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Secrets to Music Theory Series with Alex Guillen - Note Reading (Day 2)

  • Mar 26, 2013 · 6:00 PM
  • This location is no longer available

Update: I just wanted to let you know about a few important updates to the series.

1) After some consideration I think everyone will benefit even more from these theory sessions if they bring their instruments. So the first half of each session will be written & verbal drills and exercises. The second half will be applying these lessons on our instruments which really is the ultimate goal in music theory.

2) Although, these sessions are geared towards the basic fundamentals of music, it is important not do dismiss this series as being too basic. A thorough and complete study of music fundamentals is key in order to move on to more complex music theory concepts. If you find yourself not being able to grasp the more complex stuff then most likely your fundamentals still needs reviewing. In this series I'll be showing you the easiest and fastest method to practice your fundamentals in order to be primed and ready to take on further complex music theory subjects.

3) Each session will be 2 hours long in order to accommodate lecture time, questions, and application of each music theory concepts to our instruments. Please arrive early enough to get situated and ready to start as each session will be fast paced in order to cover each element of music thoroughly. Please bring a couple of pencils, erasures, manuscript paper and a writing pad or notebook to write on. Here is a link to print free manuscript paper if you need it:

Secrets to Music Theory Series with Alex Guillen- Note Reading (Day 2)

The real secret to mastering music theory is to practice it daily. There are five elements of music that every musician should use repeatedly and memorize in order to recall it easily and intuitively on their instrument.

The 5 basic elements of music are:

  • Note Reading
  • Key Signatures
  • Scales
  • Intervals
  • Chords

The problem for most musicians is finding an simple way to practice these fundamentals while at the same time storing them into long term memory in the most efficient way. What is needed is a methodology. That will be the main focus of this workshop.

Through my years of studying music theory and teaching, I have noticed that the most dreaded and loathed aspect of music is simple music theory basics. So I put together the best tips and tricks into this workshop to make the learning process fun and easy.

In this session we will be covering Note Reading which involves three operations:

1) An understanding of note names on the staff.

2) An understanding of which specific octave is indicated by a note on each clef, and

3) Finding the notes on the piano or playing them on an instrument. Musicians need to be proficient in all of the above three sets of knowledge to be able to master improvisation, composition, analysis, or orchestration.

How to practice note reading

  1. Doing speed drills identifying notes in both treble and bass clefs. Practicing everyday for 10-15 minutes a day is enough needed for beginners and intermediate musicians to make great strides in sight reading fluency. I'll show you exactly how to do this step by step.
  2. Practice sight reading on your instrument. This involves looking at a piece of music for the first time then playing it on your instrument without stopping or making mistakes. If you never really ever practice this then I will show you how to get started the right way. If you are already doing this then I will show you the best tips on how to do this more efficiently.

How do you know when you are good enough/fast enough at note reading?

Consider this: If music is a language as some people say, then note reading is to music what ABC's are to reading. When you are able to read a piece of music, play it and understand it, then you can say you have become functional in note reading. Your note reading skills will improve with daily practice tips I will be going over in this session.

Learning Outcomes:

Upon completion of this series you will understand how to divide the octave into scales as well as understand interval qualities and names and be able to classify them and recite them instantaneously in all keys. You will learn about note reading and the different time signatures (simple, compound, duple, triple, etc). You will also know enharmonic spellings of notes and key signatures (i.e F#/Gb). You will learn the harmonies of the major and minor scales (building blocks of chord theory). You will learn drills and exercises for all elements of this course that will help you to grasp and retain the material. You will also know about ear training, sight singing and music dictation, chord progressions, and much more.

Course Fee: $8 (discountsavailable for multiple days)

Materials needed: Pencil, Eraser, Manuscript Paper, Writing Pad


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  • Liana

    Alex...this sounds great...I think I can come but wanted to ask you a few specific questions perhaps via email...can you send me a quick email at [masked]

    March 25, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Sorry I can't make this one. I have other plans.

    March 23, 2013

    • Alex G.

      No worries, glad your able to make the other days!

      March 23, 2013

  • James B.

    Alex , I am out of town each week t thru th. Might u offer this over weekends or a Monday? Thanks

    March 23, 2013

    • Alex G.

      Hi James, I only plan on offering this course on spring break since I am either usually teaching private lessons or gigging on the weekend. If you are interested in learning more about music theory or music/guitar in general I am available for private lessons. please feel free to email me any time. Thanks!

      March 23, 2013

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