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Learning About Music

What Makes Music Work  
Why Music theory? You could play music for years, take years of lessons and still be missing out if you don't take the time to study music theory. Most private lessons don't give you advanced music theory, just basic note reading. Music theory is more than just notes and time signatures! It gives an understanding of how chords are constructed and how to create pleasing chord changes (often called chord progressions. Music theory will help you understand why certain melodies have that extra something and others are dull and lifeless. Music theory will make it easier for you to read and memorize music. For example, if you know that the composer is, say, using a deceptive cadence at a certain place in the music, it will be easier to remember what chords to play. When sight-reading music, if you know music theory, you can often leave out unnecessary notes and still produce a pleasing result by playing the appropriate chord, although not exactly as written. Good sight-readers are not a slave to the musical score; they know how to use theory to play an approximation of what the notes indicate and still make their playing sound good. Knowledge of theory enables you to improvise and even compose your own music.

I'm currently offering free music theory lessons online. If you'd like to subscribe, click here. I also offer follow - on lessons that continue the ideas presented in the free lessons.

Below, for your convenience are some good educational resources to help you learn music theory. Click on a highlighted item for more info:

What Makes Music Work  (a Self-Teaching Guide by Phil Seyer)

Understanding chord progressions (instructional video on CD by Phil Seyer)

Walking Basslines -- how to improvise and compose cool basslines to go with your chord progressions. (Instructional video on CD by Phil Seyer)

Music Theory and Harmony (scan more than 100 books!)

Jazz (investigate 100 books on Jazz!)

Magic Ear Trainer -- A Windows Ear Training program that teaches you to recognize musical intervals using hints -- melodic fragments that can be associated with musical intervals. Produces excellent , constantly changing training exercises using MIDI and your computer's sound system. $19.95

PowerTracks Pro Audio - an inexpensive software program that helps you record and study music. Record your live performances and combine them with MIDI. View notation of your own performances. Watch the notes on a guitar or piano keyboard screen. A chord wizard can automatically display chord designations.

Improvising music (piano, guitar, violin, you name it!)

(how to play, music, great guitarists)

Electric Guitar (how to play, how to make, bass guitars, history) 

Instructional Music CD:   Understanding Chromatic Chord Progressions (free sample lesson here!)

Walking Basslines: Improvising, composing

Lyrics: finding lyrics, writing original songs and lyrics

Playing the Piano

Turn Table Technique -- This essential guidebook and companion 2-record set teaches you to play the turntable as a musical instrument. Using this first-ever turntable method, techniques and tricks can be mastered quickly and effectively. Includes step-by-step instructions on: setting up your equipment, scratching, beat matching, mixing, transforming, crabbing, crossfader technique, cutting and stabs

Syncopation Workout 


Computer Music

Salsa Music

Other recommended links



Music Book Store
Ear Trainer .  
Chromatic Chords