College-Prep Music Course for the high school student

by Michael Leppert

To many or most, play-by-ear musicians, Music Theory might be an imposing and scary topic of study. In simplest terms, it is the language of music. It is to music what grammar is to English and can seem just as daunting. However, it is actually simply the way to understand what one is hearing by ear and extending that hearing into intention. Knowing theory can set the songwriter or composer free from the chains of inspiration and eliminate the fear of a blank page of manuscript paper staring back at him/her. With knowledge of theory, including basic harmony, a songwriter can write a piece of music every day; it may not be “good”, but it is music and it is an aid to further one’s creative mastery.

Music-Theory Online is designed specifically as a college-prep music theory course that will prepare the high school student for success in the first year of college music. This is significant, because (a) the homeschooled high school student can be as young as 13 or 14, so by the time he enters college, he can have 2 or 3 years of theory learning and practice completed and (b) the first-year of college can present enough difficulties to overcome – learning theory needn’t be among them. Theory does not require 2 or 3 years to learn, but sight-singing and ear-training do require much time and practice to master. While sight-singing is taught in Music Theory On Line, it is not graded. All other aspects of an AP Music Theory are included in the course.

In this age of the Internet, many topics for study can adapt well to distance learning. Music Theory is one of the topmost in my opinion. And, Music-Theory Online is an excellent way to learning music theory in one’s own home at one’s pace. Also, because of the state-of-the-art of music sampling, the student can hear examples of the subjects of study and practice ear-training and sight-singing with the program as well. This is invaluable because often the live resources for this advanced level of study are hard to come by. Music-Theory Online provides these resources.

One aspect of the Music-Theory Online course is the approach Dick Parman, the course creator, takes to thinking about sound. His first 2 lessons encourage the student to listen to all of the sounds in his/her world and really pay attention to them. Learning to “hear” is a parallel discipline to learning to “see” is to a painter. Becoming fully conscious of the sounds surrounding one is the true beginning of a study of music.

Mr. Parman’s syllabus includes how to draw various clefs, rests, notes and other musical symbols in use. Next, he teaches note names and their location on the grand staff (pitch) and keyboard note names. The next section deals with Rhythm concerns, including rhythmic dictation and finally, Scales and Introduction to Key Signatures. Every musician who learned theory the old-fashioned way wishes Mr. Parman’s website had been on hand. This program is a must for every musician, regardless of instrument or intent. Whether your student wants to be a serious professional musician or hobbyist, learning theory will make the entire experience rewarding and enjoyable for a lifetime. Please visit the website and see all that Music Theory Online has to offer.