- To offer a structured and comprehensive method of studying the theory of popular music which is relevant to the practical needs of the modern day musician.
- To set worthwhile and well-defined standards for students of popular music theory, by providing a reliable system of assessing progress.
- To offer formal recognition of the musical knowledge of musicians in the field of popular music by the award of internationally recognised qualifications.
- To value the language and notation systems of contemporary popular music and reflecting the fact that expertise in the use of traditional notation is not the highest priority in this field.
- To encourage the practical application of theoretical knowledge, particularly with regard to composition and improvisation.
- To encourage the academic study of popular music, including a knowledge of: the use of instruments and technology; performers, history, development and range of styles.
The examination syllabus aims to particularly recognise and evaluate the following:
- A knowledge of scales, keys, chords and intervals.
- A knowledge of rhythmic notation.
- A knowledge of the performers, instrumentation, history, development and different genres of popular music.
- An understanding of popular music harmony and its application, with specific emphasis on the composition of chord progressions and the application of scales in improvisation.
- An understanding of transposition with regard to both chords and melodies.