Author Topic: Music Advice.  (Read 1754 times)

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JanaL

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Re: Music Advice.
« Reply #15 on: December 28, 2012, 06:20:40 PM »
Are you having difficulty reading sheet music (i.e., letter names and rhythms), or are you looking to understand Music Theory more in-depth? (Chords, scales, modes, roman numeral function, etc.)  How long have you been playing?

Sometimes, a teacher is just not a great match.  I recommend finding a teacher who has experience with/patience for adult students.  You mention the Buffalo Phil- are you in Western New York? If so, let me know and I can point you to a few resources that may be able to help you.

Flute, violin, and piano (half of it, anyway) all utilize treble clef and are in concert pitch, so I'd imagine that studying one would help reinforce the other from a music notation standpoint- although if you are somewhat of a novice, it may be difficult to learn three instruments from completely different families at once.  As an adult, you may have some cognitive challenges in coordinating hand/eye or left hand-right hand that younger music students may not experience.  It may help to focus on one or two instruments at most until you have your sea legs, so to speak.

If you're over 50, there's a national organization called New Horizons that provide group instruction and large ensemble opportunities for adults- and even if you're not over 50, you might still be able to contact one near you for help with finding a teacher.  This may be a controversial statement, and I say this as a conservatory graduate, but sometimes, the best performers do not make the best teachers.  You need a great TEACHER.  ;)

I hope this helps- good luck!   


snowdragon

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Re: Music Advice.
« Reply #16 on: December 31, 2012, 01:47:53 AM »
Are you having difficulty reading sheet music (i.e., letter names and rhythms), or are you looking to understand Music Theory more in-depth? (Chords, scales, modes, roman numeral function, etc.)  How long have you been playing?

Depends on what clef I am in but generally I am good at note name in Treble and Bass clef and horrid in Alto clef ( understandable because I am just doing that one for fun at this point), Intellectually I can read the rhythms but not always reproduce them the first time. I want to learn as much as I can about Music theory and I have been playing violin for almost 5 years, piano for four- but my piano playing is better than my violin , flute I took for about 6 months and had to drop because the teacher was fired for bad behaviour ( I was one of 40 adults who were suddenly with out a teacher when she go fired, because people willing to teach adults here are few and far between) I am now trying to teach myself flute.

Sometimes, a teacher is just not a great match.  I recommend finding a teacher who has experience with/patience for adult students.  You mention the Buffalo Phil- are you in Western New York? If so, let me know and I can point you to a few resources that may be able to help you. I am in the WNY/CNY area and about a 2 hour drive to Buffalo, going to the BPO is a treat and a day long event for me.)  I have tried to find another teacher but it's not easy here - the last one was a college student who eventually moved to Californian and it took me another year to find this one. 

Flute, violin, and piano (half of it, anyway) all utilize treble clef and are in concert pitch, so I'd imagine that studying one would help reinforce the other from a music notation standpoint- although if you are somewhat of a novice, it may be difficult to learn three instruments from completely different families at once.  As an adult, you may have some cognitive challenges in coordinating hand/eye or left hand-right hand that younger music students may not experience.  It may help to focus on one or two instruments at most until you have your sea legs, so to speak.   The other instruments were actually suggested by my violin teacher-piano for theory and flute because he thought the breathing involved would help me understand rhythm "on a more fundamental level"




If you're over 50, there's a national organization called New Horizons that provide group instruction and large ensemble opportunities for adults- and even if you're not over 50, you might still be able to contact one near you for help with finding a teacher.  This may be a controversial statement, and I say this as a conservatory graduate, but sometimes, the best performers do not make the best teachers.  You need a great TEACHER.  ;)

I looked into New Horizons, They look like a fun group! Unfortunately there are none in my area - the closest would be Fredonia and that is abut 1 3/4hours away according to google. The Chautauqua Institute might have some resources but again we are talking over an hour each way.  I once had a great teacher but he was from Cape Breton, Nova Scotia and last time I was there he had moved away.  Unfortunately he does not do lessons via SKype or I'd have him teach me again. :)   

I hope this helps- good luck!


