Music Exams – The Musicianship and Theory of Music Exams
Music students work hard to progress, and their instructors work just as hard teaching
them theory, harmony, rhythm and how to perfect the instrument they chose to play.
One of the ways students and teachers can measure progress and milestones is through
music examinations. Music exams are just like any other type of exam, they measure
what a student understands and has learned, and they also measure if the student
can take that knowledge and actually apply it to the situation at hand.
There are two common music exams that a student might encounter in their development,
the Musicianship Exam, and the Theory of Music exam. Below are some facts about
each, and how they might apply to a student’s development and progression
as a musician.
The Musicianship Exam
The musicianship exam evaluates a student’s understanding of melody, rhythm,
harmony and form. The student may be asked to answer questions orally, and to demonstrate
their knowledge of their instrument by playing.
The exam is divided into sections, the number depending on the student’s level
or grade. Students may be asked to play from memory, to improvise or to play from
To prepare for the exam, students might consider the use of flashcards, or even
seeking the assistance of online tutoring sites. A student’s instructor will
also be able to help prepare the student, and offer advice on where time and study
would be best placed.
Theory of Music Exams
Theory of Music Exams give music students the chance to show how they’ve progressed
over time in regards to music literacy. The exam focuses on what a student knows
about music signs and terminology and how it relates to performance and compositions.
In addition, students have to demonstrate their level of knowledge regarding chords,
intervals, keys and scales.
Balanced rhythmic patterns, melodies and harmonic structure knowledge is also evaluated
in a Theory of Music Exam, as is the ability to apply theory to a composition.
Theory of Music exams are evaluated on a total of 100, with a score of 66 required
to pass, a score of 80 to earn the level of Merit, and a score of 90 to earn the
level of Distinction.
To prepare for the tests, students should consider contacting their local music
store, which should have available past tests for review and study. In addition,
numerous on-line sources may help students prepare themselves for the Theory of