How to understand music

Music theory


Meet the course leader Nuria Bonet

Course Leader Dr Nuria Bonet is a Lecturer in Music and composer.

She has been commissioned to write concert, theatre and film music by orchestras and organisations such as the National Union of Students, Lucilin United Instruments of Luxembourg, Psappha and Kappkino.

She is currently working on the Arts Council-funded project Back To Music which enables disabled musicians to return to instrumental playing.

You can find out more about Nuria’s work at and on Twitter @nuschmeichs.

Course details

What will I learn on this course?

An understanding of music theory is a must if you aspire to be a proficient musician. However, learning theory can appear intimidating. This course will change that for you!

  • Learn music theory to the equivalent of Grade 5 (Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music).
  • Gain knowledge in a fun, hands-on, and nurturing environment.
  • Learn from inspiring and knowledgeable professional musicians.
  • Benefit from interactive online activities in addition to in-person classes.
  • Relate theory and concepts to your own musical practice.

Don’t just play music, join our course and learn to understand it!

Course structure

Week one

Staff and notes in bass and treble clef; accidentals; simple rhythms and dotted notes; time signatures; beaming and tying notes; tones and semitones; handwriting.

Weeks two and three

Major scales; minor scales; key signatures; intervals; tonic triads; degrees of the scale; dynamics; symbols; foreign terms; working with time signatures; triplets; musical devices.

Week four

More scales and time signatures; rewriting with different time values; transposition; completing a rhythm; questions about a score; finding mistakes.

Week five

Double flats and sharps; enharmonics; all scales; chromatic scales; breves and double dots; duplets; instruments; ornaments and foreign terms.

Week six

Professional notation; alto clef; describing chords; chord progressions; cadences; SATB (soprano, alto, tenor and bass) writing for voices; composing a melody.

At the end of each week, you will complete a handwritten test and upload it to be marked by the lecturer. In week six the test will be equivalent to Music Theory Grade 5 ABRSM meaning that you will be ready and able to sit the Music Theory exam.

You will need to book and pay for the exam externally or online with ABRSM.

How to apply