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Preparatory Music Theory Course

Welcome to this self-guided online prep course! We're glad you're here!

STEP 1) Watch this short video to get an overview of what this course is about and how it will benefit your growth as a musician.


STEP 2) Check out the "Resources and Help" section at the bottom of this page. Use the provided drill sheet until you wear it out... and then print another one! An invite to the #theory-prep Discord channel and my email is also listed to help you succeed!

STEP 3) This course is divided into four main units. If you feel confident with an area's material and would like to try to test out of it, take the self-graded Diagnostic Quiz provided at the top of the area to make sure you're ready to move on. Be diligent! Be honest with yourself. Avoid having any gaps that will hold you back in your music-making. The higher you set your standard, the more confident you'll be going into the entrance exam and your first semester of college-level music theory classes.

STEP 4) Read the following TIPS, and then have fun going through the course!

  • Take the time to watch the videos. They're relatively short and focus on one concept at a time. Pause and go back to review anything that didn't make sense. (I've done my best to proof the content, but if you catch a glitch in the videos, contact me via email or Discord (see the "Resources and Help" section).
  • After watching the videos, have fun drilling the concepts. They can be done on any kind of device with a browser. The more your drill, the more things will become second nature!
  • Click on the icon next to a drill to get important suggestions on how it works and what its focus is.
  • After drilling, complete the worksheets to check your knowledge. Since they're PDFs, you can either print them out or use your favorite digital device to write on them. Once you've completed a worksheet, check the corresponding Answer Key to grade yourself. Don't be tempted to look at the Answer Key before doing the worksheets! It's in your best interest to do the work solely on your own before using the Answer Key. Keep drilling the concepts you struggle with until they become easy.
  • In addition to the worksheets being available individually, all of the printable worksheets and diagnostic quizzes can be found in a big PDF in the "Resources and Help" section that you can print out or download so you have them all in one place.

Notation of Pitches

Scales and Keys

Intervals and Triads

Basics of Rhythm and Time

Aural Skills

Resources and Help

Practice Resources

 The Music Theory Prep Drill Sheet

Use this handy dandy review sheet to drill key signatures, the order of flats and sharps, major and minor scale building recipes, the Circle of 5ths, a little piano keyboard and more! Print it out and wear it out! See how fast you can go!

 10 Stave Staff Paper

Free Staff Paper! No watermarks, copyright or logos included... Just clean, plain, 10-line staff paper for you to practice your notation chops.

 Theory Prep Course Printable Packet

All of the courses PDF worksheets, diagnostic quizzes and resources in one big zip archive to make the materials easy to access.

This online set of tutorials and exercises is fantastic! The drill in this course comes from this site. You can customize exercises, practice ear-training, review concepts with tutorials, and even download practice apps.

For even more tutorials and drills, give a try. Fantastic for review and practice!

How to Get Help!

If a concept just isn't making sense, or you have a question about the prep course or college level theory in general, feel free to join the #theory-prep channel on Dr. Ludema's Discord Server to chat with others working through the course!

If you'd rather contact me directly, my email address is