Monthly Match-Ups

Monthly Match-Ups: Music Theory Results

I thought I’d make this post a little more interesting by combining mine and Alex’s thoughts after taking our music theory test and giving Abbey’s perspective on making the test with the results.

Our challenge this month was learning music theory.

The Test:

Alex’s Perspective:

While I watched a lot of YouTube videos on music theory, I guess I didn’t really soak up any information. My downfall was never reviewing or practicing. I thought it’d be good enough to just absorb the content by watching someone else. I totally bombed the test. I was drawing blanks on all the videos I had watched. I remember going through the scales video but couldn’t remember when it came to the test. I now know that fermata is not a type of cheese like parmesan. 

Jacqueline’s Perspective:

My studying didn’t go too well. I went through a few online lessons and took notes and I do feel like I learned a little bit – looking at the test being asked what the supertonic of an F scale and how many theoretical lines a grand staff has came directly from those lessons. That being said, since I really didn’t commit the way I wanted to, 20 minutes before I took the test I looked around for a 1 pager on music theory and tried to memorize the Circle of Fifths and structures of different chords. It certainly paid off.

I felt the test was fair – although the question about her favorite composer was definitely unfair to Alex – but I think with more studying I easily could have gotten 100%. I have a feeling my test was somewhere between 60-75% which definitely isn’t bad. After reading Alex’s thoughts though, I quickly realized we’re one in the same: I said a fermata was a type of cheese too

(stupid girl – did orchestra teach you nothing? You’ve played hundreds of fermatas!)

Abbey’s Perspective + ReSULTS:

Well, the results are in! I made what I thought was a fairly difficult music theory test and to my surprise the results were very split. I used a combination of my own music theory from years of piano, as well as the help of the internet to put together a comprehensive set of questions. I’ll fully admit that started to phone it in and literally just made the last question about myself so I could get back to murder documentaries on Netflix without Jacqueline bugging me for the finished test. Without further ado:

Jacqueline’s Score: 15/20 
Alex’s Score: 3/20

I fear that I may have inherently biased this test in favor of Jacqueline unknowingly, solely because she knows the type of questions that I would feel like asking. Additionally, I know Jacqueline has had some piano experience, whereas Alex has not (as far as my knowledge goes), and therefore, the questions regarding the actual piano keys were probably not super fair to him. I will say I am very disappointed that both of them failed to recognize what a fermata was, and furthermore took that question as the time to make a horrible cheese pun. Overall, this was a super fun project for me, and I felt that in my quest to make a fair exam, I learned far more about music theory than I had planned.

Monthly Match-Ups

Alex’s Thoughts on Learning Music Theory

Monthly Match-Up: Week Two

Alex’s Perspective

The task of learning music theory has not been as easy as I had planned. I first started off by trying a few interactive tutorials for music theory, like Abelton. I found that these were not really what I was looking for in just learning pure music theory for the test at the end of this month. They felt like they were either trying to sell me on their product or teach me how to make the next pop song. 

I have found YouTube videos have been quite helpful. I have this one channel (which I’m keeping secret) that does a great job at teaching music theory. The videos explain all the basics of music theory and create a really good foundation. Some of the annoying parts are that the videos can drag on for a while reiterating the same concept. While I will admit, it is helpful when learning, it can be frustrating when you are trying to absorb as much as you can as quickly as you can. So I will keep chugging along with those videos and channels at a consistent pace.

The most recent hurdle I have run into is not exactly having a keyboard. I have FL Studio which has built in keyboards, and visualization for all the notes. Though it is not the same to be trying to play a musical keyboard on a mechanical computer keyboard. Remembering that the ‘Q’ and ‘R’ buttons don’t correspond to keys isn’t as intuitive as having a real keyboard in front of you. 

I think overall the progress is good. By the end of this month, I am confident that I will have a solid foundation of music theory which will hopefully be of use when I start making music again.

Monthly Match-Ups

Monthly Match-Ups: Music Theory Week 1

One week into learning music theory and I figured it was due time for an update.

While it’s been a very busy week, I’m not completely in the dark when it comes to music theory. I have experience in piano, violin, and guitar, so I do have intuitive theoretical knowledge. Going into this challenge, I’d consider myself a beginner-intermediate. I don’t struggle with reading music, I’m familiar with most scales, using a Circle of Fifths, and tapping rhythms. But when it comes to non-major/minor scales I don’t know formulas, I struggle with musical analysis, and time signatures put me in an early grave when playing them.

Nevertheless with my basic knowledge, I’ve spent the week looking at free online music theory lessons. I take notes where there’s something I don’t know or need to memorize.

I think my focus will be on taking those notes and synthesizing them throughout the month. Hopefully, I can turn it into a one-pager. I have a really strong photographic memory and creating one-pagers has always been my exam strategy. I can’t retain information at the ready for extended periods of time, but I can process and retain in order to perform.

Originally, I had planned to study music theory whenever I was working on Civil Procedure (an idea Alex borrowed from me!). However, this seems to be pretty ineffective for me, so I’m abandoning that plan. I think the new plan is to use mornings to study music theory. That way I force myself to do it if I get too busy with schoolwork later in the evening.

As much as I’d like to go into more specifics, there’s not much else to say. I haven’t learned anything groundbreaking yet and also Alex reads these posts. I can’t be giving my good ideas away until the end – and then I’ll use them as scare tactics to make him feel unprepared (I’m currently reading The Prince, can you tell? The end should definitely justifies the means here!)

And to Alex I say: You’re on.