Piano Stars Theory Exam

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What is Music Theory?

Music theory is the study of the basic fundamentals that help create music. This includes learning about note names, rhythms, and scales. It also incorporates some music history and music appreciation.

Music theory is very similar to studying grammatical rules and is essential for a student’s success in piano lessons and for understanding music.

About the Theory Program

MEA Piano Studio uses the Piano Stars theory curriculum. It is divided into fourteen levels so that students at all levels of music can participate.

Students begin preparing for the annual exam in August. The final test is in March and takes place during the student’s regular lesson. Awards are given out in June during the annual recital.

Schedule

  • August
    • Preview Requirements
  • September
    • Practice Test #1
    • Weekly homework
  • October
    • Theory Bee
    • Weekly homework
  • November
    • Practice Test #2
    • Weekly homework
  • December
    • Theory Fun Sheets
    • Weekly homework
  • January
    • Practice Test #3
    • Weekly homework
  • February
    • Practice Test #4
    • Weekly homework
  • March
    • Final Test

MEA Piano Studio Theory Requirements

These are national theory level standards.

Level Prep A

This level is for very young students or students with less than 3 months of piano lesson experience.

  • Piano Keyboard – A, B, C, D, E, F, G
  • Black Keys – 2 and 3 black keys
  • Finger Numbers – 1, 2, 3, 4, 5
  • Name one famous composer
  • Name one famous song

Level Prep B

This level is for very young students or students with less than 6 months of piano lesson experience.

  • Identify all the white keys on the piano
  • Music alphabet
  • 2 black keys
  • 3 black keys
  • High
  • Low
  • Left
  • Right
  • Name one famous composer
  • Name one famous song

Level 1

This level is for students with 6 months to 1 year of piano lessons.

  • Appreciation - 4 families of the orchestra, 4 musical periods, any 4 composers, any 4 musical forms
  • Scales & Keys - C, G Warm-Up (pentascale)
  • Intervals – steps, skips, repeats
  • Rhythms - whole, half, quarter notes; adding note values
  • Composition – rhythmic examples
  • Terms – treble and bass clef, forte, piano, staff, measure, bar line
  • Other - music alphabet, high and low, moving up and down, white keys on the piano, finger numbers, line and space notes

Level 2

This level is for students with 1 to 2 years of piano lessons.

  • Appreciation - 1 instrument from each family, 1 composer from each musical period, John Williams, 4 musical genres.
  • Scales & Keys – C
  • Intervals – Repeat, 2nd, 3rd
  • Time Signatures - 2/4, 3/4, 4/4
  • Rhythms - whole, half, quarter, dotted half notes
  • Rests – Whole, half, quarter
  • Composition – rhythmic examples
  • Terms – grand staff, repeat sign, slur, tie, staccato, sharp, flat, brace, accidental, natural, tempo, double bar line
  • Other – treble clef notes, measure numbers

Level 3

This level is for students with 2 to 3 years of piano lessons.

  • Appreciation - Name one instrument from each family and describe how it looks, briefly, in 1-3 sentences, describe each music period, name any 4 American composers and an interesting fact about each, song structures for pop music and 12 bar blues.
  • Scales & Keys – C, F, G, D
  • Chords – All major
  • Intervals – All Major & Perfect; half\whole steps
  • Time Signatures - 2/4, 3/4, 4/4
  • Rhythms - whole, half, quarter, dotted half notes
  • Rests – whole, half, quarter, eighth
  • Composition – rhythmic examples, transposing
  • Terms and Symbols – crescendo, cresc., diminuendo, dim., legato, ritardando, rit., triads, chords, 8va, 8va higher & lower, pedal marking
  • Other – treble clef notes, bass clef notes, note stems, two ledger lines above\below each staff

Level 4

Level 5

Level 6

Level 7

Level 8

Level 9

Level 10

Level 11

Level 12