Learning music theory will make you a more skilled and more knowledgeable musician, with the added bonus that you’ll be able to play new music with the same ease as reading a book.
I take a practical approach to teaching theory, using a variety of instruments and audio and visual devices in the classes.
Music theory is a broad subject, but the basic areas covered in classes are: note reading; keys, scales and modes; rhythm and how to write it down; chords, including their alterations and extensions; harmony; voice leading; musical analysis, and composition.
If you’re still wondering whether learning theory is for you or not, here are a few common reasons why people decide to take classes:
Play new music and expand your repertoire
When you learn how to read music you will be able to pick up a piece of sheet music, or download a score from the internet, and be able to play it instantly.
Write your own music
Not only will you be able to immortalise your own compositions by writing them down in a universally understood language, you will also be confident that you are writing better music. Once music is written down, it is easier to see where more lines can be added and which harmonies will work where. Your compositions will quickly become more intricate and rich. Learning how to read music is vital for people wanting to write their own music.
Improve your playing
In learning how to read music you are also learning how music works. You will learn how chords are built up; what chord progressions sound good; how to add your own notes on top of chords; which keys to modulate to and from; how to fit difficult rhythms over the beat; how to decorate and ornament a melody; which chords you can lay on top of each other to create new sounds, and much more. You will also learn new scales, such as the Mixolydian mode, or the Hungarian Gypsy scale. All this new understanding of music will improve your playing and improvising dramatically.
Join bands, choirs or orchestras
If you can read music, you can feel confident turning up to any band practice as you’ll be able to instantly join in. There’s nothing quite so amazing as complete strangers coming together for the first time with their instruments, being given a piece of sheet music which they’ve never seen before, and then sitting down together to instantly produce the most beautiful music. If someone hadn’t invented a way of putting music down on paper, the great works of Beethoven and Tchaikovsky would have been lost forever.
Once you can read music, you will look at the way music is written in a different and more knowledgeable way. When you look at a piece of music you will immediately know which key it is in, what kind of beat it has, what structure or form the piece takes, the rhythm and pitch of the melody, the harmonies it uses, the modulations it employs… in short, you will understand it. As a result, learning how to play a new piece of music becomes very easy.
Pass music theory exams
Many of my students are already studying music at school or in college, but are benefiting from some specialised one-to-one tuition in order to pass their exams. If you are thinking of studying music, the normal entry requirement is a Grade 5 level of music theory. I can teach you all you need to know for this exam and beyond. We’ll do sample questions and past exam papers, so that when you take your test you are fully prepared.
“It’s like learning a new language – one which everyone from Mozart to Zappa could speak!” Thom (pupil)