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Music Theory

Classes and Levels

There are 6 levels of Music Theory, and an official AP Music Theory class. The AP Music Theory class is the only class that requires attendance two days a week.


Students should be 10 yrs old when enrolling in a music theory class. Younger students with enough musical experience can enroll, but please email to discuss first.

Regardless of age, any student enrolling in a music theory class needs a basic understanding of how music notation works. This usually means a minimum of one semester of instruction on any instrument, whether private lessons or a FAYM class.

Class Size

Theory classes can hold unlimited students, but have a minimum enrollment of 5. If fewer than 5 students enroll for the class, the class may be cancelled.


Students are expected to complete homework each week. The type and amount of homework will vary by class and level, but may include the following: bookwork, worksheets, listening to online examples, drawing notes, practicing rhythms and counting, and playing examples on a keyboard. (Keyboards may be available for rent if needed.)

Assignments may take anywhere from 10-30 minutes to complete, 3-6 days a week, depending on class and level.


If a student has never taken a FAYM theory class before, they need to sign up for a theory placement test, even if they intend on enrolling in Theory 1. Once the placement test is scored, the student will be placed in an appropriate theory level.

Once you are in a FAYM theory class, you will take a final exam at the end of every semester. If you pass that exam, you may sign up for the next level theory without taking another placement test.

In order to enroll in AP Theory, a student either has to take a placement test that places them in AP Theory, or the student needs to pass a final exam given from Theory 5 or Theory 6. Since AP Theory is a year-long class, enrollment is only open in the fall. Other levels may enroll at any time of year.

Theory Levels 1-6

Levels 1 through 6 are all one-semester classes. There will be a final exam at the end of the semester. If the student passes the final exam, they may advance to the next level of music theory the following semester. If they don't pass the exam, they may repeat the same level to try to gain more understanding of the material before moving to the next level, or they may study independently and try to re-test before the start of the new semester.

AP Music Theory

This full-year class is a class officially recognized and audited by The College Board. This means that as long as a student fulfills the recommended credit hours, they may put AP Music Theory on their homeschool transcript.

In order to fulfill the recommended credit hours suggested by The College Board (6 credit hours per week), a student should attend this year-long, two-day class at least two years. The student should also be prepared to complete the required homework and independent study needed.

If a student is not interested in completing the required credit hours; OR if the student does not need or want to put an AP class on their transcript; OR if the student simply wants to take an advanced theory class; THEN the student should just put "Advanced Music Theory" on their official homeschool transcript.

Once a student passes into the AP level of music theory, they are welcomed and encouraged to enroll for this class each year. Many students have taken this AP class for 3, 4, even 5 years in a row. Even though the concepts remain the same, different approaches are taken each year, in order to help students master the material. The College Board has required a list of concepts that need to be covered each year, but the order of concepts and way they are presented can vary.

AP Music Theory exams are optional, but please note that FAYM is not an official AP testing site. All AP Music Theory exams are administered in May. It will be the student's responsibility to research and enroll for an exam, based on the school district in which the student lives.

Required Books and Materials

Each theory class will hand out the required text book on the first day ($18). The student should always bring a pencil and three-ring binder with blank staff paper for taking notes and collecting handouts. Some blank staff paper will be provided.

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