Before You Get Started

This music theory course has been written by a guitarist, for guitarists. It covers theoretical concepts in a practical way and shows you how the theory can be applied to the guitar to help you make music - it's not like high school music was when I did it, full of concepts which are of little use to a modern musician (yes sonata form, I mean you!).

I think it is the practical application that makes sense of theory. People who learn all the rules but never try them out will never understand why the rules exist. The answer to everything is listening and doing! A quick example:

Learning the notes in the major scale and the chords that are built from it - diatonic chords - won’t really make real sense until you try and play the scale over a diatonic chord progression. Only at that point will you hear the relationship between the scale and chords.

So that small bit of 'practical theory' will help you understand:

  • Why we learn scales: for improvising
  • What scales sound like: you can hear the scale over the chords
  • Why ear training is important: so you can hear which notes sound good
  • Why repetition and developing ‘muscle memory’ is important: so your fingers will instinctively go to the good notes
  • That it’s not magic: YOU can do it too!

To really make the most of this course you should spend as much time as you can on DOING THINGS ON THE GUITAR AND LISTENING. This is what will accelerate your practical understanding more than anything else.

So take what I give you here, understand it, and then put it into practice using the exercises I give you, and make up your own. Learning to explore on your own will help you a lot as well.

The very early grades are difficult to make into interesting practical examples, but the information is super important, so try to absorb it knowing it'll be put to use as soon it's possible!

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