Jump to content


Photo

How do you like to receive your theory knowledge?


  • Please log in to reply
15 replies to this topic

#1 returning_to_piano

returning_to_piano

    Newbie

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 34 posts
  • Member: 897705
    Joined: 10-May 17

Posted 09 August 2017 - 08:51

Just wondering how other adult learners like to learn their theory knowledge? How much info do you like presented per lesson, and what ways of learning it do you prefer?

 

Personally I find I like to be presented one whole system at a time (eg the pitch system, the rhythm system, the workings of the instrument), so I can understand how all the pieces of each system fit together at once. (Even if I'm not able to apply all that knowledge to my playing quite yet.) I think I also retain the info better when I see my teacher physically demonstrate the aspects he or she is explaining.

 

The motivation for this question is that soon I will be trying to teach adults, and although I can see that I won't be able to personalise 100% or to change my teaching style all of the time, I'd like to learn different strategies for giving information to adults as opposed to children.


  • 0

#2 Thepianist

Thepianist

    Member

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 56 posts
  • Member: 893388
    Joined: 20-June 15

Posted 09 August 2017 - 12:48

I pay for seperate theiry lessons now but my teacher used to do a bit with me but I felt it was eating to much into learning the instrument.

Sorry that isn't very helpful , I think when I hopefully eventually go into teaching I would teach theory as we go along. Only trouble is there is so much to learn that it would be hard to fit it all in to one 30 min session plus teaching the basics to a child. My piano teacher used to do a bit with me before the lesson but mainly it was down to me to kind of go away and learn it myself.
  • 1

#3 Acciaccatura

Acciaccatura

    Newbie

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 31 posts
  • Member: 897241
    Joined: 27-January 17

Posted 09 August 2017 - 15:41

For me, a lot of the theory I learned as a child, hated with a passion and quickly forgot, clicked into place after reading a book about Mathematics in Music. It's just that a lot of the terms are based on tradition and how a keyboard is arranged and seems random until you learn a lot about it, while Maths can make it logical for those of a mathematical disposition. Well, it helped me a lot to actually learn which bits can be understood (i.e. why a fifth sounds good), and which just have to be memorised.

Might be a way to go if you ever get to teach someone like that. 


  • 1

#4 Misterioso

Misterioso

    Virtuoso

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 5230 posts
  • Member: 13351
    Joined: 18-July 07
  • Outer Hebrides

Posted 09 August 2017 - 15:42

I think it's impossible to say "how much", because each student is unique and how much one can take in during a lesson varies so much. Most of my students do a small amount of theory at some stage during the lesson (apart from the theory they get from learning the instrument). They range from one who barely tolerates a few minutes, to another (adult) who comes to me purely for theory, and spends a full hour doing it. Often I will have a lesson plan for this student, but as often it has to be discarded because I have over-estimated how much he will take in during that time, or how much guided practice he will need. Flexibility is key. 

 

As far as ways of learning are concerned, this also depends a lot on the learner: what methods do they learn best from? Sometimes it's really useful to have one's teacher at one's side as one works through a particularly demanding section, but other times it's something that a student needs to learn by constant repetition, and then it may be impractical to always have a teacher on hand. Some students like to learn it from a book (because by reading it they can take it in better) while others find practical demonstration better. The best thing you can do is to discover how your individual student learns, and tap into that. 


  • 1

#5 Misterioso

Misterioso

    Virtuoso

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 5230 posts
  • Member: 13351
    Joined: 18-July 07
  • Outer Hebrides

Posted 09 August 2017 - 15:44

Good heavens - whatever happened there?! :blink:


  • 1

#6 JudithJ

JudithJ

    Prodigy

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 1421 posts
  • Member: 3307
    Joined: 11-March 05

Posted 11 August 2017 - 13:26

I enjoyed receiving my theory as I went along - whatever was necessary for me to read and understand the pieces that I was learning.

 

When I wanted to do my Grade 5 theory exam I purchased the books and worked on them at home, I then had my teacher answer any questions that I had and mark mock exams.  There was very little that she needed to teach me that she hadn't already worked on in relation to the pieces.


  • 1

#7 sbhoa

sbhoa

    Maestro

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 22139 posts
  • Member: 24
    Joined: 31-October 03
  • Tameside

Posted 11 August 2017 - 14:45

I enjoyed receiving my theory as I went along - whatever was necessary for me to read and understand the pieces that I was learning.

 

When I wanted to do my Grade 5 theory exam I purchased the books and worked on them at home, I then had my teacher answer any questions that I had and mark mock exams.  There was very little that she needed to teach me that she hadn't already worked on in relation to the pieces.

I was the same with theory. I decided to take grade 5 theory because I realised that I'd learned most of what I needed to know just through learning to play.

 

You may find that some of your adult students will be actively against learning anything they suspect is theory just as some children put a lot of effort into not learning anything that seems like theory. Where some will take in whatever you teach them others will not only not take it in but will deliberately not do so.


