Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Add To Your Skills By Learning Theory

Another sure-fire way to improve everything you do at whatever instrument you play is by learning music theory. Knowing about the building blocks of music can greatly improve your comprehension skills, lessen the amount of time initially learning a piece, and improve the quality of musicianship at all levels. Some of these basic materials include knowledge of accidentals, different scale types, intervals, rhythm, chords, candences, transposition, analysis, and musical terms. At more advanced levels, concepts covered will include harmony, counterpoint, and analysis.

If you're doing RCM/NMCP exams, each grade level comes with specific pre-requisites or co-requisites, and for the advanced levels, several theory and history exams are needed to receive the full certificate.

If you're in a university program, you will invariably be required to take theory courses as part of the curriculum. If you're studying privately, there are several choices available:

1. Self-study. Not recommended.

2. Study with your main instrumental/voice teacher. Possible, although it can take a chunk out of your lesson time better spent learning your instrument.

3. Study with a dedicated theory teacher. Teachers who specialize in teaching theory, whether in the private or class format, generally have a much greater knowledge of how to teach these concepts and know what the proper standards are at all levels.

I cannot emphasize enough that students at every level will be rewarded many times over by taking the time to integrate music theory instruction into their musical education.

Here are some recommended theory books from popular publishers and methods:
Rudiments of Music - sheet music at Rudiments of Music Book 1. By Cora B. Ahrens. (Vol 1). Boosey and Hawkes Scores and Books. Softcover. 24 pages. Published by Boosey & Hawkes. (48007726)
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Look inside this title
Piano Adventures Theory Book, Level 1 - sheet music at
Piano Adventures Theory Book, Level 1 (A Basic Piano Method) Written by Nancy Faber, Randall Faber, Victoria Mcarthur. Instructional book for piano. 40 pages. Published by The FJH Music Company Inc. (FJ.FF1079)
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Elementary Music Rudiments: The Complete Elementary Music Rudiments - sheet music at Elementary Music Rudiments: The Complete Elementary Music Rudiments By Mark Sarnecki. Theory. Basic, Intermediate, and Advanced Rudiments. Book. 264 pages. Published by The Frederick Harris Music Company. (EMR10)
Level: Preliminary, Grades 1 and 2 Rudiments.
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Harmony: Book One - sheet music at Harmony: Book One By Mark Sarnecki. Theory. Basic Harmony. Book. 216 pages. Published by The Frederick Harris Music Company. (EMH03)
Level: Grade 3 Harmony.
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Theory for Beginners - sheet music at Theory for Beginners By Barbara Wharram. Theory. Basic Rudiments. Book. 206 pages. Published by The Frederick Harris Music Company. (HT21)
Level: Preliminary Rudiments.
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