It does help, it helps just know that there are others that I can ask.


For those willing to answer questions;  how many clefs are there - I know about treble, bass and alto - but are there others? What is a mode? and how many are there? How many positions are there on a violin? a piano? does a flute have more than one position? What part of a second should a quarter note be - I mean I know that number that says quater note =40/70/120, ect means something that relates to time but is that part of time a minute or a second or something else entirely?( When I ask that he usually looks at me like I just grew a third head),  What does Forte Pianissimo really mean? (Loudly but really soft????)

NutMeg thanks for the Youtube Stuff - I love it!

I have read a lot of the Barbara Wharram book, when I first started becoming interested in music - but my teacher does not think I need to know that stuff so will not answer questions I had about it. I will dig it out again and ask here, if that is ok. 
JennJenn - I would not take the score to an actual concert - but the BPO does a couple of outdoor shows during the summer where I could be in the back of the crowd and try my hand at Following along.  I could also do this at the "Open Rehearsals" they have as they leave the lights on and I've seen several folks with score books at every one I've attended.

 I don't know if he is teaching what I want to learn, since he's actively discouraged me from playing both of my "goal pieces"  ( The Ode to Joy - and Tullochgorum http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sdc-oL6VjIc which even I know is far beyond me at this point but I used to like to play with the fingerings) he does not use a book series like my other teaches, rather he creates stuff to teach from or uses a song that he thinks will teach a specific skill, but I am not always clear as to what I should be taking from this. He tells me he wants me to have a repertoire that I can play from memory, but balks at the idea that I want to learn theory.  He wants me to create a cd and give it to someone - and I have no issue with this, but the songs are not going as quickly as we want them to, and I am not sure how to explain where the issues lie, because we don't use the same words for the same things, because he's never taught me the words he wants for the concepts ....because I "don't need to know that"...see where the frustrations lie? I love music and I have no issue with anything he asks me to do, but I do wish I understood why he is not teaching me some of the things that would make dialogue easier. or why I can't use a series of books so I know I am progressing - he tells me I am - but I really don't see it like he does.  He says I need to trust him on the fact that I don't need a series of books - but won't explain why.


I want to thank everyone again.. I am going to take all your suggestions and use them on my own. I am looking into skype lessons with a person familiar with the style I most want to learn, even as a supplement to this guy - can't hurt can it? I really appreciate all your help.


 

Bethalize

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Re: Music Advice.
« Reply #17 on: December 31, 2012, 04:12:47 AM »
For those willing to answer questions;  how many clefs are there - I know about treble, bass and alto - but are there others?

Add in the tenor clef and you have the four most commonly used clefs. They are simply different ways of displaying the same information. I read a lot of treble, read bass fluently enough to play my bass recorder and have never bothered with the others apart from knowing how to calculate what the notes are. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clef

What is a mode? and how many are there?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mode_(music)
That's some pretty advanced music theory you're on to there.

How many positions are there on a violin?

Technically, the only limit is how high you can get your fingers. Fourth position is commonly quite enough. You can go higher. 1st position you have open strings and the G string notes would be A, B and C. Move into third position and the string is still a G when open but the first finger will play a C, the second will play a D and the third will play an E.

a piano?

A piano doesn't change "position" in the same way because the notes are always the same.

does a flute have more than one position?
Again, no. The fingers are always in the same place.

What part of a second should a quarter note be - I mean I know that number that says quater note =40/70/120, ect means something that relates to time but is that part of time a minute or a second or something else entirely?( When I ask that he usually looks at me like I just grew a third head), 

I'm out of time, but I'll answer this later.

artk2002

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Re: Music Advice.
« Reply #18 on: December 31, 2012, 11:44:03 AM »
What part of a second should a quarter note be - I mean I know that number that says quater note =40/70/120, ect means something that relates to time but is that part of time a minute or a second or something else entirely?( When I ask that he usually looks at me like I just grew a third head), 

I'm out of time, but I'll answer this later.

