Why Work on Music Theory?

Music_Theory

 

Students at the O’Connor Music Studio know that music theory is always a part of lessons.  I strongly believe that theory is needed so that students understand what they are playing and why.

To me, theory work is just as important as playing.  A firm knowledge of musical structure makes playing everything easier.

Music knowledge learned through piano lessons transfers easily to other  musical activities.  Students in Fairfax County Public Schools, students learn to play recorder.  Students are sometimes surprised to learn that they already know all the notes – from their piano lessons!

When you sing in a choir, harmonize with Sweet Adelines, play an instrument in your school or community band/orchestra, join your church’s handbell choir (note:  Pender UMC has an excellent Handbell program), teach yourself guitar – theory will help in every instance. By learning to read, write, and understand this musical language, many more musical opportunities will be made available the rest of your life.

Most piano methods come with a theory book that matches page by page what concepts are being learned in the lesson books.  I actually recommend that students do the theory first when they get home, while the concepts are still fresh in their minds.

If the student is not in a piano method, I’m starting to use the Theory Time series.  Book One covers music alphabet, introduction to keyboard and staff, stem rule, steps & skips on a keyboard and staff, repeated notes, dynamics, treble clef lines & spaces, bass clef lines & spaces, quarter note & rest, half note & rest, whole note & rest, dotted half note, bar lines, double bar line, measures, time signatures, rhythm drill, vocabulary, ear training and a review test. Free ear training videos for each ear training exercise are hosted on the Theory Time YouTube channel. The Grade One workbook is appropriate for beginning 1st, 2nd or 3rd grade students. This workbook includes 51 pages, 13 lessons and 8 Fun Sheets.

For adults and more advanced students, I have a copy of All About Music Theory: A Fun and Simple Guide to Understanding Music which can be used as a review or a “try before buy”.

Stop procrastinating and go do your theory!

May 9 ~ Today in Music History

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• 1914 ~ Carlo Maria Guilini, Italian conductor

• 1914 ~ Hank Snow (Clarence Eugene), Canadian-born American country-music singer, guitarist and songwriter, Country Music Hall of Fame

• 1937 ~ Sonny Curtis, Guitarist with Buddy Holly & The Crickets, songwriter

• 1939 ~ Nokie Edwards, Guitarist with The Ventures

• 1939 ~ Ray Eberle recorded Stairway to the Stars with the Glenn Miller Orchestra for Bluebird records.

• 1941 ~ Pete Birrell, Guitarist with Freddie & The Dreamers

• 1942 ~ Tommy Roe, Singer, songwriter

• 1944 ~ Richie Furay, Musician with Poco and Buffalo Springfield

• 1945 ~ Steve Katz, Record producer; musician: guitar, harmonica, singer with Blood, Sweat and Tears

• 1949 ~ Billy Joel, Grammy Award-winning American rock singer, songwriter and pianist Inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on 3/15/99
More information on Joel

• 1962 ~ The Beatles signed their first recording contract. George Martin was hired to be the group’s producer and the band would record for EMI Parlophone.

• 1964 ~ Hello Dolly! became the nation’s top pop record. The milestone put Louis Armstrong on the Billboard music chart in the top spot for the first time in his 41-year music career. Later, ‘Satchmo’ was cast in the movie version of Hello Dolly!

• 1965 ~ Vladimir Horowitz played his first public concert in 12 years at Carnegie Hall in New York City. The audience applauded the piano virtuoso with a standing ovation that lasted for 30 minutes.

• 1991 ~ Rudolph Serkin passed away.  He was a Bohemian-born pianist who was widely regarded as one of the greatest Beethoven interpreters of the twentieth century.

• 2001 ~ James Myers, whose two-minute, eight-second tune Rock Around the Clock is considered the granddaddy of all rock ‘n’ roll songs, died of leukemia. He was 81. The song was No. 1 for eight weeks and went on to sell 22 million copies worldwide. It has been recorded by more than 500 artists, from Mae West to the Sex Pistols, and has been used in more than 40 movies. Myers, who also wrote under the name Jimmy DeKnight, penned more than 300 songs and had bit parts in movies and TV shows, but Rock Around the Clock remained his most famous work.