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How To Learn And Practice Music Theory

learn and practice music theory

In this article I want to share my experience in the study and practical application of music theory. And tell you how to learn and practice music theory.

What is Music Theory For

If you perform other people’s works, then you definitely need knowledge of musical theory. And the more difficult you replay the music, the higher should be your level of knowledge.

If you compose your own music, knowledge of musical theory is necessary here. Let’s see why we need it.

  • To be able to correctly write down and save invented music.
  • If you compose music for several instruments, then using the necessary software, such as “guitar pro” or “sibelius”, you can write up parts of music of each instrument in a separate track and listen to how they fit together.
  • If you work not alone, but in a band, knowledge of music theory greatly simplifies the process of creating music.
  • You can forget the music you came up with. As a rule, this often happens quite quickly. You can watch and play the music write up on a stave or tablature at any time and you will not be afraid to forget it.

An important point is also the level of knowledge of music theory. You need to be able to write up everything correctly and without errors.

How to Start Learning Music Theory

The best way to learn music theory is learning through practice. I think it’s worth starting with the notes notation on your musical instrument. It’s hard to learn right away, especially for stringed instruments and piano, so I think you shouldn’t even start learning without practice.

In order not to lose a lot of time in vain, for a start, be patient.

First of all, I recommend making a paper printout or finding notes in any accessible format for reading, so that they are always at your fingertips. The figures below show such layouts for guitar and piano.

After that, find simple warm-up exercises with a minimum number of different symbols on them. It is best to use scales.

At first, it’s useful to simply find the notes on your musical instrument from some etudes or exercises. This can be done with a layout with notes. For a guitar, this is shown in the figure. Here the shown the tablature with the musical notation for the guitar in the standard tuning.

Arrangement of notes on the guitar neck in standard tuning

For piano:

Arrangement of notes on the piano keyboard

On staves or tablatures there are many other notations – these are pauses, durations, repetitions, various effects and others. All these designations can be found on the Internet and in thematic training materials on our website. So, gradually, you will study everything related to musical theory.

By the way, I use the tablature more than the stave. When I working with guitar pro, this form of recording is much more convenient for me.

How to Learn Music Theory

To make it more clear, we break the process into stages and consider an example. We will consider the example of a guitar tutoring.

  1. We can try to start with scales or sequences. Let’s try to play C major scale.
  2. Let’s try to play each note according to the layout above. We see that note C is located on the 8th fret of the sixth string and on the 3rd fret of the 5th string. In the standard tuning, they sound identical. Accordingly, we can see in the same way where the other notes are located.
  3. When we play the whole scale, we will already know where which of the played notes is located on the guitar neck. So, gradually we can complicate our task by first replaying various sequences, and then moving on to musical works.

Also, in the first stages you can not do without a metronome. It is written about him here. With its help, it will be easier for you to understand the rhythm, duration of notes and generally music in general.

I think that it makes no sense to memorize anything without practical implementationю The main methodology of the process is to move forward step by step. I would break down the whole process of studying music theory into 5 practical steps:

  1. Play scales. Here we learn the notation of notes on a stave and find them on our musical instrument.
  2. Play sequences. Here we strengthen our knowledge of notation and hone our technique.
  3. Playing of warm-up and training exercises. Here we study the duration of notes, rests and other notation.
  4. Play of none complicated music. At this stage we improve our skills.
  5. Play of What we want to play. At this level musician understands what he is missing and finds it frequently without difficulties independently.

As for the first point, for him enough to knowledge musical theory at the level described in the article “Notes and Rests. Time Signatures” on our website.

And Advice In The End

Easiest way to learn music theory is to work with a teacher who have a competently constructed methodological base for the study of musical theory and practice. It will help to avoid a lot of mistakes and quickly come to the result.

Alex Bratkov
Alex Bratkov Administrator