A Self Proclaimed “Theory Geek”…
Yes, that’s me. I was one of the few high school and college music students that actually looked forward to theory class. I loved it. So much so that I used to basically give myself extra homework!
I would not only do what the teacher assigned, but I would also take other songs that I knew how to play on the guitar, and I would analyze and deconstruct them the same way.
So of course, when I was teaching my own students, I passed on my love of music theory to them, right? Wrong!
Turns out, most of my students didn’t want to know all about Neopolitan chords and how an Italian Augmented 6th is different from a German Augmented 6th (it’s all in the resolution, by the way.) They just wanted to know enough to actually do stuff with it (go figure.)
Things had to change…
Lucky for them, I’d spent a lot of time applying the theory you learn in school, which revolves around old music (really old, like 17th century) and worked on applying it to modern music (like, less than 50 years old.)
But the tricky part was separating the wheat from the chaff, so to speak… In other words I had to figure out how to separate the information that was useful from the information that really didn’t matter.
But more importantly, I had to get it all in the right order…
And that’s how “the list” was born…
Now I realize that this is going to make me seem really over the top, but I actually kept a spreadsheet of all the different theory topics on my laptop while I was teaching. I called it “the list” and I used it with every student to make sure I gave them the right things in the right order.
But this was no ordinary list… no way – this list was tuned and refined over many years and many students.
It was great, every time I’d hit a little stumbling block where I realized I’d done things out of order, I’d fix it and never make that mistake again.
After a few years, I had streamlined it and honed it to the point where I could get through everything my students would need to know in just a few weeks instead of years like college theory courses.
So, what is it that you can do with theory?
Music theory is the “rulebook” for music. With even just the basics of theory under your belt you can:
- Look at a set of chords and determine what key they are in and what scales you would use if you want to solo over them.
- Learn songs by number instead of by chord and remember them 10 times faster than your old way.
- Remember way more songs that you can now because you’ll see the similarities between the songs. When you realize that 10 different songs have the same chord progression just in different keys, those 10 songs all seem like 1 to you… it’s awesome.
- Transpose (change keys) effortlessly. Let’s say you’re doing a song in one key, but one day you have a different singer who likes a different key – no problem for you. Or let’s say you can play a song by one of your favorite artists but you can’t sing it because it’s too high. With theory you can change the key down to a key you can sing in and play the song easily.
- Find notes easier on your guitar. When you know how notes work, it’s really easy to find notes you don’t know using notes you do know.
- Play the “sweet notes” of the chords when you solo because you know what the chord tones are and how to find them.
- How “the formula” works for every scale and chord on the planet. If you know the formula you know the chord or scale.
- How to literally create chords out of thin air. See a chord you don’t know? Just create a fingering and off you go.
- Listen to songs on the radio and know what each chord is by being able to hear its function. Until you actually feel this in action it’s hard to imagine, but you can literally hear and feel the chords doing their job when you know what their job is.
- Pick out melodies fast because you know what the likely notes are. Imagine knowing that if you sit down to pick up something from a recording, you can eliminate over half of the notes before you even start… do you think it would be a little easier? You bet!
And really, those are just some of the things theory can do for you. When you understand music, you learn faster, which makes it more enjoyable, which makes you want to do it even more.
It’s the classic ascending spiral of success bringing more success…
So what’s in Guitar Theory Made Useful (and easy)?
The Guitar Theory Made Useful course is probably what you would expect… 21 lessons divided into 2 or 3 videos each, with explanation both in the video and in the workbook.
The lessons break down like this:
1. The “Concept” video where I walk you through a new concept or technique. I do this using graphics and drawing tools on my computer so you can really “see” how things are done. Here’s an example of the very first “concept” video where we cover what I call your “mental model” of notes and how they work. This lesson lays the groundwork for the rest of the lessons. Notice that there are some exercises for you to work at the end of this.
2. The “Answers” portion where I walk you through the answers to the exercises at the end of each lesson. I encourage you to watch this video first one time, then go through the exercises yourself and see if you can do them. Here’s an example of an “answers” video where we’re talking about building major scales using half steps and whole steps like you learned in the first concept video:
3. Finally, in many cases there is also a “practical” video where I show you how to apply the concept from the lesson (or the last few lessons) to your guitar.Here is an example of how you could build those major scales from the last video on your guitar:
The Blow-By-Blow Rundown…
Here’s What To Do Next…
First, understand that as with all of my courses, there is no risk to you when getting your copy of Guitar Theory Made Useful. I offer a 90 day no-hassle refund policy that rarely gets used.