why Study Music Theory?
The study of music theory is foundational to the study of music. Students who study theory as well as piano are quicker note readers and better sight readers and can therefore learn new music more quickly and accurately than students who do not study music theory. Furthermore, studying music theory gives students the skills they need to compose their own music.
In British Columbia students who take exams through RCM can obtain credit towards their high-school graduation. I did this when I was in high school and ended up being eligible for all sorts of scholarships and awards as a result of it.
Common Questions I am often asked about the study of Music Theory:
How many theory classes are there? There is a co-requisite theory course for every level of piano study. Once students reach Level 5 Piano students must take both a piano and a theory exam for each level to obtain certification for that level.
Can I skip some theory exams? Yes! It is recommended that students study theory alongside each level of piano study. However, students may choose not to take a theory exam until Level 8 Theory.
At what age would you recommend starting theory exams? When your child is in Level 5 piano it is recommended that your child takes the Level 5 theory exam. However, you can just study the theory at each level and not take your first theory exam until Level 8 theory.
At what point should I have a separate piano and theory lesson? Once a student reaches Level 7 or 8 Theory students can choose to have either one long lesson or split their study of piano and theory into two separate lessons.
How does taking theory exams through RCM benefit my child? Students who study theory as well as piano are quicker note readers and better sight readers and can therefore learn new music more quickly and more accurately. Furthermore, in British Columbia students who take exams through RCM can obtain credit towards their high-school graduation.
Can I study theory during my regular piano lesson? Yes. All of my piano students study theory to a certain extent. However, if you are preparing for a theory exam you will likely need to increase the length of your weekly piano lesson by 15 minutes so you have ample time to cover all the material.
Where can I write a RCM theory Exam? In Chilliwack at an RCM examination centre.
Which RCM exams do I need to take to get credit towards high-school graduation?
Level 6 Piano AND Level 6 Theory will give you 1x Grade 10 Credit
Level 7 Piano AND Level 7 Theory will give you 1x Grade 11 Credit
Level 8 Piano AND Level 8 Theory will give you 1x Grade 12 Credit
Level 9 Piano AND Level 9 Harmony will give you 1x Grade 12 Credit
Level 10 Piano AND Level 10 Harmony & Counterpoint will give you 1x Grade 12 Credit