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#960722 - 10/06/08 07:56 AM Re: How do you teach theory?
Betty Patnude Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/11/07
Posts: 4896
Loc: Puyallup, Washington

I would question the use of the word theory because to me theory is something not proven, theory is supposition.

And, yes, you can read and learn about music theory without experiencing it in action while playing music at the piano - it's not needed when you are playing it, but you definitly profit from knowing what you know.

At the same time, you can have no clue about theory and do a good job of playing the piano.

Music theory is essential to analysis of music.

Could "Comprehending Music" be a closer definition? We're talking multi-states here! Do we need a flow chart? Is this impossible to do?



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#960723 - 10/06/08 09:17 AM Re: How do you teach theory?
keyboardklutz Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/21/07
Posts: 10856
Loc: London, UK (though if it's Aug...
snobbyish, yet maybe helpful.

#960724 - 10/06/08 11:26 AM Re: How do you teach theory?
Chris H. Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/14/05
Posts: 2919
Loc: UK.
So if you teach someone to read the notes on the stave or teach them basic time values then you are teaching them theory?

Reading some of the posts in this thread it would seem that most don't regard such things as theory.
Pianist and piano teacher.

#960725 - 10/06/08 02:15 PM Re: How do you teach theory?
keyboardklutz Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/21/07
Posts: 10856
Loc: London, UK (though if it's Aug...
It's a start.
snobbyish, yet maybe helpful.

#960726 - 10/06/08 02:37 PM Re: How do you teach theory?
Betty Patnude Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/11/07
Posts: 4896
Loc: Puyallup, Washington
How do you like these definitions?

In Theory there is a "Head's On" approach.

In Technique there is a "How To - Hand's On" approach.

In Musicianship there is a "Ears's On" approach.

I'd like to copyright these for further development because I think there is credible teaching to be going on within such approaches.

Betty Patnude

#960727 - 10/06/08 03:12 PM Re: How do you teach theory?
Kreisler Offline

Registered: 11/27/02
Posts: 13818
Loc: Iowa City, IA
I think all three apply to all three.
"If we continually try to force a child to do what he is afraid to do, he will become more timid, and will use his brains and energy, not to explore the unknown, but to find ways to avoid the pressures we put on him." (John Holt)


#960728 - 10/06/08 03:57 PM Re: How do you teach theory?
keystring Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11847
Loc: Canada
Is this of interest? Thoughts expressed by one writer: Theory & Practice This goes together with some things he says about the right and left brain elsewhere.

#960729 - 10/06/08 06:05 PM Re: How do you teach theory?
Betty Patnude Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/11/07
Posts: 4896
Loc: Puyallup, Washington

Whose website is this?

Some of the things I would download do not seem like a good idea to do so since they can't be recogized by my computer.

The music is kicky, there is a sense of excitement about it, I liked the organization of the link you connected us to.

However.....it's quite blind in everything that I was able to open.

Where was the info about the right and left brain elsewhere that you saw, I did not see that.

I'm not feeling the connection you seem to see there between this theory thread and his....enlighten us please.

This may sound silly, but to me, music theory is like having been ordained to it, almost like areligious practice, like a pilgrimage to understanding, ceremony, integrity in music.

Theory is not a quick, feel good, fix or prop. Neither is musicianship or technique. Digetalized and recreational music is like computerized thinking from a box of information. Not from intuitively and intrinsically understanding from within.

I didn't get to the free lesson contents, so I'm only reacting to the pages I saw. It's not evident with whom or where we are going with these first pages.

Advertising and marketing is preventing me from getting closer to what might be on this website.

It's not academic enough for me at this point.

I'm having trouble explaining this. And, I think I might be sorry I said this, as obviously many people would enjoy this learning tool.

THis is not th "Pied Piper" for me on first sight.



#960730 - 10/06/08 06:27 PM Re: How do you teach theory?
Gary D. Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/30/08
Posts: 4814
Loc: South Florida
Originally posted by Betty Patnude:
He was forming a triad (3 tone chord). He said:
Major is 1-2-3-4/123
minor is 1-2-3/1234
diminished is 1-2-3/123
He was speaking in half steps from any tonic.
This is merely using a 12 note system to represent intervals.

Major is a major third plus a minor third.

Also the 1st, 3rd and 5th degrees of a major scale, in any key.

But the advantage of counting keys is that theoretically you can figure out chords with no knowledge of scales or key signatures. I don't think this works well for most people, alone.

It seems like the person explaining was just saying to start with any key on the piano, go up four half steps and play that note, then go up three more half steps and play another note, thus a major chord.

So many times the systems people use can be more confusing than what is actually being taught.

And, I had taken the long way around with diatonic scales, reading "charts", doing listening, knowing key signatures, degrees of scales, lots of info - which you DO need to know and be able to do - but so much theory can be expressed very, very simply. So simple it's elusive.
I think this happens when systems and terms become more important than what is actually happening. We just saw that in the long discussion about diminished chords, which are really very simple things but are so hard to describe using "rules".

I had felt so dumb in that class, but I'm sure everyone felt dumb with the way the book was written, and the way the teacher (what a nice man he was always smiling) taught.
It sounds as though the book was counter-intuitive. I have often looked at explanations of things in the theory books that momentarily throw me until I realize that someone is using a complicated and confusing way (to me) of explaining something I already know.

I finally learned that theory makes sense in hindsight - and that it helps to be able to do what you are talking about before you approach the rules, and the definition, of what it all means. Working backwards so to speak.
That's the way it has always worked for me. I link all theory to music. Kreisler mentioned today that V7 to vi is a "deceptive cadence". I learned that sometime in the late 1960s and have not heard that term since then. But I know it is very common in Mozart:

V7 vi
IV I 6/4
V7 I

(the 6 should be over the 4 and no slash)

As you can see, if I had taken a theory exam today with examples of authentic and deceptive cadences, I would have been graded down for not knowing the labels although I can write such progressions in my sleep. ;\)
Piano Teacher

#960731 - 10/06/08 06:37 PM Re: How do you teach theory?
keystring Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11847
Loc: Canada
Hi Betty,
This is the site that contains the circular map that radiates outward in coloured wedges that you liked. The very fact that he sees so many aspects to music study, means that this teacher's ideas are not contained on one page but are a fragment. The ideas are interlinked, just like the elements in music study.

On this page he is saying that theory explains how music works, and is important, but it is not everything and it cannot explain the "whole" that music is. You have written about three elements of musicianship, others have written about different sides of music of which music is only one. He addresses this too, and that is the link I saw. I thought it was well worded.

This site is addressed to students, hence the upbeat music, I suppose. The ideas are not shallow or quick fixes, however.

I could not adequately summarize the ideas so rather than misrepresent them I've deleted that summary. Sorry.


#960732 - 10/06/08 06:40 PM Re: How do you teach theory?
keystring Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11847
Loc: Canada
Actualy it might be more academic than it seems, but it is addressed to students entering music. He cannot use specialized terminology but I suspect that the concepts themselves are not shallow. I would look at it with the sound off - in fact the speakers are not plugged in, so I have no idea what is playing.

#960733 - 10/06/08 07:26 PM Re: How do you teach theory?
Betty Patnude Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/11/07
Posts: 4896
Loc: Puyallup, Washington
Well, I'll get back to it sometime this week, I just hate to leave something that I'm not getting - unfinished. But, I think I'm having a mental block with it for some reason.

It's as though I'm having a dream that keeps saying "But, I don't know who "he" is!"

Sorry to be such a poor sport aobut this, truly. Part of the problem is that I couldn't enter everything on the site - my computer gave me cautions.

Thanks Gary, and Keystring!


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