Grade 1 Music Theory

A complete, step by step and practical way to learn music theory and discover how music really works.

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What You Will Learn

Become fluent in the fundamentals of music theory with the Grade 1 Music Theory course.

It's our belief that every musician needs to have the theory knowledge that supports their playing, singing, or composing skills. This course features clear explanations of music notation, many worked examples and practice exercises, definitions of important words and concepts, specimen questions and many helpful tips for students. As well as being suitable for candidates preparing for ABRSM music theory exams, this course also provides an excellent resource for anyone wishing to develop general music literacy skills. During the Grade 1 Music Theory course we'll cover...

  • Notes and Rhythm - How do notes and rests work? What are the ways in which we can beam notes together? How do time signatures and bar lines function?
  • Pitch and Accidentals - What is a clef? How do you identify the names of the notes? How do sharps, flats and naturals work and what do they mean?
  • Major Keys and Scales - What are semitones and tones and why we need to know about them? How do you work out a scale or the key of a piece? What are the different degrees of the scale?
  • Intervals and Chords - How do you identify melodic and harmonic intervals? How do you build chords? What is a tonic triad?
  • Writing Music - How do you start writing music? What do all the musical signs and terms mean? How do you put music theory to good use?


I have learnt so much from you! So comprehensive, I truly appreciate your instructions. I’m an adult beginner pianist and your theory instruction has given me such a boost!

- Bronwyn


Who Is This Course For?

All keen music students, performers and examination candidates.

Can you think of any other human endeavour where not knowing what you're doing is considered a positive? Understanding music theory is of great importance to all musicians. Music is a universal language and knowing how it all works is the key to improving. Our music theory courses cover all the essential elements of music from the ground up and are ideal for students preparing for examinations, as well as an excellent resource for anyone learning to read music.

Do any of these sound familiar?

"I want to learn how to read music fluently..."

"I can create musical ideas but I can’t write them down..."

"I've got to take a music theory exam but I've never been properly taught…"

"I want to learn theory at my own pace, repeating things I don’t understand and moving on quickly when I get it..."

"When I see music written down there are too many things I don’t understand…"


I am so happy with these videos. Gareth really demystifies what I always thought was quite a difficult thing to do!

- Alison


By the end of the Grade 1 Music Theory course you'll be able to…


Understand the essentials of rhythm


Readily read music in the treble and bass clefs


Confidently work out chords, keys and scales


Recognise time signatures, accidentals and many musical terms


Easily identify melodic and harmonic intervals


Start writing simple answering rhythms and music that works


I really appreciate what you are doing. I’ve learned so much, Gareth — many, many thanks. I’m a choral singer and your classes have helped me understand music on a deeper level.

- Tom


Course Information

What's Included with the Grade 1 Music Theory Course?

Professional Teaching

You'll receive expert tuition, making it easy to follow, digest and internalise all the important concepts of music theory.

Practice Exercises

The course contains a complete set of sample questions for you to test your knowledge after working through the teaching material.

Ask Questions

Below each video you are able to post comments and ask questions should you have any in regards to the course topics covered.              

Easy to Follow Structure

The course is divided into multiple stages, breaking down each part separately before putting in all together.

Complete at Your Own Pace

You can easily fit the course around your regular commitments, completing it at your own pace and in your own time.

Anywhere Access

Your course never expires. Learn when and where you choose! Computer or mobile. Just get comfortable and dive in!

Your Instructor

Gareth Green
Gareth Green

Hi, I’m Gareth and I'm passionate about developing ‘the all round musician’.

Nearly 35 years of music examining with ABRSM, work with the BBC on Radio and TV, experience on the international concert platform, as a published composer and arranger, have brought rich resources to the 40 years of teaching in which I've engaged.

Scholarships at The Royal College of Music, Oxford University and St. Paul’s Cathedral gave me fantastic opportunities to learn from the best musicians, scholars and teachers. Working as Director of Music at Queen Elizabeth Grammar School then provided a wonderful opportunity to develop my teaching skills.

Teaching individuals and groups of all ages, and at all stages of development have refined a teaching approach that I hope is fun and engaging, and focused on explaining things clearly and logically. And that is what these courses are all about - understanding the basic principles with clarity, then going deeper, applying them to your musical life and liberating yourself as a musician.

It’s a rich and amazing journey, and I can’t wait for you to join me today!

Course Curriculum

Available in days
days after you enroll

Frequently Asked Questions

I'm taking a music theory exam, is this course for me?
Absolutely! This course is suitable for candidates preparing for ABRSM music theory exams and covers everything you need to know for the grade. It is also perfect for students studying at school, college or university, as well as anyone else who is interested in learning music theory.
When does the course start and finish?
It is a completely self-paced online course! Watch and replay lessons as you wish - you decide when you start and when you finish.
How long do I have access to the course?
How does lifetime access sound? After enrolling, you have unlimited access to this course for as long as you like - across any and all of the devices you own.
What if I am unhappy with the course?
We stand behind the academic quality of our online courses and are committed to ensuring that you completely satisfied; that’s why we offer a 14 days money back guarantee. Simply send us an email explaining what you didn’t like about the course and why it wasn’t suitable for you and we’ll give you a full refund.
What payment methods do you accept?
Both credit and debit card payments are accepted. You can also pay with PayPal, Apple Pay, and Google Pay.
I need help! Who can help me?
If you have a question related to this course, email [email protected]

A Letter from Gareth Green
MA (Oxon), MA (Leeds), FRCO(CHM), FLCM, ARCM

Many students of music want or need to pass music theory exams and this course is very focused on enabling you to achieve that.

At the same time, theory is about much more than passing exams. Have you ever wondered what it would be like to get inside the mind of a composer? Think of a piece that you’re working on or listening to at the moment. What inspired the composer to write it? When did the composer live and what are the features of musical style at that time? Then what did the composer need to think about in order to compose the piece?

Theory explores the ingredients that bring music to life and, contrary to the idea held by some that theory kills creativity, it’s theory that enables musicians to make sense of their musical ideas.

If we go back in time music was in the world well before anyone dreamt up music theory. So do we really need theory? After all, we can all enjoy music without needing to understand the nuts and bolts. Some musicians have the ability to perform and improvise without completely understanding the theory behind what they are doing. I can manage a few words and phrases in Italian but because I understand more grammar and vocabulary in French I get on much more successfully in French than I do in Italian. Because I understand even more grammar and vocabulary in my native tongue I get on considerably better in English than I do in French. The more we understand of a language, the more fluent we become, and music is often described as a language.

The interesting thing is that music theory was taken very seriously as far back as the time of the Ancient Greeks, who were keen to explain how music worked and to establish why certain approaches were more successful than others. Ever since, theory has continuously evolved to keep pace with explaining musical development.

Having taught music for over 40 years, my experience is that the more students understand theory, the more they understand and appreciate the music they perform, and the more excited, creative and engaged they become.

Don’t learn theory for the sake of learning theory. Engage with music as a listener, a performer, and/ or as a composer then grasp the theory that will equip you to reach your full potential as a musician. That’s what makes music theory so exciting! Enjoy!

Gareth Green, Music Matters

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