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New starters - Do you do theory?


Jane
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My teacher has suggested I ought to learn some music theory. He recommended a workbook which I got and worked through (which he is now marking shocked.gif ), and am now starting on book 2.

Does anyone else do theory?

Does the Suzuki stuff include learning theory?

Jane

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Ah, the dread "T" word. It is really more difficult to play string instruments without knowing something about "why" than by learning appropriate theory as one goes along. If theory is introduced as needed, it is both painless and rewarding. I prefer theory to be integrated with playing, and then students are surprised when I demonstrate to them that they already know so much "hard stuff".

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I believe theory is important. When I started violin lessons (Irish music, yrs. ago and stopped) my teacher didn't teach any theory what-so-ever. Then in HS I started piano lessons (yrs. ago and stopped) my first lesson was scales and theory. When I decided to take up the violin again after umpteen yrs I was so happy that I had theory under my belt it was easy for me to read and understand the music and play the piece as it is meant to be.

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I was lucky enough to attend a high school where music theory was an elective. I really got a lot out of that class. It was hard, but also interesting, enjoyable & useful.

At the time I was playing bass in the jazz band & all those scales & keys came in handy to "walk the bass".

I would recommend learning theory to anyone playing an instrument.

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I'm working through Practical Theory Complete (A Self-Instruction Music Theory Course) by Sandy Feldstein. I recommend it.... it seems to stay in the practical information that I need and doesn't seem to wander off into territory that's too awful. (It's a combination textbook/workbook - 96 pages.)

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Well - theory is not my strong point!! In the UK though grade 5 theory was always required before you could take grade 6 and above practical exams. So I hate to admit it but the last time I did serious theory work was when I was under 10! Anyway - I am now having a rude awakening as for some of the work I'm doing now I have to have a good knowledge of theory. So it's back to those books!

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The stuff I'm working from is the Associated Board recommended books.

I have a theory text book, "The AB guide to music theory" (there are two parts part 1 and part 2 but I only have part 1 so far) by Eric Taylor.

And the work books are linked in to this and are also by Eric Taylor "Music Theory in Practice" there is one for each Associated Board grade.

I have done the grade 1 book and there were no real problems (only the bass clef! yikes not had to deal with this guy before), and am just starting the grade 2 book.

They are published by the associated board so you can probably get them from their website ( http://www.abrsmpublishing.co.uk )

If it helps ISBN numbers are:

ISBN 1-85472-446-0 for the theory text book

ISBN 1-85472-491-6 for the grade 2 workbook. My teacher has the grade 1 book at the moment so don't have that number to hand.

Jane

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Theory is ever so important to me. I'm not new to music, just to the violin, but I can't imagine studying *any* instrument without music theory.

Theory lets you peek behind the scenes, it is like a CAT scan. You become a better player, a better performer, and you will become more versatile. It will help you understand "your part" of the whole of the music.

Some forms of music will just flat out demand theory. You'll need to blend your music skills with the theory to give a practical understanding of how to help accompany a song that has no violin score; or to learn almost any manner of folk music -- or jam with the other folks just for fun.

And if you have tunes rattling around in your head, music theory will unlock them for you, then help you work them out and write them down.

You might not ever need to know how to interpret a figured bass piece, but you will need to understand which chords make up the choice of notes in this key -- or a new key -- and how (and which!) passing tones fit in.

-deb

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Theory is a huge part of playing music. Both for the "how's" and "why's". As string players, we have the opportunity to play several notes at once, which sets us apart from the woodwinds, and the like. I love theory, but am not an expert in it. I love learning about form, and usually liked analyzing compositions. it really gives you some insight into why the composer chose to do certain things, and how you can put certain points across better. The very best way to help learn theory is to learn a lesson, then apply it in any way you can to your instrument. Theory in most traditional music is not particularly helpful, as most of it is improvised from the very beginning of the composition, but it can help and really show you that some of the old fiddle players and other trad. players were quite ingenious. Theory is also helped by a good teacher. good luck, and study hard. look on the internet for examples of theory analysis, and basic theory sights, there are some good ones out there.

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I give all of my students a firm foundation in theory. My approach is not as in-depth as my college course, however they can all identify keys and show where/to what key a piece modulates. They also understand chords and all intervals.

I have found this makes them stronger musicians, and also makes it easier for me to communicate with them. Plus, they will be that much more ahead in the process, right?

VG

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An acquaintance of mine was getting a master's degree in oboe at Eastman, and was required to take a course in music theory. The teacher was really most interested in computer generated music. One day in class he tried to write some music on the chalkboard, and drew a staff with seven lines. Students in the clss got a terminal case of giggles.

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