Piano Music Theory

Typical lesson arrangements

Usually, we prepare pupils ready to take the grade 2 examination in practical piano before making a start with theory lessons. After that examination has been passed, we recommend a small increase in lesson times so as to include theory teaching. We work with the ABRSM books shown in the above photograph.    In general, pupils find that the first two books are straightforward, because of their knowledge gained by playing.

Later on

In the next period we expect the pupil to take the grade 3 practical exam, and by this time will usually be ready to take grade 3 theory. Given normal progress (school work permitting) the piano practical grades 4 and 5 will be passed at the rate of one each per year. (click on ‘piano lessons’)   After grade 5 practical has been passed, he or she is usually ready to take grade 5 theory.


As a result of the above method, we enter pupils only for theory grades 3 and 5. We make our own assessment of progress during the intermediate stages.

General arrangements

The suggested arrangements made above are fairly typical, but may be altered to suit individual needs.

Associated board rules

The Associated Board rules stipulate that those candidates wishing to enter for ‘classical’ grades nos. 6 and higher must have passed the theory grade 5 examination. There is no requirement to pass any of the lower grades.