Often I’m asked some variation of this: “How do I take my musical skills to the next level?” And my answer, no matter what the skill level of the person asking, is to better understand music theory.
It’s hard to put in to words what theory is. I compare it to the grammar and usage rules of a foreign language. Sure, you can get by without ever learning them, but if you want to seriously master the language, learn to read or write, or better understand it in general, absorbing these fundamentals is the most effective way–and the most tedious.
Fortunately, technology is making it easier…or at least more accessible. Tenuto is an app and website dedicated to music theory. It contains over a dozen exercises and quizzes for that range from the basics (name the white keys on the keyboard) to the scary (is this a diminished seventh chord or a half-diminished seventh chord?). Everyone from the struggling music major to the casual guitarist can have an impromptu skill-sharpening session any time. [Read more…]