I'll take this one on, I hope that's ok.  ;D

The duration of a note depends on the tempo (speed.) It's usually described in beats per minute.  You'll frequently see a notation on the music = 120, which means that there are 120 quarter notes per minute, or about 1/2 second per quarter note. = 60 would be one second per quarter note. If you get a metronome, they're calibrated in beats per minute to match this. The unit of beat doesn't have to be a quarter note, either: It could be any type of note. It usually corresponds to the denominator of the meter, so if a piece is in 4/4 time, it would be a quarter note, but if the piece were in 5/8 time it might be an eighth note.

All of this can be modified by directions to slow down or speed up.  Accelerando (accel.) means to get faster and ritardando (rit.) means get slower. In the final assessment, it's up to the conductor to decide what tempo to be used. These can be modified by molto ("very") and poco a poco ("little by little".)  Lots of Italian here.

While I'm at it... some other notational quirks.  A '>' over (or below, almost always opposite the stem of the note) a note means to emphasize the note -- attack it a little harder. "sfz" sforzando is a very strong, sudden emphasis. Think Haydn's Surprise Symphony. A dot above or below a note is stacatto; the note is played shorter than normal although it remains in time (the following notes don't move forward in time to fill in the space.) A bar above or below a note is a tenuto meaning to play the note a little longer -- again, this doesn't change when the next note arrives it just means that there will be less space between them.
Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bow lines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover. -Mark Twain

RegionMom

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Re: Music Advice.
« Reply #19 on: December 31, 2012, 12:43:37 PM »
Sorry if this reads a bit dis-jointed-- I kept thinking of more random stuff, and I need to run so no time to edit...

As for quarter notes, I have my beginning students walk around the room, and tell them, "beat's in the feet."  The feet keep the tempo, like a marching band walking to the beat 1-2-3-4. 

I tell them that the feet are the quarter notes.  Then I have them march in place, and clap and say,"quarter, quarter, quarter, quarter"  on each step. 
The next lesson is half note, where they begin a clap on the left side of their body, and hold hands as they cross their mid line, to release the clap and open their hands on the right side.  Say "Half" on the left side, and "note" on the right side. 
Repeat.  (so, you do two foot steps for one half note)

A whole note (4 beats) is "whole note hold it" and you begin a clap on the left side, and hold it L to R and L to R before releasing it.

A dotted half note is called, by me, a half note dot, with a count of 1-2-3.  This one is harder to clap out, because you start L R L, then R L R, repeating...starting a new clap and hold each new note.

By this time, the student is learning how to mark measures and has done some theory in recognizing line vs. space notes, and repeated notes, and steps vs. skips, and can even do some "music math" such as, one quarter note plus one half note equals how many beats?  3. 

They will have drawn notes and done workbook pages on all of this, and I would check and review at next lesson. 

For beginners, it takes a primer book and a level one book before you even get to eighth notes, let alone rests!  But there is SO much to cover!

for the same clapping method, where before you clapped and said "quarter" in one beat/clap, you would now say "two-eights" or "two eighths" as one clap/beat per side.  (2 8th notes equal 1 beat, or 1 quarter note)

Music truly is another language, and some of my parents seem to think that a 30 minute lesson with 10 minutes of practice the day of will be ok.  Well, I take what I can get, but it takes a lot of work to learn an instrument. 

Good for you for asking questions.  The only wrong question is the one never asked.  The teacher should not "look at you as if you have three heads."   >:(

As for positions on the piano, perhaps you mean transposing into different keys?  Many books have you learn in C position, or middle C position, and some may then have you "transpose" to G position.  Once you learn a bit about sharps and flats, and scale building, you can transpose to other keys, but it takes lots of practice and a good ear and eye.  Not all instruments are even in the same key.  A trumpet is a B flat instrument, so if I tried to play the identical music along with a trumpet player, we would sound off.  One of us would have to adjust. :)
That is why a conductor's score has a line for each instrument, because the notes really are different, or may utilize different clefs, as another poster explained. 



