Review: ABRSM Theory Works
I for one am glad to see that theory is becoming slightly less stuffy and viewed as less of a chore for students to practise. I do believe the exams are worth doing as being able to show you understand music without your hands magically doing ‘stuff’ can only ever benefit your playing.
ABRSM has now leapt on the technological band wagon with the launch of their Theory Works app (available both in the Apple and Google Stores).
It is how I expected something from ABRSM to be – very clear and straight to the point. It’s got exercises for grades one up to grade five, and each time you complete a level you can then access the next level of questions. The questions are clear, with an option to try an answer again if you get it wrong once.
I did find that the questions can be a bit difficult for younger students at times, but the language and slight obscure nature of the phrasing is very typical of ABRSM exams. So if you’re thinking ABRSM grade exams then it will be perfect practise.
I’ve used the app in plenty of lessons and I’ve found that for adults it works pretty well – but some of the sections are a bit too long to finish in a quick game at the end of a lesson space, which is a shame. For younger students the finish on the app itself is a bit too dry, and doesn’t quite fill the ‘theory doesn’t have to be boring’ quota. Which is a shame, but not surprising.
It does what it says on the tin basically – if you want extra practise questions when you’re preparing for the exam then I’d say go for it! Thousands of questions (although that’s for all the grades collectively) – but I think there’d be enough extra supplementary material to support a grade entry.
There is just one bug bear that makes me rethink about wanting to use the app in lessons. When you select an answer to slide from the multiple choice question – there’s a strange click. To me it sounds just like an electrical spark from something not plugged in correctly! Strange musical sound choice… but it might just be me!
Overall – a useful lesson tool as well as a good music boosting app!