Which Music Theory Book To Use

Ultimate Music Theory Which Book to Use

Music Theory Book - Have you ever wondered Which Music Theory Book to Use as you make the Ultimate Music Theory Series part of your Studio's Music (and Theory) Foundation?

If so, save the link to this blog for future reference.  We will explore which music theory book to use with your students based upon their individual needs and their current music program.

There is an Ultimate Music Theory Workbook for each and every kind of Music Student.  Whether they are a Beginner Student, a "Transfer" Student, an Intermediate Student or an Advanced Level Student.  Whether they are in a "Fun Stream" or are progressing through an "Examination Stream" (for example, the Royal Conservatory of Music).

At Ultimate Music Theory, we have a Workbook to suit your Theory Teaching Needs!  (And we have the matching Answer Workbooks too!)

Which Music Theory Book to Use - Beginner Students

For Beginner (or first year) Students of any age, use the Ultimate Music Theory ABC Series, starting with the Music Theory Beginner A Workbook.

The Music Theory Beginner A Workbook can be assigned at the very first lesson, no matter what Method Series you prefer to use in your studio.

As they build a strong foundation in how to read, write and understand music theory concepts, Students can be assigned as few or as many pages as they want.

I have 5 year old Beginner Students and 65+ year old Beginner Students in the Music Theory Beginner A Workbook.  It really does work for Beginner Students of all ages.

As Students work through the Music Theory Beginner Series (A, B, then C), they will learn how to properly write music notation, how to "Imagine, Compose and Explore" as they create their own music, how to Sight Read music using a step-by-step process and how to "hear" music and patterns through fun Ear Training activities.

Which Ultimate Music Theory Book to Use for Beginner Students

"SECOND YEAR" BEGINNER STUDENTS, or Students who are already comfortably working in the Grand Staff in their Method Series, can start in the Music Theory Beginner B Workbook.

Students who have successfully completed the Music Theory Beginner A, B and C Series can then step into the Ultimate Music Theory Workbook Series beginning with the Prep 1 Rudiments Workbook.

If your Studio prepares Students for Practical and Theory Examinations in the Royal Conservatory of Music Stream, Students will also add the Supplemental Workbook Series (which introduces Students to the world of Music History, Melody Writing, Harmony and Analysis).

The Supplemental Workbook Series (used with the Ultimate Music Theory Workbook Series) is also ideal for those "Fun Stream Students" who love to compose or who want to learn how to read "lead sheets" and improvise.  (It is not just for Exam Stream Students only!)

Which Music Theory Book To Use - Early Elementary Students

For this article, I am using the term "Early Elementary" for Students who have advanced beyond their "beginner method" series.  These students should be comfortable with:

  • Grand Staff Notes
  • Note Values that include Eighth Notes
  • Music that uses sharps, flats and naturals
  • Melodies that are played "hands together" (at an RCM Prep A Repertoire playing level)

When students are at this Level, they can use the Prep 1 Rudiments Workbook.  (They should not need to work through the Music Theory Beginner A, B, C Series unless they have special learning needs that would benefit from the review and introduction of theoretic concepts.)

Ultimate Music Theory Which Book to use

Students in the RCM Prep A Repertoire Practical (Piano) Level should be using the Prep 1 Rudiments Workbook along with the PREP LEVEL Supplemental Workbook.  This will provide them with the corresponding Theory required with their RCM Prep A Practical.

By the time your RCM Piano Student is in Practical Level 3, they should have completed the following Ultimate Music Theory Workbooks (in this order):

Which Music Theory Book To Use - Late Elementary Students

For this article, I am using the term "Late Elementary" for Students who have finished RCM Practical Level 3.  These Students will be wanting to prepare for the first RCM Theory Exam - the Level 5 Theory Exam.

To prepare for the Level 5 Theory Exam, Students need to complete the following books in this order:

If you have a transfer student who is at this "Late Elementary" practical level, you will need to determine what their Theory background is.  The easiest way is to download FREE Practice Exams (and the Answers) from our Website!

