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KyleAdams

IB Music vs AP Music Theory

How similar are IB Music and AP Music Theory? I am taking IB Music SL currently, and I am wondering if we will cover enough theory to take the AP Music Theory exam. I really signed up for IB Music for the theory, and then I found out it is more about history. So basically, is there enough time in the year to cover both the AP Music Theory and the IB Music syllabi? We have already finished the Baroque and Classical eras, and we still need to do Romanticism, 20th Century, medieval, Renaissance, and something about Dido and Aeneas. Do you think there's enough time? If it would be tough to do, do you think it would be possible if much of the work was done at home?

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First of all, you're probably not going to get credit for either AP or IB in music; the better the music program at whatever university you attend the truer this is.

AP Music Theory, from what I've heard (my school was all-IB), covers a little bit of what you'll probably study in your first-year university music theory class if you're a music major/minor (or just decide to take music classes). With AP at least, you know what you're getting out of it. If you want a more strictly theory background, this is the way to go.

IB Music is indeed more of a music history class (though, as someone planning on studying musicology in grad school, I just wanted to say that isn't a bad thing :D ) but a lot of it really depends on the teacher. For example, my teacher taught us very little theory, but I've heard that some IB Music programs teach you more, and you probably need a fair amount of it to get a decent grade on the IB Music test.

I think AP Music Theory correlates more to what you can expect in music school. IB Music is a bit all-over-the-place in terms of what they expect, and when you have a teacher who doesn't really know what they're doing (like mine didn't), it can be really bad. Our teacher got most of the history wrong (like he said there was no secular music written before the baroque period, which is sooooo not even close to true), which really screwed a lot of people over from our school when they took the test. The only really positive thing I got out of IB Music, I think, is that it exposed me to a lot of pieces I probably wouldn't have listened to on my own time.

Lastly, though, if you're planning on being a music major I would probably reconsider your decision to do IB in general, as I've found it pretty worthless here. If you take even just AP or honors courses you'll be at a considerable advantage over the rest of your classmates in music school, so you really don't need to work yourself to death over the IB program.

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I'd also say to not worry too much about only being on the baroque and classical period right now. It's pretty standard to start students with those two periods, since that's when the "rules" of Western music were established. Consider it evidence that your teacher knows what he or she is doing.

In the romantic period, composers started to break some of those rules, and in the 20th century some of them more or less chucked the rulebook out the window. And as you've probably heard before, you need to learn the rules before you can break them, so it's easier to understand that music if you have the "foundation" that the baroque and classical periods provide. In earlier periods, composers were operating under a very different set of rules, and again, they're confusing if you don't have the context of what they eventually grew into in the baroque and classical periods. As someone who has actually taken a college-level medieval/Renaissance music history course, trust me, you really don't want to study that stuff without understanding modern Western musical theory first.

If you're May '11, that means you've just started. Chill out, you will get to the other stuff in due time. :D

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I am definitely not worried about where we are, I was just wondering if it would allow enough time for sufficient theory work.

In regards to the comments on IB Music not being worth much, I am just taking it as my elective in my Diploma,and I am not really planning on being a music major as I am not good enough at anything musically.

Thank you for the information.

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