Music theory classes at college are they worth it?

dmajor100

New member
Im attending audio school and we have one semester of theory but like everything else its gonna be cramed all in one semester. Im so desperate on making incredable piano songs and using it to makr beats as well and want to do anythiny to get it. As I see the theory is almost endless and sure master piano players still learn and wonder why certain chords and notes make sense. In all I would love to skip math,government and every th ing else and just learn theory but I havent found that yet. So if any past music degree people that have taking these course can give some insite if its worth it id be very thankful.
 

bandcoach

Zukatoku - Mod Scientist
Definitely worth it - you know what they have done for me. From your point of view you should be seeing it as the opportunity to work with someone who can guide your learning in a structured manner that is not quite as easy to do on the internet.

That and doing some aural training on-line or as par of the courses will do wonders for your knowledge and your ears
 

Pumpthrust

New member
Definitely worth it - you know what they have done for me. From your point of view you should be seeing it as the opportunity to work with someone who can guide your learning in a structured manner that is not quite as easy to do on the internet.

That and doing some aural training on-line or as par of the courses will do wonders for your knowledge and your ears

Of course, I second this. I'm in my second semester as a music major and its been very rewarding. Learned so much more in a few months than I ever learned in the last two years of trying to teach myself. I am also studying classical piano, taking private jazz guitar lessons and I sing in the college chorus which is lots of fun and has helped with both sight singing and reading. With that being said, you have to take your time and realize that learning this shit isn't gonna make you a dope producer overnight....you have to be patient and keep an open mind at all times. Most of all, you have to practice and apply what you're learning everyday. Especially the fundamentals. For example, for our Theory I final, our professor said that if anyone failed the key signature portion of the exam, you've failed the exam. Harsh, but I understand what he's getting at-you gotta have these fundamentals down COLD. This is why I stay on musictheory.net daily working them exercises during Xmas break in preparation for Theory II.
 

bandcoach

Zukatoku - Mod Scientist
Well, we got to secondary sevenths and creating synthetic scales

Along the way we studied 12 tone theory including 12 tone matrices and all of the usual techniques for manipulating serial music

Over the three years of our degree (different structures in Australia - no emphasis on the well-rounded citizen only on the well rounded major) we finished Pistons Harmony, 3 English textbooks known as 1st year, 2nd year and 3rd year harmony. We also studied counterpoint.

Our first lecturer (years 1 and 2) required us to do a lot of ear training work including 4-bar, 4-part melodic dictation (Soprano, Alto, Tenor and Bass). So recognition and transcription of:
  • rhythm,
  • intervals to two octaves,
  • chords: major-minor-aug-dim-dom 7th-minor 7th-major 7th-min-maj7-m7b5-dim7-etc,
  • melodic lines (starting note given) we had to transcribe rhythm and notes which also meant determining intervallic and harmonic movement,
  • scales: major nat minor, harmonic minor, melodic minor.
3rd year lecturer required us to do things like write a new middle section of a mazurka based on an existing middle section of a mazurka by Chopin, transcribe a brass section from a work by Stravinsky given a piano reduction and a recording

So, yeah, pretty deep.
 

dmajor100

New member
Man that sounds hard but very intresting at the same time, just so much knowlegde thrown at you. So you can say after it all ill be a full fledged musician and composer. What degree is it they give you.and what jobs can I qualify for after. Very seriously thinking about this after audio school, I very much think this will help me in the music industry.
 

bandcoach

Zukatoku - Mod Scientist
For me it was a degree in composition, but the official name was Bachelor of Arts(Music) - they made no distinction in the sub-area of music you specialised in. We had 5 composition majors, 5 guitar majors (classical/pop), 5 singing majors, 5 woodwind majors (flute/clarinet/bassoon), and 5 piano majors. By the time I started this degree I could already play several instruments very well (Orchestral percussion being my strong suit at that time along with guitar, bass and kit).

I also completed a minor in Audio/Video production that had more units than my major.

After completion I would have considered myself at a journeyman level - several more years of practice and study to be confident about being a master of the discipline.
 

dmajor100

New member
Im trying to beat around taking regualr classes since im kinda add and never been book smart amd 4 years seems to muc) when I just wanna master piano. Is the a 2 year degree in composing of just theory also hear that I can just take selective courses but it might cost out of pocket.

---------- Post added at 03:43 PM ---------- Previous post was at 03:04 PM ----------

Kinda looking inyo berklee theory courses as well off but I dont wanna be ripped off xause it is online and just a 12week course for keyboard.

---------- Post added at 04:02 PM ---------- Previous post was at 03:43 PM ----------

Do you think full piano theory can be taught in 8 weeks time?
 

bandcoach

Zukatoku - Mod Scientist
Im trying to beat around taking regualr classes since im kinda add and never been book smart amd 4 years seems to muc) when I just wanna master piano. Is the a 2 year degree in composing of just theory also hear that I can just take selective courses but it might cost out of pocket.

---------- Post added at 03:43 PM ---------- Previous post was at 03:04 PM ----------

Kinda looking inyo berklee theory courses as well off but I dont wanna be ripped off xause it is online and just a 12week course for keyboard.

---------- Post added at 04:02 PM ---------- Previous post was at 03:43 PM ----------

Do you think full piano theory can be taught in 8 weeks time?

Best solution, I think, is to find a community college that is offering music theory and piano classes.

