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How did you learn so much theory?

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(@sally45)
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Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 56
Topic starter  

Most of the time when I try to read this part of the forum I stare for at least an hour trying to decipher large words and note names which I know virtually nothing about. This all seems so over my head...I was just wondering how some of the "theory gods" got to know what they do. I mean, you weren't born with scales and modes already in your head. How do you memorize so many things and go about learning so much? How many years...or days...or months...did it take you untill it all started to click?

Just thought id ask. You don't have to take time away from answering actual ligitiment questions about theory...I was just wondering -to see if maybe there is hope for people like me who know zip about it thus far.


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(@hbriem)
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Joined: 20 years ago
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Music theory is not nearly as complicated as you think.

I learned most of it from coming here and reading David's articles.

--
Helgi Briem
hbriem AT gmail DOT com


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(@mp173)
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Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 16
 

I am not a great guitarist nor a great musician. I started late in life with no formal training in my youth.

I took over a year of MT at a local music shop that specializes in lessons and sells a few guitars. I went in one day and asked a few questions as to why certain chords sounded good together and others didnt. They started explaining it ... and finally looked at each other and said "we need a music theory class.

So, they advertised it and no one came, except me. The instructor and I met weekly, as private lessons and he started with the basics and I got a little knowledge.

I discontinued it 9 months ago and took up guitar lessons. Now, I am about ready to go back to him and start applying both together.

Tom Serb's book will help you, as will David's columns. But, I recommend, that you find a local class and go thru it.

ed


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(@noteboat)
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Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 4933
 

I started out with the typical music core in college: theory, harmony, ear training, keyboard. (They make you take keyboard so you can understand theory - it's a very visual thing on a piano.)

Guitar teacher offering lessons in Plainfield IL


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(@full-fathom-five)
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Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 17
 

I agree with hbriem I don't know that much about theory but what little I do know I picked up here.

I just try not to worry too much about learning everthing all at once otherwise you spend your life trying to get your head round it and not actually playing...


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(@lederhoden)
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Joined: 19 years ago
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I used the internet mostly using GN


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(@undercat)
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Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 963
 

Respectable guitar teachers should incorporate it into your lessons. I picked up a fair bit from some private lessons I took.

Do something you love and you'll never work a day in your life...


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(@alex_)
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Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 611
 

Music theory is not nearly as complicated as you think.

I learned most of it from coming here and reading David's articles.

- oh my god it is as complicated as anyone thinks, its difficult to get your head around, at the beginning, NO one lesson or explaination will make you understand fully..

everyone i know has needed to have like 10-15 explainations, and then it meshes together like a jigsaw and it makes sense then, not from one explaination, because things are usually missed, out, and you need time to think about them.

Piston's harmony book, do not say that is not complicated, im still dechyping it after about 10 months.


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(@psychonik)
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Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 268
 

the only thing that's utterly complex is the massive amount of vague terms that are used in so many different contexts that i decided to give up with the terminology for the mean time, and just focus on strengthening on what i DO know.

Music theory isn't as complicated as some people like to make it, it just takes time and patience..lots of patience. Hanging out here and trying to iunderstand what people are talking about has helped me tremendously. I give big thanks in the theory department to Noteboat, Mr. Hodge, Helgi, Alex, and many other less posted members here whose names have eluded me... but without your massive knowledge and contsant explaining (even if i'd end up more confuzed after reading the post than ever before), Id still be "putting my keys in the blender" (an old joke)


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(@malcster)
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Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 7
 

The quickest way is to get a job with lots of freetime or become unemployed. p.s get rid of your friends as well - more time

"its better to burn out than it is to rust"


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(@crazy-dave-miller)
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Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 18
 

I took a music theory class this semester in college, but for those who can't afford that luxury (and it was a luxury, though some of my classmates found it to be torturous) you can find numourous books on the subject or read the posts here on GN. It helps if you have an instrument handy (particularly a keyboard, as, ironically, music theory is best learned visually--rather than aurally--by many people). Most of what I've learned through theory I already had a vague grasp of from playing guitar, I was just able to use theory to identify what I was playing (i.e. I wrote a song in a minor key but would use a major third in conjunction with the tonic once in a while. It hit me that I was playing a major third one day, which allowed a note not on the scale to "fit in")

keep rocking the free world
http://www.myspace.com/twilitemotel


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(@hbriem)
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Joined: 20 years ago
Posts: 646
 

It is far easier to learn music theory on a piano than a guitar.

The basics of music theory are laid out visually on the keyboard.

--
Helgi Briem
hbriem AT gmail DOT com


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(@alex_)
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Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 611
 

thats why i think anyone who wants to know theory should have basic keyboard skills and see how stuff works so its easier.


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(@stratwrassler)
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Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 17
 

3 years of piano lessons helped prepare me to learn theory on the guitar, but I don't think it's "easier".

Most piano players, as opposed to guitar players, start off reading music in standard notation. This facilitates visualizing music, and you can see the relationship between notes in a chord, scale, etc. right away.

One thing about the guitar I think is easier to apply and visualize theory is the fact that the "shapes" remain the same no matter what key/mode you are in. On the piano this is not the case.

Peace

Groove and Tone: If it don't got it, why play it?


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(@stratwrassler)
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Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 17
 

Music theory is not nearly as complicated as you think.

I learned most of it from coming here and reading David's articles.

There's only 12 notes. If you can count to 13, add, subtract, and understand complex math concepts like "odd", "even", "every-other", you can learn and memorize most music theory.

It's applying it and making it sound musical that's hard. :P

Peace
-Rick

Groove and Tone: If it don't got it, why play it?


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