Welcome to College Confidential!

The leading college-bound community on the web

Sign Up For Free

Join for FREE, and start talking with other members, weighing in on community discussions, and more.

Also, by registering and logging in you'll see fewer ads and pesky welcome messages (like this one!)

As a CC member, you can:

  • Reply to threads, and start your own.
  • Post reviews of your campus visits.
  • Find hundreds of pages of informative articles.
  • Search from over 3 million scholarships.
Please take a moment to read our updated TOS, Privacy Policy, and Forum Rules.

Self-Studying AP Music Theory?

marshmallow95marshmallow95 Registered User Posts: 213 Junior Member
edited May 2012 in Arts
I'm planning to take the AP Music Theory exam this year, even though I didn't take the class.

I've played the piano for 10 years and the violin for 8 years.

I know how to read music well, I'm decent at sight-singing/sight-reading, and I compose my own music sometimes.

If I get a good prep book now, could I get a 5 on the exam in May?
Post edited by marshmallow95 on

Replies to: Self-Studying AP Music Theory?

  • cherryli2015cherryli2015 Registered User Posts: 151 Junior Member
    Have you ever learned music theory? I think you have, otherwise how could you compose.
  • marshmallow95marshmallow95 Registered User Posts: 213 Junior Member
    I have learned music theory, but from my private piano teacher, not from a class in school or anything.
  • musicislife73musicislife73 Registered User Posts: 297 Junior Member
    Kinda late to say anything, but the Barron's book helps a lot. Also, if you happen to have either perfect pitch or relative pitch, you can expect to at least pass the exam with a 3 no matter what, as enough of the multiple choice and frq's are aurally based. But without any aids, it will likely not be an easy test.
  • 314159265314159265 Registered User Posts: 4,276 Senior Member
    The test is split about 50-50 between aural and non-aural. As the above poster said, perfect pitch makes the aural half a lot simpler. For me, the aural dictations and sight-singing were guaranteed points because all I had to do was write down/sing the notes that I could already hear in my head anyway.

    The other half, on the other hand, requires some pretty in-depth theory knowledge. I definitely didn't study hard enough (I self-studied this last year) for the harmonizations/chord progressions and such and the second half of the FRQ was difficult; I was going off of whatever musical intuition I'd developed over the past decade instead of actual theory rules.

    Also, it really helps to be familiar with orchestral instruments. And don't limit yourself to classical music; there was a listening MC section based on an excerpt from a K-Pop song last year, I remember.
  • yodeloyodelo Registered User Posts: 1,074 Senior Member
    I'd think it'd be kind of hard to self study music theory
  • musicislife73musicislife73 Registered User Posts: 297 Junior Member
    Still can't technically talk about it, but I'll just say, having perfect pitch helped a lot today. Also, multiple choice questions are reused a lot, judging by 314159265's response above (nice name :) ). And yes, if you want to do well on the second half of the FRQ's, studying is an absolute must.
  • marshmallow95marshmallow95 Registered User Posts: 213 Junior Member
    Okay, guys, thanks for the advice!

    I decided to wait until next year to take it. I wouldn't mind getting a 3 without studying, but I'd rather take my time to study some extra material to get a 4 or a 5.
  • CantConcentrateCantConcentrate Registered User Posts: 2,552 Senior Member
    I was just listening to the first FRQ for this year's music theory. Now that's a doozy. 6/8 time and it's going pretty fast.
This discussion has been closed.