Berklee offer some good courses on-line, so don't shy away from doing those, but yeah they cost and you may not feel the results are worth the money.

As for full piano theory in 8 weeks - if this were possible it would have to be 24-7.

What you need to do is identify the level of theory you need to be successful and aim to acquire that. Any 8 week course is going to be aimed at giving you some hand coordination skills and some moderate level of chord knowledge and scale knowledge. Knowing it in all 12 keys would be a stretch.
 

dmajor100

New member
Yeah I figured that just 8 weeks will be like theory 101 which I pretty much know. I need the deep stuff like why playing a gsharp minor and adding and added a e with my left hand makes a better sound. I need to know the jazz,stuff, advanced intravels.
 

Pumpthrust

New member
Yeah I figured that just 8 weeks will be like theory 101 which I pretty much know. I need the deep stuff like why playing a gsharp minor and adding and added a e with my left hand makes a better sound. I need to know the jazz,stuff, advanced intravels.

Slow down. It seems like you're wanting to take in too much too soon. Take some time to master your fundamentals and you'll be straight. Look at the fundamentals like the foundation to your dream home. You want that house built on solid ground so it will stand forever, right? I strongly recommend looking into finding a private instructor for your piano lessons. I wouldn't even dare venture into the advanced stuff until your foundation is solid.
From what I gather, most music degree programs will require at least on year of piano and some private instruction, so you're gonna end up having to do it anyway at some point.
 
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MrJames851

Active member
when I was in college, I got so wrapped up in music, among other things, that i had a harder & harder time focusing on school

I have amazing focus ... for what I want to focus on

so first I was gonna switch to Associate degree path so I could get my paper & get out before I wasted any more money (& incurred more debt, which is my main prooblem now)

but my advisor wouldn't let me, lol she almost broke down telling me how much potential I had & how hard it was gonna be for me without a Bachelor's degree

so I stuck around, but I tried to change my course load to suit me better, one year I had all my classes on MWF, so I could take the bus back home to get in the studio, or hang around on campus & make music, or just work more shifts (I had like 5 jobs, including DJing the home basketball games)

other thing I did was try to take Music Theory class, notice I said try lol ... 2 years before I taught myself subtractive synthesis from reading articles on FP & elsewhere, and 1 year before I had been picking some basic theory on my own & from talking to musician friends, but when I got up in that class it was a completely different story

my problem stemmed from, even tho it was Theory 101 I think, my whole class were all music students since Elementary School for the most part, so they picked things up much quicker, & the teacher didn't have too much patience with me ... the kind of person I am, the music class was a huge priority to me so I took the time it needed to pick it up, but I also had other classes, and college professors don't give a **** about what other class you have lol ... memories

so it made me suffer a little, and it slowed up my workflow with production because I did a lot of thinking

but I would definitely encourage you to learn the stuff, I had better success taking piano lessons at the Afro-American Music Institute, one because it was more rooted in jazz/soul/gospel then classical stuff that can easily lose your interest, and because it wasn't so life or death that I get the material in a certain time crunch
 

dmajor100

New member
I had a phone conversation with a piano teach who,is a graduate of theory and has played jazz for 6 years. He said that a 4 year college course for compisition will be good but he asked me if I wanted to be a virturoso pianist,or, keyboard player. He said that college will take me to a pianist level with practice of course and I had to be sure this is wht I wanted cause of the 4 yr commitment. For staters im gonna take one on one lessons with him and see how far I get and see if I want or need more
 

Pumpthrust

New member
I had a phone conversation with a piano teach who,is a graduate of theory and has played jazz for 6 years. He said that a 4 year college course for compisition will be good but he asked me if I wanted to be a virturoso pianist,or, keyboard player. He said that college will take me to a pianist level with practice of course and I had to be sure this is wht I wanted cause of the 4 yr commitment. For staters im gonna take one on one lessons with him and see how far I get and see if I want or need more

Good deal, man. Just be patient with yourself and practice lots. You don't need to be a virtuoso to be a great pianist or great musician for that matter.
 

bandcoach

Zukatoku - Mod Scientist
I had a phone conversation with a piano teach who,is a graduate of theory and has played jazz for 6 years. He said that a 4 year college course for compisition will be good but he asked me if I wanted to be a virturoso pianist,or, keyboard player. He said that college will take me to a pianist level with practice of course and I had to be sure this is wht I wanted cause of the 4 yr commitment. For staters im gonna take one on one lessons with him and see how far I get and see if I want or need more

You are now on the road to being the success you want to be......:cheers:
 

SuperNaye

New member
Dude, I didn't really want to take a lot of theory classes, but they really are helpful. I mean, not only do you learn about the music your making, but for me, it gave me a lot of ideas. Learning about different types of harmonies and modes, that basically just opened a whole new door for me.
 

Solar Supernova

New member
The key to understanding all the chord progression, scale, mode, modulation jargon is to train yourself to listen to every note being played at any given moment, which believe it or not is entirely possible. It doesn't matter how dissonant something is for a brief time, first identify the sound of the chord and in the next instant identify the note in the bass to get an idea of the chord in the scale and its inversion. The actual scale or mode is usually identified easily enough in the melody. If this sounds like too much already, you may not want to study music theory as it may not be something you can apply to in listening to or writing music. Most great musicians would have no idea what I just said, meaning understanding music really isn't important for enjoying it or writing it.
 
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