Also, pod to the idea that a performer does not always make the best teacher.  Some things that they just know naturally, may be very hard for them tho explain.  But a good teacher should have several ways to explain the same concept. 

Not that I am so wonderful, but above how I wrote for quarter notes and such, may take a few lessons for a six year old, but one lesson for an 8 or 9 ear old, and while one student may take a year or more to get through one book, another may take one semester.  And for older students, I draw them a "measuring cup of music" and show how a "whole" is broken into "4 equal quarters" (just like a game, or money) and it must measure up. 

I adjust my language and lessons as the students' light bulb moments increase or decrease.   ;D  I also have a three ring binder of extra lessons I have found from free music teacher websites.  Some students just "get" concept X, but are stuck on concept Y.  It is MY job to help them through, and not belittle them. 

I also utilize an assignment notebook, where we have ongoing questions and conversations.  I sometimes make up a quick theory assignment (mark these measures, draw 10 whatevers, define this vocab word, etc...) and I record each week what they are to do for practice.  Some of my better students, somehow, are the ones that ask more questions, and read over the notes...hmmm...
Also, understanding practice vs. playing helps. 
I have had parents tell me,"Oh Susie practiced all week!" But what she did was play her favorite easy song 17 times in a row, and never touched her homework.
This is like reading a library book for fun, but never reading the school book assigned for lit class. 
(Not that the OP is doing that-- I am doing a random teacher post, and hit my own nerve -ouch!)

Since you are an adult, you have to do the "listen to yourself" as you practice.  Sort of a step outside your body, and watch your posture, hand position, tension, etc.. You do not have a parent to help you determine if passage A sounded identical in rhythm to passage B, as it should, just with different notes. 
You could record yourself, though!

Having the student write out their own definitions of music vocab helps me to see if I explained it well and if they understand the concepts.  if we all used the exact same wordage all the time, in exactly the same way, we would be very boring.  Music is NOT boring!!   :D

There are music forums for teachers and students, and I bet you can find some good inspiration there, also. 

Good luck!

oh-one last thought-
there are several methodologies in teaching.  If he just want you to memorize, he might have more of a Suzuki method in mind, which is sound and shape more than theory, which will come later.  Suzuki is much better for young children, who do not have to unlearn "bad" habits like fly-away fingers, or stiff and tense hands, or not using all 10 fingers, etc...and true Suzuki will have you spend weeks on one song, one drill, and build slowly from there.

So, again, my advice is that you and he need to have an away meeting from your lesson, and find common ground and understanding. 

« Last Edit: December 31, 2012, 12:55:11 PM by RegionMom »
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Slartibartfast

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Re: Music Advice.
« Reply #20 on: December 31, 2012, 01:02:33 PM »

For those willing to answer questions;  how many clefs are there - I know about treble, bass and alto - but are there others? What is a mode? and how many are there? How many positions are there on a violin? a piano? does a flute have more than one position? What part of a second should a quarter note be - I mean I know that number that says quater note =40/70/120, ect means something that relates to time but is that part of time a minute or a second or something else entirely?( When I ask that he usually looks at me like I just grew a third head),  What does Forte Pianissimo really mean? (Loudly but really soft????)

Others have answered most of these, but I'll go through them too:

1) Pianos, organs, etc. use both treble and bass clef together.  Most other instruments use either treble or bass clef, but there are some exceptions (such as viola using alto clef, which is essentially a clef centered on the "middle C" which would normally have to be drawn in on treble or bass clefs).  "Tenor clef" is the same as treble clef but with a little "8" under the clef symbol, and the notes are the same as a treble clef except shifted down one octave (8 steps).  Compounding the confusion is that instruments come in several different keys, and thus are written in different keys in an orchestral score.  A piece may include a clarinet part written in the key of B flat and a piano accompaniment written in C, for example.  The notes come out sounding the same, but they're written differently for different instruments.

Percussion is a special case - percussion parts are usually written as a single line (instead of five) and have different instruments as different note heads and spacings above or below the line.

