About Online Theory

thumb_steve2011-aHow Does It Work?

Each week’s work consists of viewing pre-recorded lesson content as well as a live tutorial where students meet online with me, Stephan Tan, to reinforce concepts, discuss how the material relates to the exam and to ask and answer any questions.
At each live tutorial, you will see the material on your computer screen and we will have the opportunity to complete examples and make notes directly on the screen. Furthermore, each tutorial will be recorded so that you may go back and review it at anytime. My primary goal is that each and every student understands the material as thoroughly as possible. Any homework must be submitted to me for evaluation. Homework may be sent by scanning/emailing or simply by taking pics with your smartphone! For Intermediate Theory, there is no live weekly tutorial, but students will still be expected to complete the homework as described in the course videos and mark it themselves using the answer key.

What Can I Do to Succeed?

When learning online, there is a certain degree of self-monitoring and self-sufficiency expected of each student. Therefore, for younger students, you as parents would need to decide if this is a format best suited for your child or if he or she would benefit more from personal instruction.
You must be proficient in handwriting basic music notation. Although it is covered to some extent up to Level 5 Theory, the small details of writing the notes and rests can be tricky so proficiency in this area is essential. Try to analyze and understand why you are making certain mistakes and if you need further clarification, you will have ample opportunity to ask your questions at subsequent tutorials.
All students who register for History, Harmony, and Analysis also have the opportunity to have as many RCM Official Previous Examination as you are able to complete evaluated by me. Scan it and email it to me as a pdf file. I will evaluate your paper, rescan it and send it back to you within 2 days. Completing previous RCM Official Examinations is a crucial step in your preparation. I recommend that you finish at least the 2 most recent booklets of exams, in other words, 6-8 in total. Purchase them from your local music book retailer.
Remember to purchase a copy of the appropriate textbook that we will go through together. In my opinion, the ones I have chosen are the best and easiest to follow. For a list of required textbooks, consult the appropriate subject page on this website.
To summarize, there are some important obligations in order to successfully complete the course:
  1. View each video lecture on time and attend the live tutorial
  2. Complete and submit the assigned homework each week
  3. Complete 6-8 practice exams and send them to me for evaluation (by fax or email)
If you feel that you may not be able to fulfill these requirements, online theory may not be for you. You would risk getting a less-than-desired mark on your exam and lose faith in online instruction. But if you do fulfill these benchmarks and dedicate yourself appropriately, the results will take care of themselves.
You will see that learning from home will save you valuable time and a lot of money. You will learn your theory and have a great time in the process! Thank you sincerely for considering my course.

Best wishes,

Stephan Tan