Mastering the Music Theory
Studied by Alden May
Advised by Mr. Meyer
I have always had a love for music. I was first in a choir in 2nd grade. I sang in the Middle School Chorus all through Middle School. I have been in XIV Hours since freshman year. Last year, I was in the musical. However, all throughout my musical career, I have felt an underlying desire to know how music works beneath the surface.
- How can increased knowledge of music theory help me as a musician?
- What makes music sound good or bad?
- How can chords fit together to form great progressions?
- How can music theory offer a foundation for musical composition?
- What are the benefits and drawbacks of western musical notation?
- How can you improve at sight-reading music?
- What skills do I need to practice and develop as I’m learning?
- Fundamentals of Music Theory – Coursera
- This is a great introductory course from the University of Edinburgh on music theory. I will use this as the foundation for my work for the beginning of my learning, and will move to the other Coursera course afterwards.
- Developing Your Musicianship Specialization – Coursera
- This course from the Berklee College of Music will go more deeply into music theory concepts. I like this because it is extensive and guides you through a music composition final project, which will most likely be the final project for this study. I will begin this after the Fundamentals course.
- musictheory.net – Lessons
- This is a good supplemental resource. It will allow me to drill and practice certain concepts unlimitedly so it will be very helpful in mastering some of the concepts I am learning in my coursework.
- The Musician’s Guide to Theory and Analysis Textbook (already have at home)
- This also is a good supplemental resource. It goes more deeply into the concepts I will learn in the Coursera courses. I only have the textbook and do not have the workbook that goes with it, but this might be a good thing to acquire. Additionally, there is a newer version of this book, so I might find it helpful to get that.
Month by Month Plan
- Complete the Fundamentals of Music Theory Course. Coursera estimates it will take about 12 hours, so I should be finished in about two weeks.
- I will then begin the first section of Developing Your Musicianship (Coursera estimates it takes 17 hours total)
- Finish the first section.
- Complete the second section of Developing Your Musicianship (13 hours)
- Complete the third section of Developing Your Musicianship (11 hours).
- Complete 4th section (10 hours), which guides you through composing a short piece of music
- Second half of November/December
- Finish 4th section if any is remaing.
- Revise, polish, and expand composition and prepare for presenting it
Expected Final Project
As my final project, I will create an original piece of music making sure to include music theory concepts that I would not have known at the beginning of this process. I would like to share this with the school with a short presentation about my independent study and a brief overview of the things I have learned and at the end I will play my original work. A bonus of this final project is that it will give me something to start working with at the beginning of next semester in Explorations in Songwriting and Composition.