#1
So I've been playing guitar all my life. I'm completely self taught and have respectable guitar technique and ability. I grew up making my own songs, then making them more complex so I could entertain myself instead of just doing simple chord progressions over and over again. I learn other songs on occasion but usually forget them quickly so my guitar experience is very much restricted to the realm of my own exploration. As such, this makes me lacking somewhat as a musician. I know notes, keys, some scales, most chords except for the crazier upper end jazz chords, and I essentially use them based on how they sound. Through that I've gained some knowledge of what sounds good where, with what chord etc but no real theory behind it. I want to become a more cerebral player and KNOW what to play at anytime and why, instead of experimenting with my ear.

That being said, is it possible to self teach music theory? I've skimmed through some of the 600 page textbooks and it all looks pretty complicated
#2
Quote by Serrana
So I've been playing guitar all my life. I'm completely self taught and have respectable guitar technique and ability. I grew up making my own songs, then making them more complex so I could entertain myself instead of just doing simple chord progressions over and over again. I learn other songs on occasion but usually forget them quickly so my guitar experience is very much restricted to the realm of my own exploration. As such, this makes me lacking somewhat as a musician. I know notes, keys, some scales, most chords except for the crazier upper end jazz chords, and I essentially use them based on how they sound. Through that I've gained some knowledge of what sounds good where, with what chord etc but no real theory behind it. I want to become a more cerebral player and KNOW what to play at anytime and why, instead of experimenting with my ear.

That being said, is it possible to self teach music theory? I've skimmed through some of the 600 page textbooks and it all looks pretty complicated



Anythings possible, but Id recommend a class, a book, and/or private instruction, unless your really hell bent on being able to tell people you're "self taught". I know some people take pride in that sort of thing.
shred is gaudy music
Last edited by GuitarMunky at Nov 11, 2011,
#3
I think there's an advantage to learning on your own: you pick up every scrap of information you come across along the way and never forget it, and through exploring on your own you might come across many more "why this is like it is" than say, learning a scale from a book and memorizing it just "because it is like it is".

At least that's what i believe, as a self taught player, but of course there's no saying what you might consolidate through the extra professionality of a good book or teacher, so if you have the means it's a good idea to do one or both of these.
#4
I would never recommend a 600 page textbook.

On the other hand, a book like "Harmony and Theory" by Keith Wyatt will walk you through a lot of the basics in well-structured way, so might be what you're looking for.
#5
You sound like me 5 months ago, i would say learn as much theory as possible on your own, then take a class. It'll clear up anything you never quite heard while reinforcing what you do know and understand as well as clear up any holes in your learning plus it gives you a whole new perspective. Prior to taking a class, i never looked at theory on sheet music or with soprano notes or anything. multiple perspectives are important. Also try a less....strenuous theory book to start with. Anything that goes up to early modulation should work.
#6
I tried to learn theory on my own for, say, 2 or 3 months. Largely, it was a fruitless effort.

I began taking music courses at my college this semester. With an instructor who actually shows you how things work, why they do, and how they all come together in the big picture, it is infinitely easier to comprehend. Already I've learned more meeting in that class once a week than I learned myself all summer.

If you get a chance to take classes, I would recommend that you do.
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~ A Rolling Potato Gathers No Moss ~
#7
Quote by eGraham
I tried to learn theory on my own for, say, 2 or 3 months. Largely, it was a fruitless effort.

I began taking music courses at my college this semester. With an instructor who actually shows you how things work, why they do, and how they all come together in the big picture, it is infinitely easier to comprehend. Already I've learned more meeting in that class once a week than I learned myself all summer.

If you get a chance to take classes, I would recommend that you do.



Explained perfectly. Everyone is different, but for gutiar. Hands on vs. a book will be much better because you get the explination along with the how to.

Another great book is the guitar grimoire
Reverbnation.com/offthewitness
#8
You can get Pocket Music Theory for about $5 at your local bookstore. Pick up and start learning. It's not really in-depth, but it covers the basics well. If you can't understand it, take classes. Best way would be to have a private guitar instructor that knows theory well. Most music theory classes center around the piano and while it's simple enough to transfer that knowledge to guitar... It'd probably be easier for you to learn it in a guitar-centric format.

My 2 cents anyway.
#9
The biggest problem with self-teaching is that there's no one around to point out to you that you're screwing up. With book-learning, you have no one to explain stuff you don't understand. So while you can self-teach theory, you'll go farther, faster, and easier, with an instructor.
#10
I taught myself pretty much everything I know about theory, and I'd like to think I know what I'm talking about to a certain degree. The only reference I used was a book called The Complete Idiot's Guide to Music Theory, and I'd highly recommend it.

I've always preferred learning on my own, but the one thing you really need to know is that you have to be motivated. I enjoyed learning theory and I'd constantly be doing practice in my head wherever I was (I tend to get a bit obsessive when I'm learning things) - if you are truly interested in it, go for it.
#11
Quote by :-D
The Complete Idiot's Guide to Music Theory


This too. That one's probably the most reader-friendly theory book on the market. Nothing too deep, but it's a great foundation.