Theory book

Sara said: Oct 10, 2009
191 posts

I just discovered the theory book I have been using for older beginners has gone out of print.
I need some suggestions for a replacement.

Thanks a bunch!

“What is man’s ultimate direction in life? It is to look for love, truth, virtue, and beauty.” Dr. Shinichi Suzuki

Connie Sunday said: Oct 10, 2009
Connie SundayViolin, Piano, Viola
667 posts

I have a list of violin, viola and piano theory books here:

For adults, I really recommend the self-teaching book, Essentials of Music Theory: Complete Self-Study Course. If they don’t have any theory background, you will have to help them, but it really does cover all the basics very well, IMO, up to but not including secondary dominants. Even has a section on blues scales.

For children who are studying piano, I have them get Theory Time if parents will support this or the child is especially musical or bookish. Most of the kids, I get this material to them in bits during their lessons and don’t impose a workbook on them which, in many cases, would be the tipping point (tipping towards quitting).

For jazz piano students (adults), you have to eventually get the Jazz Piano Book, which is the “Bible.” But it’s not going to be for everybody.

I bought the two volumes of Dorothy Croft’s Violin Theory For Beginners, and thought it was very good. I would use this for some students, if I thought I could get away with it. Mostly I just do this stuff in bits, in the course of covering the Suzuki books and other materials.

If you think you have a budding composer on your hands, or a college student who wants to know everything, you can steer them to a set of books called Master Theory, in six volumes (left hand column):

If the student is really, really intense, you can have them do Dannhauser, Solfège des Solfèges (right hand column). This is what composers and conductors do, and will put them at the top of their class in Ear Training/Sight Singing (otherwise known as ear straining/sight screaming).

I’m not sure that I teach more theory than other teachers but I think I may, since I did some doctoral work in composition. The real reason, however, is that if the student is a teenager headed for a university program in violin performance, I think it’s helpful if they have a good general grasp of theory, conducting patterns and keyboard skills.

Free Handouts for Music Teachers & Students:

Susan said: Nov 10, 2009
 Violin, Suzuki in the Schools, Bass, Cello, Viola
16 posts

I use the theory book which is part of the All For Strings publications for school programs. There are things about it I don’t quite like, like rhythm practice pages which are mainly arithmetic puzzles, but it is useable and in some part self-teaching. I keep thinking I should write a book for my own use, just haven’t put it that high on the list. Like the sight-reading examples book I was going to compose this past summer. If you contact the publisher of the materials you like, you may be able to pay a modest amount for permission to photocopy.

Susan said: Nov 10, 2009
 Violin, Suzuki in the Schools, Bass, Cello, Viola
16 posts

There is some inexpensive software for theory/ear-training practice.

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