Tyson Farmer:   Music Lessons

Music Theory Lessons

Music theory can be thought of as the "mathematics" of music. Understanding how to play your instrument is good, but without some knowledge of music theory, there are some places you'll never be able to go with your instrument, including voice. Much like understanding how math works helps us in everyday tasks, from figuring out the tip at a restaurant to balancing your checkbook, music theory helps make many music tasks easier and takes out much of the guesswork. However, be aware that theory without any instrumental or vocal skill is just that- theory, which is the opposite of practice. Music theory includes developing one's musical ear with ear training, understanding scales and chord construction, learning about common song forms, and much more.
    Like math, basic music theory is useful and helpful to any musician, and one person can strive to learn on much deeper levels than another person cares to. It is a huge subject that is learned more and more over the fullness of time, and can be taken as far as one wants.
    However, like math, there can be a practical level of understanding that an average musician can benefit from learning without having to take it further than needed. Music theory is of particular importance in the skill of songwriting, since one needs to understand how songs, chords, and music in general are structured to write a good song competently.
    If you feel you need some tutoring to understand the structure and function of music and how it works, consider asking for music theory lessons. Read below to see how I approach this topic and who it can benefit the most.

My teaching skills with this instrument

I normally teach whatever music theory is needed for a basic understanding of playing one's instrument in any music lesson, since the topics come up naturally in the learning process. One cannot avoid even basic music theory if one is to learn to play or sing.
    However, I can also tutor with a theory- intensive approach for anyone wanting to learn in more depth, improve one's grades in a theory class or other high school or college music course, understand and develop skills at songwriting, learn songs by ear, or any other goals or reasons one may have at music.

If you have any further questions I couldn't answer here, check out my FAQ section.

Concepts I teach:

Major and minor chords
Chord construction
The Western musical model
Standard notation and its origins
The harmonized major scale
The concept of a musical "key"
Cadences and phrasing
Rhythmic concepts and notation
Time signatures
Song form (verse, bridge, chorus)
Scales and their use
Major scale modes
Chord embellishments: 7s, 9s, etc.
Types of jazz chords
Jazz charts, fake books, lead sheets
Orchestration, writing for groups
Voice leading
The role of tension and resolution
The I IV V chord progression
The jazz II V I progression
The role of the "7" chord
Secondary dominants
Ear training- intervals, chords, etc.
Key signatures- sharps and flats
Octaves and their role
Tricks to get through theory exams
Shortcuts to memorizing tables of info
...and much more than I can list here!