Theory for Examinations

All Royal Conservatory of Music (RCM) or Conservatory Canada practical examinations at Level 5 and up require a theoretical examination for certification. RCM has a new 2016 Celebrate Theory Syllabus, with each theory course named after the corresponding practical examination.

For the all the practical examinations from Level 5 through 8, the corresponding theory examination is a co-requisite. For example, for the Level 5 practical examination, the Theory 5 examination is a co-requisite, and so on.

There are three options for the intermediate classes.

Option 1: Full Year

Theory 5 classes and Theory 6 classes are offered to prepare young students to write the examination in May. When sufficient demand warrants, a year-long Theory 7 and 8 class is also offered. These are year-long classes consisting of weekly 30-minute sessions, beginning in September. There are 30 classes in total—17 in Semester 1 and 13 in Semester 2. Option 1 is designed primarily for younger students who wish to take the examinations ahead of their practical level (i.e., students in Levels 1 through 4 of their instrumental lesson level).

Option 2: Condensed

RCM theory examinations are also offered in December. Students opting for a Theory 5 examination in December attend classes 60 minutes weekly from September to December and then write their examination. They continue in January to prepare for the Level 6 examination in May, again with 60-minute classes weekly.

Alternatively, the Level 6 examination can be written in December, followed by the Level 7 examination in May. Condensed classes are offered each semester for both the Level 5 and 6 and Level 6 and 7 combinations.

Option 3: Accelerated

The Theory level 5, 6, 7, and 8 classes can be accelerated so that all four levels are completed in one year (from September to May). In this case, the Level 5 examination is written in December, if needed, and Level 6, 7, and 8 theory exams are written in May. The accelerated class is suitable for students who are in Level 7 or 8 of their practical lessons and have not written any previous Rudiments or theory examinations. These classes run 60 minutes weekly for 30 weeks.  Since RCM now has a new theory syllabus, effective 2016, it may be necessary for the classes in February, March, April and the beginning of May to be 90 minutes in order to achieve the additional level (i.e., 4 levels rather than the previous 3 RCM levels).

Attendance is required in all classes to yield the best examination results. Homework of approximately one hour a week is to be expected.

Please check the RCM website for the dates of examinations.


Class Times–See Schedule


  • RCM Theory (at the appropriate level)

Required textbooks can be purchased or ordered from MASTERY at the time of registration.

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