2)  There are seven modes - the easiest way to describe them is to look at the white keys of a piano.  If you play only the white keys starting on C, it sounds like a normal C Major scale.  If you play the white keys starting on A, it sounds like a normal A minor scale.  If you play the white notes starting on D, E, F, G, or B, you get something that doesn't sound quite the same - those are modal scales.  The most common - other than the two I mentioned already - is the lydian mode, which is the one starting on F.  The theme from "The Simpsons" is in lydian mode.  Of course, you can transpose these modal scales to start on any key you want, just keeping the order of whole steps and half steps the same, but then it gets complicated to remember  :)

3)  I'm not sure what you mean about positions on a piano - I don't play violin, so I don't know that one at all, but a piano really just has the keys and whatever you want to do with them.  Chords can have positions, which deal with the way the notes are stacked.  A C Major chord in root position is C, E, G.  The same chord in first position is E, G, C.  Second position would be G, C, E.  This has relevance in composition (certain things that do and don't sound good when you use them in certain positions).

4)  Time signatures (the 4/4 or 3/4 or 6/8 or whatever) tell you how to read the music.  The top number tells you how many beats there are per measure, and the bottom number tells you what kind of note gets the beat.  In 3/4 time, there are three beats per measure and the quarter note counts as the beat - in 6/8 time, there are six beats and the eighth note is the beat.  The metronome markings (with a note equal to a number) tells you how many of that note you should be playing in one minute.

5)  The "fp" marking means to attack a note loudly, then immediately go soft.  ("DAaaa")  It's not really possible on a piano, but you can do it singing or playing most instruments.  When it's a sustained note, it's often followed by a crescendo, so you go DAaaaaaaAAAAAAAAA.

yellowpineapple

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Re: Music Advice.
« Reply #21 on: December 31, 2012, 03:36:42 PM »
Snowdragon, I'm sorry I misunderstood your post.  I thought you meant the Buffalo Philharmonic has an event where adults who play orchestral instruments can go and play along with them.  (Baltimore Symphony does something like this, as do other orchestras.)   I see that you meant bringing the music to watch while they played.  I still think your violin teacher is splitting hairs.  Technically, you are following along, but it also is requiring the skill of reading the music.  Err...I think it's six of one, half a dozen of the other.  I can tell you, as a string teacher, I will correct a student's terminology, pronunciation, etc.  But maybe he's just not explaining things adequately.  (also, it will likely be too dark to see the music, as another poster mentioned)


As to methodology/book series:  Some teachers have their own system and progression of skills and pieces.  Some teachers do use method books.  However, for the violin, while there are some progressive methods (ie, Suzuki), there is not the scope of those kinds of materials that there is for piano.  Maybe google the Royal Achievement Program?  They have a list of progressive pieces, scales, etudes.  The materials you are studying might be on that list and give you an idea of progress.  :)

Positions for the violin:  I'd say there are probably 12 positions that are commonly used once you get very advanced.  There are higher positions, but they are less common.  However, I would consider that an advanced player needs to be completely fluent at least to 9th position, and the rest can flow from there.  The first position I personally teach when we learn to shift is 3rd position. (Where your first finger goes in the spot of your third finger)

Clefs:  I am going to (gently) correct Slartibartfast.  Tenor clef does not look like treble clef.  It looks like an alto clef, which is set on the third, or middle line of the staff, and that line is middle C.  Tenor clef is moved up one line, or the second -highest line on the staff, but the clef itself looks just like alto clef.  (I have many cellist and bassoon friends, and have had to play tenor clef when I did more Baroque ensemble playing.)   Treble and bass clef are common, of course alto for the viola, tenor for bassoon/cello, and there is a soprano clef, which is more like what I think Slartibartfast was describing.  It looks just like a treble clef, but sits on the lowest line of the staff, and has a little 8 underneath.

Hope this helps, don't hesitate to ask for any other clarifications!