Start with the FREE Prep 1 Exam.  When your Student has finished writing this exam, mark it with the FREE Prep 1 Exam Answer Pages.  If the Student has struggled to complete this exam, then it really is best for them to start at the very beginning with the Prep 1 Rudiments Workbook and the PREP LEVEL Supplemental Workbook.

Which Book to Use Transfer In to Basic

If this Exam was easy, without any significant gaps in their theory foundation, then have the Student complete the FREE Prep 2 Exam.  There are FREE Prep 2 Exam Answer Pages for you to use to mark their exam.  If the Student has struggled to complete this exam, then start them with the Prep 2 Rudiments Workbook and the LEVEL 2 Supplemental Workbook.

If the Prep 2 Exam was completed easily, then the Student can prepare to start with the Basic Rudiments Workbook.  However, I always recommend that Students complete the LEVEL 2 Supplemental Workbook and the LEVEL 3 Supplemental Workbook before they start into the Basic Rudiments Workbook.

These 2 Supplemental Workbooks will provide the foundation for the language of "harmony" and melody writing (Functional Chord Symbols, Root/Quality Chord Symbols, Melodic Phrases & Motives, Stable & Unstable Scale Degrees, etc.).

Which Music Theory Book to Use - "Intermediate" Level

I am using the term "Intermediate" to refer to Students who:

  • have already completed the RCM Level 5 Theory Exam;
  • are transferring in to the Ultimate Music Theory Workbooks at the "Intermediate" (Level 6 Theory) Level.

Intermediate Level Theory Students who wish to complete the RCM Level 6 Theory Exam and/or the Level 7 Theory Exam must have already completed the UMT Basic Rudiments Workbook and the LEVELS 3 to 5 Supplemental Workbook.

Students will then use the Ultimate Music Theory Intermediate Rudiments Workbook and the LEVEL 6 Supplemental Workbook (to prepare for the RCM Level 6 Theory Exam).  After finishing those 2 Workbooks, Students will then do the LEVEL 7 Supplemental Workbook (which will then prepare them for the RCM Level 7 Theory Exam).

If your Intermediate Level Transfer Student has not completed ANY theory, I would recommend that they simply do the Ultimate Music Theory Complete Rudiments Workbook and the COMPLETE LEVEL Supplemental Workbook.  This will prepare them for the RCM Level 8 Theory Exam.  (This Theory Exam can be used as the theory co-requisite for receiving the Levels 5, 6, 7 and 8 Practical Certificates.)

Which Book to Use Intermediate

Which Music Theory Book to Use - Advanced Level

At the Advanced Level, Students who have completed their RCM Level 7 Theory Exam will use the Ultimate Music Theory Advanced Rudiments Workbook and the LEVEL 8 Supplemental Workbook.  These 2 Workbooks will prepare them for their RCM Level 8 Theory Exam.

However, if your student is a Transfer Student who needs to complete their Level 8 Theory Exam, but they have not completed any Theory, then I would recommend that they use the Ultimate Music Theory Complete Rudiments Workbook and the COMPLETE LEVEL Supplemental Workbook.

If you have a Student (or a Transfer Student) who needs to prepare for a Written Entrance Examination into any Post-Secondary Music Program, then definitely use the Complete Rudiments Workbook.

By completing the Complete Rudiments Workbook, your Student will complete all the theory components found in the Ultimate Music Theory Basic, Intermediate and Advanced Rudiments Workbook.

This is a comprehensive course.  I tell the Transfer Students who come to me to learn their Theory that completing the Complete Rudiments Workbook is like completing a College or University Music Theory Course!

Which Book to Use Advanced and College

I hope that this Blog has given you an idea about which book you should use with your Theory Students in the Ultimate Music Theory Program!

Remember to check out the FREE Exams (and Answers) that we have available for the Basic, Intermediate and Advanced Workbooks.

UMC-SSC-UMT_Supplemental_Series_Course

Teach the UMT Supplemental Series Course - 10 Video Sessions on how to simplify complex concepts from the 2016 RCM Theory Syllabus in the UMT Supplemental Series.

To help you even more we've created FREE RESOURCES for you to use as learning tools and building blocks in your musical adventure.

Keep on Learning... With a Smile and a Song!

Shelagh McKibbon-U'Ren

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