Review: Introducing Theory of Music

I have long admired Trinity’s Theory of Music Workbooks with their clear and concise look, and this new volume is no exception. Introducing Theory of Music is designed to:

“help the beginner student read and write commonly used musical symbols, providing a firm grounding in notation from which to progress onto Trinity’s Theory of Music Workbook Grade 1.”

The book, aimed at pre-Grade 1 level students, covers:

  • Writing notes – noteheads, stems, pitch
  • Crotchets, minims, semibreves and their respective rests
  • The grand stave – treble clef and bass clef
  • Grouping beats
  • Bars, barlines and time signatures
  • Accidentals – flats, sharps and naturals

The emphasis in this book is firmly on notation, but it doesn’t shy away from the connections to be made between sound and symbol. Note values are introduced alongside the concept of pulse, and note names are introduced alongside the concept of pitch.

Introducing Theory of Music - pitches getting higher and going up by step

As with Trinity’s other Theory of Music workbooks, there is plenty of opportunity for practice. Each section contains numerous exercises, and clear and large blank staves are provided where appropriate. As the back cover rightly states:

“There is ample opportunity to practise each element throughout this workbook, with symbols often explored in more than one way to build deeper understanding and to consolidate the learning.”

The aim of the book is essentially to cover the basics of music theory. Note values are restricted to crotchets, minims, semibreves and their respective rests. Time signatures cover 2/4, 3/4 and 4/4, whilst note names are restricted to those notes on the lines, or in the spaces, in the treble and bass clefs.

Introducing Music Theory - Bass clef and time signatures

As I say, emphasis is placed firmly on a student’s ability to write music down. This isn’t at the exclusion of its connection to sound, but it is a useful skill which other exam boards have sought to move away from.


The book is clearly laid out with helpful advice boxes such as ‘did you know?’, ‘handy tip’ and ‘remember’. There is plenty of opportunity to practise the skills learnt and consolidate material in a way which makes thorough and meaningful connections throughout the book. With most theory exam workbooks starting at Grade 1, this new book is a welcome addition to Trinity’s Theory of Music range, and one which I’m sure will be welcomed and widely used by teachers of all instruments and voice. At £4.95 it is excellent value.

Introducing Theory of Music by Naomi Yandell, is published by Trinity College London Press, ISBN 9781800514737, priced £4.95

I was sent a review copy of this book free of charge; however, this review is my honest opinion as a teacher. You can find my Reviews Policy here.

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