Music Theory - Melody Composition for Grade 8 ABRSM
4.4 (23 ratings)
Instead of using a simple lifetime average, Udemy calculates a course's star rating by considering a number of different factors such as the number of ratings, the age of ratings, and the likelihood of fraudulent ratings.
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Music Theory - Melody Composition for Grade 8 ABRSM

Composition - get top scores, write strong harmonic structure and modulations, with well-crafted, musical phrases.
4.4 (23 ratings)
Instead of using a simple lifetime average, Udemy calculates a course's star rating by considering a number of different factors such as the number of ratings, the age of ratings, and the likelihood of fraudulent ratings.
232 students enrolled
Last updated 2/2016
Price: $100
30-Day Money-Back Guarantee
  • 1 hour on-demand video
  • 2 Articles
  • 3 Supplemental Resources
  • Full lifetime access
  • Access on mobile and TV
  • Certificate of Completion
What Will I Learn?
  • Write a high-scoring composition for the ABRSM grade 8 Music Theory exam.
  • Create a solid structural foundation for your composition, based on phrases and cadences.
  • Modulate through different keys effectively and smoothly.
  • Use appropriate and musical performance directions.
  • Write in an idiomatic style which suits the instrument you're writing for.
View Curriculum
  • Students should have passed ABRSM grade 5 theory and also studied material for grades 6-7.

If you are taking the ABRSM Grade 8 Music Theory exam, this course is for you. This question is worth 20% of the whole exam, but since it seems rather "subjective" - how can you know whether your composition is any good?

In this course, you'll learn exactly how to craft a high-scoring composition, which will please the examiners and please you too!

In this course you will learn:

  • How to adapt the ideas of the given opening in the exam question, using techniques such as sequences, imitation, augmentation/diminution and others, to produce a coherent whole.
  • How to plan a strong, balanced structure for your composition, using clear phrases and appropriate cadences.
  • How to modulate - through which keys, and precisely how to do that, using a variety of methods.
  • How to make your performance directions meaningful and idiomatic (suitable for the instrument you're writing for).

I've been coaching students through their music theory exams for many years, and have a wealth of experience which I'd love to share with you. I'm available via the Udemy discussion board to answer any queries you may have and listen to your comments.

The course includes several PDFs including a Cadences revision cheat sheet, and a selection of practice Composition Exercises. You are more than welcome to send me your finished product for comment and a likely score.

Who is the target audience?
  • This course is aimed at candidates taking the ABRSM Grade 8 Music Theory exam.
Compare to Other Music Theory Courses
Curriculum For This Course
16 Lectures
2 Lectures 01:32

Introduction to the Course.

Preview 01:25

Print off the accompanying course notes PDF here, so that you can take your own notes as you follow the course (includes manuscript staves!)

Download the Course Notes PDF here
How to Compose
11 Lectures 47:38

Planning ahead - how to think about your composition's structure.

Preview 03:47

How to work out which parts of the given opening will be the best ones to adapt, to make the rest of your composition.

Preview 05:25

How to adapt a melodic idea, using a diatonic sequence.

Adapting a Melodic Idea 1 - Sequences

More ways to adapt a musical idea to create something new.

Adapting a Melodic Idea 2 - Other Techniques

How to make a contrasting section which is still connected to the rest of the composition.

Creating a Contrast

What defines a musical phrase?

Making Phrases

Cadences Cheat Sheet
1 page

How to work out a scheme for modulations.

Planning Modulations

Learn the mechanics of modulation - here we explore two methods which you can use effectively.

How to Modulate

How to write performance directions correctly - and some typical mistakes to avoid.

Performance Directions

What you need to take into consideration when composing for a specific instrument.

Instrument Considerations
3 Lectures 08:25

Follow along as I create a 16-bar composition including modulations.

A Worked Example

Practice exercises in PDF.

PDF of Composition Openings for Practice
2 pages

BONUS! Lots more music theory resources!
About the Instructor
Victoria Williams AmusTCL BA(Mus)
4.8 Average rating
282 Reviews
3,752 Students
12 Courses
Music Theory Specialist - Founder of My Music Theory

"This course was absolutely first rate in every way. Ms. Williams presented the material clearly, thoughtfully, and with an obvious love of teaching. The only way this could possibly have been any better is to have had the privilege of studying with her in person. I'm amazed by how much information I learned -- and in such an enjoyable way! Ms. Williams is someone who not only has a deep understanding of music theory, but a rare and wonderful creativity that makes her such an effective teacher of it. Bravo and thank you!"

Victoria graduated from the University of Leeds in 1995 with a BA Honours in Music, specialising in Musicology. She also holds the AmusTCL diploma in Music Theory, from Trinity College London, with distinction.

Since 2007, Victoria has been teaching music theory online and by email via her acclaimed website MyMusicTheory, offering free music theory tuition following the structured syllabus of the ABRSM (Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music).

Victoria teaches all ABRSM levels, from grade 1 (beginner) up to grade 8/diploma (undergraduate level) and has an in depth knowledge of both the syllabus requirements and examiners' marking schemes. As well as teaching the ABRSM syllabus, Victoria is equally at home preparing students for the Trinity Guildhall exams, the Australian AMEB exams and the AP Music Theory exams taken in the USA.

Victoria's lessons break the tricky concepts of music and music theory down into easy-to-understand steps. She approaches teaching from the learner's point of view, building up on existing knowledge little by little, and avoids the “baffling with detail" stance taken by traditional music theory text books. She has an outstanding track-record with her students' exam successes, with the vast majority gaining top rated “merits and distinctions" from the ABRSM.

Victoria is an accomplished pianist and clarinettist, holding ABRSM grade 8 in both, and also composes in her free time. She has three children and two crazy cats.