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Originally Posted by dmd

Aha ... someone else is beginning to notice this.

It just goes on and on.

Many come here for psycho therapy.

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In relation to theory: sometimes music theory looks like explaining Literature!

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Originally Posted by Albunea
I've always liked grammar, both Spanish and English, but for me music theory is now as if I wanted to study English Grammar when the only thing I can say is "Hello, what's your name?" - "What time is it?"

I can see I'll have to learn theory some day if I want to be able to improvise! (This hurts a bit frown ).

Theory helps me a lot with reading and learning music. It cuts down learning time for me significantly because I always analyze music before learning. I'm just as your level too. But I think it helps a lot to learn it early instead of waiting for later. Like you said, I may only know "what is your name?" but by knowing grammar, I know that it is a type of question that require the response to be more than just yes/no. So I know what to expect next time someone ask me similar question although I may not have the vocabulary to understand it, at least, I know what I need to response.

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You are right: we are learning a bit of theory too (me only what I need to play and what rubs off by reading the forum). But I can't yet understand a lot of what I read on theory.

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Originally Posted by Just Steven
Many come here for psycho therapy.

Others love to give one-liners that generally make somebody look deficient or stupid.

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Originally Posted by Falsch
I'm *SCARED* of sheet music. Sometimes I see runs in 16's or something like, and I think: "I can't play that." Then I take a look at it, and it turns out to be a two octave D-scale upward, followed by a few arpeggio's in D-F#-A-D, and then ending on a D chord A-D-F#.

Then I think: "Oh. Why didn't you SAY so?"


That's where theory helps. If you know the theory, you know that all those 16th's put together do in fact say so. Music is full of patterns, theory is the key to understanding those patterns -- and recognizing them quickly enough to be useful.

Theory also helps a lot with finding alternatives to what's written that my hands can actually do. I use a lot of different inversions to avoid places where my wide fingers won't fit between the black keys.



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I've been playing from lead sheets / fake books for 25 years (with a few very big multi-year gaps in between), so you need to know theory to make something out of them.

To be honest, I wouldn't be surprised to find out that the theory which I do know is much more advanced than I believe it to be, and that it just seems 'basic music stuff' because I've been using it for so long.

At the same time, I'm also quite sure that someone who graduated with a BSc. or MSc. in music knows theory that I can't even imagine right now.

Last edited by Falsch; 11/11/16 04:44 PM.

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I haven't read all three pages but I'm just going to throw my experience out there. Writing the notes on music is considered a bad habit. I've tried not to do it however the problem I've run into in the past is not that I don't know which notes on the staff correspond to which notes on the piano but that I couldn't look at the staff and know what line or space the note was in without inspecting each one. I've hot a vision issue going on with reading music and so I would write notes in. Not all of them since some are obvious but a lot of them. I haven't been playing for a while just now ready to get back into it. My vision has changed a bit since I was last playing so maybe this will be easier than before or maybe I'll go back to my bad habit. Whatever it takes to learn the next song is what I'll do.


I'll figure it out eventually.
Until then you may want to keep a safe distance.
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In relation to theory...I love it. I had absolutely no knowledge of music notation 40 years ago when I first started piano lessons as an adult. I started in a David Carr Glover Primer book that began with two note pieces. I was humble and didn't mind starting in a child's book, but I wanted to know the language of music. I asked my teacher for supplementary material so I could gain more knowledge of theory. She provided me with books explaining chords and keys. I was totally fascinated by the subject matter. Ten years later I enrolled in college classes and excelled in theory and composition. I know it is now helping me tremendously in my playing even though I hardly touched a piano for more than 30 years before I took it up again. Being able to completely analyze a piece of music before you play it for the first time might not help with the mechanics of playing it, but at least you understand all the intricacies of it. I can "hear" a piece in my head well before I attempt to play it. For example, I have pieces that I've composed that I can not play up to tempo because of a lack of mechanical skill, but I can take a blank score and rewrite the same piece without looking at the original. On another note, I have friends who are accomplished amateur pianists who have scant knowledge of theory. I believe it all depends on whatever your passion is. For me, theory drives me and gives me the desire and the ability to play better and better all the time.

And to answer cuttestpuppie's original question... I would only write as few letter names or finger numbers in the score as you can get by with. Don't allow yourself to become dependent on finger numbers especially.

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Little Blue Engine,
Glad to know there's another special educator on the forum. Agree...I don't like rap or heavy metal much either, but enjoy most all other types. Also try piano glasses for reading the score if you already wear bifocals. My piano glasses helped me a lot. It was amazing when I first put them on at looked at my music.

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Originally Posted by Theory Grl
Also try piano glasses for reading the score if you already wear bifocals. My piano glasses helped me a lot. It was amazing when I first put them on at looked at my music.


I'll chime in with another vote for piano glasses!

I wear bifocals, and have three pairs of single-vision piano glasses (and piano turns out to be the same distance as my computer screen): one at work for the computer, one at home for the piano, and one in my piano bag so it reliably gets to lessons with me without being forgotten at home.


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I have a particular pair of glasses that works great for the computer I'm going to try out at the piano. They used to be uncomfortable at the piano but then I never used to use them for computer back then either and they work really well at the computer now. I've been away from playing for a bit so I'll be trying some new ways of doing things and see what happens. I kind of quit playing after a head injury at work because at first I just couldn't handle the intense sound from the piano it was a sensory overload and then I was having concentration problems and at that point just got out of the habit. I'm going to try to get back in the habit now.


I'll figure it out eventually.
Until then you may want to keep a safe distance.
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