Music Theory Class for Adults: Grade 1

Two and a half Saturdays

Ancient Egyptian musicians

This intensive 2.5 day course covers Grade 1 of AMEB Musicianship, with extra material showing how the theory applies to both classical and contemporary music. We learn many of the basics of scales, keys, rhythm, and notation, and introduce the tools of composition. Learn the secrets of music, and how to apply them. For adults who are learning to sing or play a musical instrument, or experienced musicians wanting to refresh their knowledge.
Grades 1 and 2 are also available in one combined 8-week course, which covers the material at a more steady pace, with more time for revision.

Course Outline

Day 1, 10:00am - 4:00pm

  • The western tonal system
  • Basic qualities of a note
  • Putting the notes together
  • Using the elements of music
  • Pitch and Music Notation
  • The physics of music
  • Treble and bass clef, names of notes, leger lines
  • Sharps, flats and naturals
  • The origins of western pitch
  • Tempo and Time Signatures
  • Tempo
  • Simple time signatures: 2/4, 3/4, 4/4
  • How rhythm is notated
  • Various rhythmic symbols
  • Anacrusis
  • Ties and slurs
  • Beginning Composition
  • Rhythmic invention: accented words in poetry

Day 2, 10:00am - 4:00pm

  • Scales and Keys
  • Tones and semitones
  • Naming intervals by number
  • Major scales
  • Key signatures
  • The Cycle of Fifths
  • Minor Scales and Keys
  • Scale degree numbers
  • Major and minor relatives
  • Natural minor, harmonic minor and melodic minor scales
  • Transposition
  • Range
  • Transposing a melody
  • Chords
  • Introduction to harmony
  • Types of chords
  • Harmonising a melody
  • The Tonic triad
  • Using Roman numerals to label chords
  • Articulation
  • Articulation and phrasing
  • Legato and staccato
  • Terms and signs for Grade 1

Day 3, 10:00am - 12:00pm

  • Revision and answering questions
  • Going through homework and past paper

Should I do Grade 1 or Grades 1-2?

You can cover the material of Grades 1 and 2 over two separate 2.5 day courses, or in one 8-week course. The two options cover the same material, but the 8-week version does it at a more steady pace, with more time for revision along the way. The weekend versions of each grade are a little more intensive. There’s always room for plenty of questions in both.

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More information

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Related Courses

Grade 1 (you are here)

Grade 2

Grades 1-2 combined

Grade 3

Grade 4

Grade 5

Grade 6

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“Lovely group, great examples of music to demonstrate concepts, highly recommended for adult learning. Thank you Susan!” – Gaye, Pyrmont

“Enjoyed varied teaching material – listening, watching visual. Good explanation of content and overview of ‘big picture.’ ” Liz, Lindfield

“This has been most beneficial – putting everything into contect. Historical connections are very helpful. You used very good analogies and the use of recorded music and hand clapping was valuable”

“A major plus was the obvious enthusiasm and ability you have to explain”

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About Susan Deas

Susan Deas is a professional musician, lecturer and teacher. She has been teaching piano for over twenty years, and her students learn both classical and contemporary styles, including playing by ear and improvisation. Susan also gives professional development workshops and lessons to private music teachers. She performs professionally as a pianist and organist, and lectures in music theory and music appreciation for Sydney University’s Centre for Continuing Education. Susan’s training includes a Bachelor of Music with a major in Performance (Piano) and Musicology, a Master of Music Studies (Studio Pedagogy), a Bachelor of Arts (Communications), and an A.Mus.A in Musicianship. Susan is an Accredited Member of the Music Teachers’ Association of NSW.

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