Until Barron's published Nancy Scoggin's book, preparing for the AP Music Theory exam was a seemingly impossible task. Trying to review everything in one of the standard texts such as Kostka and Payne or Aldwell and Schachter is infeasible. While it might be possible to use the College Board's Music Theory Course Description as an outline and their sample questions as a test, the amount of material that they provide is simply insufficient to assure success. The two previously published books from the National Learning Corp. and Mometrix Media LLC are utterly worthless. Thus I was really excited when I saw that Barron's was going to publish an AP Music Theory book, and I could hardly wait to get a copy and start preparing our homeschooled son for the exam.
Now that we've had a chance to use this book for a couple of weeks, I can tell you what a wonderful job the authors have done. In 22 chapters and 632 pages they masterfully cover every topic on the AP Music Theory course syllabus, every topic on the exam outline, and so much more. The review material that they provide in each chapter is very thorough, and the exercises are interesting and challenging. After every few chapters is an aural unit that presents additional multiple choice questions. The questions on the audio CDs are presented in the same style as the sample exam questions available from the College Board. The final 6 chapters of the book present sound strategies for each part of the exam. The two practice tests promise to offer the most realistic exams outside of those actually given by the College Board. I especially appreciate all of the information and exercises that this book has for the sight singing portion of the AP exam. It's impossible to find anything like that in any other source.
It's clear that Nancy Scoggin has a great deal of experience teaching AP Music Theory. It shows on every page of this book. Her co-author Mary Elizabeth has also done wonderful work in engraving the numerous musical examples and preparing the audio tracks for the CDs. It's a pleasure to use their book. I highly recommend it to anyone preparing for the AP Music Theory exam. With this book you'll be on your way to "becoming a thinking musician" and getting that 5.
Addendum (July, 2010)
We spent about 30 to 45 minutes per day for about 2 months using Nancy Scoggin's book to review for the AP exam. In that time we were able to get through the entire book from cover to cover. Absolutely every topic that appeared on the exam was covered in this book, and the actual exam turned out to be almost exactly like the two practice tests included in this book. Thus there is no better way to prepare for the AP Music Theory exam than to use this book. Everyone who plans to take the exam should buy it. It helped us tremendously, and it will help you too. I'm very grateful to Nancy Scoggin for publishing the perfect review guide, and I highly recommend it to anyone who plans to take the exam.