Hey Everybody! Thanks in advance for your time in reading and responding. I am a 37 year old guitarist. I have been playing mostly as a hobby aka "bedroom rockstar" for about 24 years but in the last 3-4 years something has changed. I'm obsessed with playing my guitar. Lately I'm writing and starting to record my own music. The only music theory I know is from what I've picked up over the years (reading articles and such). I can't read musical notation.

That being said, however, my playing skill level is quite good. I have an excellent ear. For example, if I heard a note played I could find the correct pitch (or very close to the correct pitch) on one try. If I heard a radio/TV jingle I could play it almost spot-on the first time through. If it matters, my main musical tastes lie in hard rock/metal. But I also am fond of classical music when I'm in the mood.

My question(s) or debate becomes--given my experience and skill-- Where do I begin learning REAL music theory? Do I take college courses? Do I pay some dude from the local guitar shop to teach me? Do I buy books and teach myself? I know I'll get answers all over the spectrum but I figured there are others who have been where I am at and found success. It was suggested to me to take a community college course for beginner piano--as the piano is almost like the "standard". I am OK with that; I have a digital piano too. I have no problem taking college courses but here's my logic on college courses: If I take a non-credit course for Beginner Piano, I can learn but at the end its non-credit. Its almost like I should take full credit courses for music that can count towards a degree or something useful. I know there's all sorts of medium out there for self-teaching but I'm not convinced that is what I want, not to mention not knowing the quality of the content.

So, what has worked for you all in terms of music education and why? I want to understand Keys, Chords, Scales, etc and how they relate, why they relate, etc.

Thanks again!
this site helped me a lot in understanding theory: http://justinguitar.com/

i did go into guitar after having learned classical piano (with a teacher) for 10 years though, so i dunno if it'll work for you.
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I'd start at musictheory.net and just work through everything there.
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For me there was no one go to place. It was a matter of reading stuff and watching videos all over the internet. One great place to check out is a guy on Youtube, his name is Andrew Wasson. http://www.youtube.com/user/creativeguitarstudio He went to MI and he really knows his stuff. Everything you could ever and will ever need to know is on his channel for free.
My favorite books for learning music is The Fundamentals of Musical Composition, The Study of Counterpoint, The Jazz Theory Book, and some of Tonal Harmony.
Well if you must check a college course, you might be able to audit a class if the local university allows such things.
Theory is just...wow. I'm getting a bit over my head by trying to learn so much w/o formal educators

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