YP




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Slartibartfast

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Re: Music Advice.
« Reply #22 on: December 31, 2012, 04:27:18 PM »
Clefs:  I am going to (gently) correct Slartibartfast.  Tenor clef does not look like treble clef.  It looks like an alto clef, which is set on the third, or middle line of the staff, and that line is middle C.  Tenor clef is moved up one line, or the second -highest line on the staff, but the clef itself looks just like alto clef.  (I have many cellist and bassoon friends, and have had to play tenor clef when I did more Baroque ensemble playing.)   Treble and bass clef are common, of course alto for the viola, tenor for bassoon/cello, and there is a soprano clef, which is more like what I think Slartibartfast was describing.  It looks just like a treble clef, but sits on the lowest line of the staff, and has a little 8 underneath.

I had to look this up, but you're right - "tenor clef" is indeed different than the clef that (vocal) tenors sing, which is the regular treble clef with an 8 under it and read an octave down.

snowdragon

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Re: Music Advice.
« Reply #23 on: December 31, 2012, 04:48:32 PM »
Snowdragon, I'm sorry I misunderstood your post.  I thought you meant the Buffalo Philharmonic has an event where adults who play orchestral instruments can go and play along with them.  (Baltimore Symphony does something like this, as do other orchestras.)   I see that you meant bringing the music to watch while they played.  I still think your violin teacher is splitting hairs.  Technically, you are following along, but it also is requiring the skill of reading the music.  Err...I think it's six of one, half a dozen of the other.  I can tell you, as a string teacher, I will correct a student's terminology, pronunciation, etc.  But maybe he's just not explaining things adequately.  (also, it will likely be too dark to see the music, as another poster mentioned)


THe BPO has something like this - called Fantasy Camp.  I am no where near that advanced, I hope to be able to do it someday. :)

JanaL

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Re: Music Advice.
« Reply #24 on: January 01, 2013, 09:23:56 AM »
Hi Snowdragon,

You want Music Theory info!  This can be tricky to self-teach- it's possible, but tricky, especially without musical examples to hear.

As far as rhythms go, note values are always proportional.  I mean, a quarter note is not always worth one beat, but four quarter notes always fit into a whole note.  I realize this may be confusing.  It's very common for beginners (and some teachers) to assume that a quarter note is always equal to one beat, since most of their music for the first year is in simple meter (2/4, 3/4, 4/4 time, etc.)

It's too bad you're too far from Fredonia and Buffalo- (what about Rochester, Ithaca, or Binghampton?) but if you can do Skype lessons, you may look to bigger cities or college students at music schools who may be tech-savvy.  In my experience, many instrumental music teachers do not want to get into music theory in private lessons- but many do.  I think it's an important component to include whenever possible. 

There's a great (and FREE!) website that I make my students use to reinforce lessons for theory and ear training that have helpful tutorials and musical examples: http://www.teoria.com

I just found this awesome site, too- there's theory tutoring via skype by college students.  I can't vouch for the quality, because I don't know them, but I do see respected schools on that list.  You might be able to contact one of these students to see what their rates may be/make an arrangement: http://musictheorytutor.weebly.com/meet-our-tutors.html

Good luck!






katycoo

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Re: Music Advice.
« Reply #25 on: January 01, 2013, 06:04:48 PM »
I'm seeing a massive communication issue between yourself and your teacher and I think its worth having a frank chat.

On teh one hand - he's right.  You don't technically 'need' to know the answers to the questions you're asking.  The problem is that you 'want' to.  And really - as the adult student, you shoudl be learning what you want to learn.

Even as a child, I had no interest in music exams or composition.  I merely wanted to play.  So my teacher limited my music theory to reading music.  I never learned chords and scales as it did not advance me in what I wanted to learn.

You 'want' to learn the nitty gritty stuff.  The fact that he is unwilling to teach you makes me wonder whether he knows it all himself...

Bethalize

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Re: Music Advice.
« Reply #26 on: January 02, 2013, 04:59:24 AM »
I'll take this one on, I hope that's ok.  ;D

Totally! Saved me loads of work. Not that I wouldn't have done it. It was such a juicy question.

My suggestion is to find a separate music theory teacher. This is some advance stuff we're talking about that you won't need as a player for ages.