Theory Classes and the Basics

This weekend I will be teaching a theory class for music students. Many parents have asked “What is the purpose of the class?” The purpose of the class is to review exisiting theory skills and to be introduced to new skills that the students will be learning soon in their lessons or the theory lab. Last year, I taught a class and many of the students found it very motivational. Theory is often on of those aspects of lessons that can fall by the wayside. Students don’t see the connection to their music and many times come to their lessons with this part of the assignment undone.

How can parents help with their at home if they don’t read music? There are a few basic questions and facts that you are looking for in many theory assignments. Almost all theory requires knowing the key that the example/music is in. This is shown using a key signatures that consists of sharps and flats.

A sharp looks like this

A sharp raises a note by a half step. This usually takes the note from a white key to a black key. If the key signature has sharps then finding the name of the key is straight forward. Find the last sharp and go up a half step. Whatever note that is, is the name of the key.

But how do you know what is the last sharp? Sharps will always be in the same order. F#,C#,G#,D#,A#,E#,B#. An acronym is Fat Cats Go Down Alleys Eating Bologna. Below you will see examples of all the sharp key signatures identified.

This is a basic run down on how sharp key signatures work and how to identify them. Look for a blog about flats later this week.