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Music theory is simply the study of the science behind music. If you're thinking, "I don't want to be a scientist; I want to be an artist," then think again. Even in visual art, artists must understand scientific concepts such as color theory. In music theory lessons near you, you'll be given the tools to create the most beautiful sonic art possible.
Music theory encapsulates the principles, methods, and concepts used to play, read, and compose music. From the basics of music notation to the intricacies of how musicians write new songs, music theory teachers specialize in introducing students to these essential concepts. With music theory, musicians can create, evolve, preserve, and share their musical knowledge.
Why Learn Music Theory?
Does sheet music look like a bunch of gibberish to you? Essentially music theory attempts to make intangible and abstract concepts more concrete. Music theory classes will help you define things like time signatures, rhythms, keys, dynamic notations, and more.
With music theory, musicians can compose intelligently, transcribe music, and understand the art they're making on a much deeper level. You’ll also heighten your awareness and appreciation of music, which many regard as the universal language.
As a part of musicology, the overall study of music theory fits into a broader understanding of human anthropology and how music has shaped human storytelling for thousands of generations.
Without music theory, the construction of every instrument, every rhythm, every harmony, and every song would just be guesswork. From learning essentials in beginner music theory to mastering musical concepts in advanced courses, music theory classes near you will give you the keys to unlock the true potential of music making — no matter which instrument you play.
What You'll Study in Music Theory Lessons
If you're wondering how to learn music theory, for beginners or advanced musicians, the best way is to study with a private music theory teacher. In private lessons, you'll learn much more quickly than you could in a larger class setting.
By taking private lessons, you'll quickly overcome challenges as you receive immediate feedback and your tutor's undivided attention. In addition, private teachers customize every lesson to meet the individual needs and interests of their students.
For example, music theory lessons for kids differ greatly from those designed for adults, and advanced lessons cover quite different concepts than those seeking how to learn music theory for beginners. In private lessons, you'll be able to focus on the specific areas of music theory you wish to improve, while learning at a pace that's comfortable for you.
Sample Curriculum for Beginner Music Theory
Music should be thought of as a language, and in order to speak the language, you should start by gaining a deeper understanding of the basics. That is what beginner music theory lessons will do for you.
Beginner music theory often coincides with musical instrument lessons. If you're a self-taught musician or learned to play by ear however, you'll benefit greatly from learning the basic tools to play sheet music and write down the music you're composing. In beginner classes, your tutor might choose to cover the following topics:
- Staff, ledger lines, and clefs
- Note and rest duration
- Time signature, tempo, and measures
- Half steps, whole steps, and accidentals
- Scales, key signatures, and intervals
Sample Curriculum for Intermediate Music Theory
Once you've learned basic music theory for beginners or have a few music lessons under your belt, you'll be ready to learn intermediate music theory concepts. Intermediate lessons are perfect for musicians who can already read basic music notation. In intermediate classes, your teacher might choose to cover some of the following topics:
- Chords and voicing
- Chord progressions
- Circle of fifths
- Phrases and cadences
- Dynamics and textures
Sample Curriculum for Advanced Music Theory
Advanced music theory classes are intended for students and musicians who possess a strong command of musical notation, rhythms, scales, semiotics, and the mathematics of music. Students embarking on composition and playing virtuoso-level pieces will benefit greatly at this level. In advanced lessons, your tutor will likely cover some of the following topics:
- Genre and technique
- Symbolism in composition
How to Find the Right Music Theory Teacher for You
If you're ready to nurture your musical abilities, you'll need to find a qualified teacher. A simple search for a music theory tutor near you at TakeLessons will reveal hundreds of options. Additionally, you can choose to either take music theory lessons near you or online.
Either way, all of our teachers are highly rated, educated, and experienced. When narrowing down your choices, we recommend reading through our teachers’ profiles and looking for someone who specializes in your instrument of choice.
We also encourage you to read the comments and reviews left by other music theory students, like you. Whether you choose to study online or in local lessons, you'll find that your musical abilities will begin to improve from the very first lesson.