Private Music Theory Tutoring
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Music Theory Tutoring

In most cases, people prefer the practical to the theoretical. In the case of music, you are much more likely to like a song once you hear it than if you had someone describe what the song was trying to do. I am not even sure how you would describe music in theoretical terms. I guess that is what notation and stuff are for, but it seems like an odd thing to do to think about music without having the actual sounds to back you up. But I am just an amateur. Those people that are passionate about music theory are able to understand things on a level far deeper than us simpletons that just like the music for a catchy hook. With private music theory tutors, you can learn how to make music from how others make music, studying the choices that they make along the way.

I play the guitar a little, but it is just a hobby for me. I know enough to know where to place my fingers for some chords, but if you tried to ask me about what chord naturally progresses or playing in a key, that stuff goes right over my head. That is really where music theory comes in. The first time where I really started to see the level of knowledge that it takes to make great music was in a video of Paul Simon from the 1970s when he made an appearance on the Dick Cavett Show. In the interview, he sits with an acoustic guitar and ponders on a new song that he has written, which we would later come to know as his great hit Still Crazy. He starts by playing an E minor seventh chord and naming it. He then says how a G sixth chord would be the same. Dick Cavett nods along, playing like he knows what Simon is talking about even though he is in my boat with the musically ignorant. Paul Simon plays a passage of Still Crazy that is absolutely beautiful. It goes into the chorus that we all know and he pauses it finishes to pose a question to the audience about where to go next. Meanwhile, Dick Cavett is still trying to process the masterpiece that he’s just heard for the first time. Simon suggests a few musical choices, a D nine chord going into a G major or a G sharp minor.

What starts to get interesting and shows you the level of attention to detail that real musicians have is when Paul Simon points out that the two notes that he still has not used in the song are C natural and C sharp. He contemplates changing keys to incorporate those two notes because he feels like the audience is looking for something different even though they might not even realize it. He starts connecting with Cavett, who comes from a theatre and comedy background, on how things are written. They talk about the “Rule of Three,” which is a concept that occurs in many art forms. The premise is that people enjoy patterns, so if you do something that the audience likes, you can reinforce that one more time by repeating it, but the audience knows what to expect by the third time, so you have to throw in a little twist. By the fourth time, they lose interest.

This level of thinking outside of the simple notation is how music theory comes to be. When considering artists, tone is just as important as content. Cover songs are interesting when an artist is able to infuse their musical sensibility onto a different track. But that ability to know what parts to keep and what parts to make your own takes skill and knowledge. An amateur musician might not think about all of the notes that they are NOT using, but that is something that an expert never forgets. When you search for music theory tutors near me, you will find people passionate about music, who think on a level beyond the amateurs.


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We all know the basic elements of a song, starting with the ideas of melody and rhythm. Going deeper, you might think about tuning, harmony, scales, dissonance, and other things that affect the minutia of a song. For a lot of music fans, songs are not about the nitty gritty details. You just think of songs from the chorus that you know every word of or the tune that gets stuck in your head. For someone passionate about music and how it is made, you are going to nitpick every little detail because you know what a perfect song looks like, as opposed to one that is just good enough to pass the bar. We want private music theory tutoring to take your attention to detail seriously and help you figure out what things are most important to you in the process.

When you are able to expand on your music theory knowledge, it makes you a more complete musician, able to adapt to changes whenever they come. Questlove, who you may know as the drummer for The Roots and The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, is someone who has found success thanks to his deep passion for music and knowledge of theory. He grew up in Philadelphia and was lucky enough to go to school at a music conservatory, so he was focused on music theory from a young age. He ended up doing drums for a lot of different artists, including on the album Voodoo by D’Angelo. In an interview, Questlove talked about how D’Angelo tested everything about his drumming technique. As much as he wanted to be on beat, D’Angelo pushed a sloppy tone that was consistent with his artistry. Understanding this nuance was essential, as Questlove was able to give him the drum sounds that he required. This is something that is far deeper than you would learn from a drums tutor.

Looking at what we seek, the best music theory tutoring near me combines a passion for music with an ability to adapt. Strong tutors key in on students’ individuality and find ways to incorporate the common lessons.


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