When the Conservatory changed rudiments from three levels to eight levels in 2016, I thought the old Basic, Intermediate and Advanced levels would become obsolete. As a result, I wrote eight new levels of rudiments for Essential Music Theory. One thing I did not expect was that I would be getting so many requests from teachers and stores for the Elementary Music Rudiments Basic, Intermediate and Advanced books. Many teachers told me they were using these older editions and supplementing them rather than using levels one to eight. Now that I have re-issued these former editions in digital format with some minor updates, I find that teachers still want to use them and are purchasing them frequently. It started me thinking...why is this?
When teaching practical subjects like piano, violin, guitar, voice, etc. many, if not most, students do not complete every single level from 1 to ARCT. I think most students skip grades along the way, often more than once. I know that my own students do that frequently. With the older theory requirements it was much easier to deal with moving from level two piano to level four piano, for example. Since all of those grades fell under Basic Rudiments it really wasn't a big deal meeting theory requirements. Now with different theory requirements for every level it is much harder to catch up with theory. Some students can easily skip from level two to level four piano (or many other combinations of grade levels) without any issues. However, with eight theory levels they can't skip a whole level of theory because they miss too much. This makes playing theory catch-up a challenge for teachers and students.
Every student's course of study is different. As a result, I decided to compile the first eight levels of Essential Music Theory into three books, and offer them as an option to eight separate books. One book covers levels 1 to 3. One book covers levels 4 to 6. And one book covers levels 7 and 8.
I teach two hard working and intelligent young men that I moved from Level 6 piano into Level 8 piano, skipping Level 7. However, this presented a big problem when it came to theory. Since there were so many new concepts in Level 7 theory, it was impossible to skip. Here is where a combination book really came in handy, and it made the theory transition very smooth.
These books are divided clearly with indications in the margin which level the information is covering. So if the student is working in Book 1 to 3, they can go through the entire book and do all of the level 1 information. Then they can go through it and do all of the level 2 information and follow up with level 3. Or they can just work through the entire book from cover to cover. This offers a few different options for study.
These compilations meet all of the requirements for current theory examinations. All of the required information is present including the history notes, and this makes it easy to prepare for exams. No supplementation is required.
If you have students that are moving through the practical levels, and not doing every single grade consecutively, you might want to have a look at these and try them for rudiments study. They are a great alternative to the previous basic, intermediate, and advanced theory levels.