Essential Music Theory: Grade 5

trumpet lying on lots of sheet music

Key information:

Course dates:
Monday 25–Friday 29 July 2022
Course times:
10am–4pm daily, BST (UTC+1)
Art form:
Fees with accommodation:
9am, Friday 8 July 2022
Level of study:
Short Courses and Summer Schools
Mode of study:
Guildhall School of Music & Drama

Course info

This course is now full. Please join our waiting list and we will contact you if a space becomes available.

Ages 11–17/18+

Course Dates & Times

Monday 25–Friday 29 July 2022
10am–4pm daily, BST (UTC+1)

About Essential Music Theory: Grade 5

This five-day in-person course is ideal if you are preparing for the ABRSM Grade 5 Music Theory exam and/or want to improve your knowledge of music theory as it aims to address all elements of the ABRSM Grade 5 Music Theory syllabus. The course draws upon intuitive musical understanding and focuses on stave notation. The syllabus will also provide you with a foundation for more advanced music theory studies.

[ABRSM music theory exams now take place exclusively online and can be booked at numerous points in the year via the ABRSM website. Please note exam entry is not included in the course fee, and exam entries are not administered by Guildhall School.]

Who is the course for?

Anyone aged 11+ with knowledge of ABRSM Grade 3 Music Theory, or the equivalent.

What can I expect?

The course will alternate between group sessions, independent working and 1:1 sessions with the course tutor.

There are three broad topic areas:

  • Time: understanding the notation of durations, metre and rhythm
  • Pitch: understanding the notation of steps, intervals and patterns, tonality and harmony
  • Sound and sense: understanding terminology, concepts, instruments and voices

Most exercises involve writing within the required publications and on manuscript paper. Some of the exam-style questions will be conducted online in the classroom.

Do I need anything for the course?
  • Manuscript paper
  • Pencil
  • Pencil sharpener
  • Eraser
  • Ruler 
  • A laptop for online exercises (desirable but not essential)
  • Publications as set out below, please ensure you have all these publications in advance of the course:
Workbooks (to be purchased in advance of the course)
Sample papers (to be purchased in advance of the course)
Free sample papers (please print if possible and bring to the class)


"Taking this course can really help with your understanding of music theory and that is worth it!"

– participant on Essential Music Theory—Grade 5: Online, 2021

Course Fee

Course fee: £425
Course fee + Bed, Breakfast & Dinner: £935

Participation Bursaries are available for this course (Please note the application deadlines for participation bursaries are 25 March 2022 for the Easter course, and 13 June 2022 for the summer course).

This course is now full. Please join our waiting list and we will contact you if a space becomes available



Accommodation is available for the summer course only.

Check-in: 4-6pm, Sunday 24 July 2022
Check-out: 10am, Saturday 30 July 2022

Accommodation is located in Sundial Court, the School's student halls of residence. Rooms will be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis. Should we not be able to facilitate your booking, you will be notified via email and a full refund will be issued.

About the Course Tutor

The course is taught by pianist Andrew Bottrill, professor at Guildhall School of Music & Drama.

During Andrew's time at Guildhall School, where he studied with James Gibb and Edith Vogel, he was awarded five prizes together with numerous scholarships, notably the BP and the Carnwath awards. He was a finalist in the Dudley piano competition and gained the Guildhall School of Music & Drama Premier Prix Concert Recital Diploma.  

In 2000, he gained an MA in Music Education from the University of London, which consolidated his considerable and diverse experience as a teacher. In 1997, he became a professor at the Royal College of Music and in 2002 he returned to Guildhall School of Music & Drama to teach within the Music Studies and Keyboard departments.  

Andrew is also a Director and Trustee of the London International Piano Competition and Head of Keyboard at Latymer Upper School.

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