About the course

What you'll learn

During the two days, we’ll give you a comprehensive overview of music theory and its key components. You’ll be introduced to the history of music in terms of rhythm and melodic/harmonic development, from its early origins to the present day.

We’ll break down beats, bars and boxes in simple terms and build your confidence in how to read music as well as effective ways of counting time signatures. You’ll develop your understanding of the importance of rhythm and get to grips with the mathematical elements that make music composition. Regardless of whether or not you have a mathematical brain!


With support and guidance, we’ll empower you to rethink how you act and react to certain situations or problems. This approach, when aligned to a musical context, results in speeding up your learning and gives you a more profound awareness of your own musicality. Come to the course with an open and curious mind and it will give you a distinct advantage for getting the most out of it. This mindset will also be beneficial to your creativity in general.

Our mantra is not learning to ‘play music’, but instead learning to ‘become the music’. One will learn to get rid of the “falsehoods” of fear and limiting beliefs, of mistakes and failure, and replace them with a new set of mind tools that will open up a new world.

What we cover

Score Basics & Ear Training

  • how to read and follow a score through understanding pitches, staves and clefs
  • what different key signatures there are and how to identify them
  • the basic principles of registers, clefs and transposing instruments
  • the influence of Pythagoras and the circle of fifths (great for songwriting and modulation)
  • singing in unison and in harmony
  • perfect and imperfect intervals


  • The importance of the major scale and its subsequent modal respellings
  • The importance of Ionian, Dorian and Mixolydian scales and how these templates are used creatively in building chords 
  • The relevant terminology, language and different points of view
  • Numbers versus numerals (understanding the differences between scale, interval, melodic and harmonic references)
  • Hierarchy applied to note numbers and numerals (which notes and chords are more important in terms of how they function)
  • The importance of tonic, dominant and leading tone (how the brain processes what it hears)
  • Hearing the difference between major triads and minor triads as well as major, minor and dominant 7ths


  • The most used or popular types of chords
  • Different types of chords including major, minor, dominant, half-diminished, diminished and augmented
  • Dyads and triads, the importance of 3 and 4 and extending triads – 7ths, 9ths, 11ths and 13ths
  • Quartals, quintals and clusters
  • The principles of 3 and 4 part Arrangement

Ready to book your place?

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The curriculum is fantastic, extremely comprehensive, contemporary and relevant to today’s industry.

Andrea Mastroiacovo, Graduate 2018

Applying for the diploma was the best thing I could have done for my career. I'm really amazed at how much I learnt in one year.

Lizzie Arnold, Graduate 2019

There is some real visionary foresight in Abbey Road Institute being established to preserve the cultural legacy of Abbey Road.

Youth (Paul McCartney, The Verve, Killing Joke)

I had an incredible experience. The staff have so much to offer and cover so many different areas of music.

Luke Glazewski, Graduate 2019

The course taught me what it means to be a producer and engineer in the industry, I learned things I couldn’t have learned anywhere else.

Marta Di Nozzi, Graduate 2019

It’s a unique experience in so many ways, the location, the calibre of guest lecturers and access to Abbey Road Studios for classes is pretty amazing. There aren't many places you get to record a full orchestra!

Jason O’Bryan, Lecturer

Come with an open mind and a voracious appetite to soak up the magic! Be prepared to work hard - you’ll get out what you put in.

Ian Ramage, Lecturer