  • 1

#8 Dharma

Dharma

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 102 posts
  • Member: 364553
    Joined: 03-December 11
  • Manchester, UK

Posted 12 August 2017 - 21:22

I haven't taken on learning theory from a teacher, but on the few occasions I've tried to learn from books over the years, it's been a disaster.

The same was true of maths for me. Trying to learn O and A level was impossible, because it amounted to memorising disjointed facts. Later in life when I looked at number theory and a few other areas of maths, I found undergraduate texts much easier to follow than O level, eczuse they explained the "why", rather than just listing formulas to learn by rote.

It's been the same with music theory. The books I've tried to read just make statements without providing any actual theory. If someone could explain to me the "why's", that would certainly be my preferred means of receiving the information.
  • 1

#9 Tezes123

Tezes123

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 272 posts
  • Member: 894783
    Joined: 29-November 15
  • Sevenoaks, Kent

Posted 13 August 2017 - 18:12

The first 15 mins or so of my lessons are taken up with theory, then ad hoc throughout the lesson by my teacher demonstrating at the piano. I basically go through the graded workbooks in sequence with my teacher who explains each concept then I complete past exam papers prior the taking each exam. I prefer to use the ABRSM Eric Taylor theory books, seems to work very well for me.

I do agree that it's largely based on maths, formula's and problem solving.
  • 1

#10 percyP

percyP

    Newbie

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 38 posts
  • Member: 896029
    Joined: 11-October 16

Posted Today, 09:20

I thought I'd picked up quite a bit of theory over the years (by osmosis, rather than study!)  Passed my G5 practical in December so thought it was time to have a proper look at theory - the G1 book very nearly made me cry.  Am now painfully struggling my way through the G2 book and to say it's hard work would be a massive understatement!

 

So any tips on how best to get my middle-aged brain to understand this would be most appreciated :)


  • 0

#11 Latin pianist

Latin pianist

    Virtuoso

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 2636 posts
  • Member: 711500
    Joined: 01-April 13

Posted Today, 09:25

There are quite a few books aimed at grade 5 theory called things like Pass grade 5 theory. They explain topics very clearly and you might be better using one of these instead of working through each grade.
  • 1

#12 returning_to_piano

returning_to_piano

    Newbie

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 34 posts
  • Member: 897705
    Joined: 10-May 17

Posted Today, 09:30

Thanks all - your replies have been very helpful for me to see the range of ways adults like (or might not like) to learn theory!

 

percyP - It's fantastic that you now want to look at theory. A couple of tips might help. Firstly - what other intellectual or hobby interests do you have? Music learning can be related to many things, and music theory has lovely connections to (in particular) mathematics, physics (sound waves and waves generally), history, possibly engineering as well as in some cases pitch and harmony can be illustrated through the construction of certain musical instruments.

 

Secondly - thinking about why it's beneficial to know about theory sometimes helps to add interest and context. Eg learning the "dry" material of scales, intervals, key signatures, harmony can be reconceptualised as learning how composers and songwriters create solid tunes and interesting accompaniments. Or the dry learning of note values and rhythm can be linked (for example) to dance music and how steps and combinations are supported by a unified system of tempo, time signature and characteristic rhythmic patterns.

 

I also wonder whether the G2 book explains things item by item, rather than giving the underlying pattern to things? Eg key signatures one by one rather than the more interesting pattern of the circle of fifths.


  • 1

#13 percyP

percyP

    Newbie

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 38 posts
  • Member: 896029
    Joined: 11-October 16

Posted Today, 09:30

Thanks.  I did have a look at some of the G5 books/material but it was so far beyond me I thought I'd better start at the beginning!

 

I had zero knowledge of bass clef so that's my main challenge so far.  After 30+years of seeing a note as one thing, it's very hard to train my brain to see it as something else.  It reminds me of those puzzles when you see a colour written down in a different colour (eg. the word 'green' written in red ink) - just totally confuses me!


  • 0

#14 polkadot

polkadot

    Prodigy

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 1558 posts
  • Member: 491056
    Joined: 25-July 12

Posted Today, 09:37

I had zero knowledge of bass clef so that's my main challenge so far.  After 30+years of seeing a note as one thing, it's very hard to train my brain to see it as something else. 

It might help to see the bass clef in the context of the grand staff (or grand stave) and to realise that, for instance, C on the line above the stave in the bass clef is excactly the same note as C below the stave in the treble clef.  If you search Google Images for "grand staff", you will see how the two clefs fit together :)


  • 1

#15 returning_to_piano

returning_to_piano

    Newbie

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 34 posts
  • Member: 897705
    Joined: 10-May 17

Posted Today, 09:44

 

I had zero knowledge of bass clef so that's my main challenge so far.  After 30+years of seeing a note as one thing, it's very hard to train my brain to see it as something else. 

It might help to see the bass clef in the context of the grand staff (or grand stave) and to realise that, for instance, C on the line above the stave in the bass clef is excactly the same note as C below the stave in the treble clef.  If you search Google Images for "grand staff", you will see how the two clefs fit together smile.png

 

 

 

:) Whoops I went off on a bit of a tangent there! Getting to know a piano keyboard may also help if you're not already familiar. Would help with visualising harmony-based stuff.


  • 0