Welcome to Theory Camp! More Than Simple Remediation

Jeff Gillespie

Instructors of music theory would undoubtedly concur that in the first stage of training in music theory a student should gain an understanding of fundamentals, which commonly include topics such as pitch reading in various clefs, scales, key signatures, intervals, triads, plus the basics of rhythm and meter. Michael Rogers calls fundamentals the "foundation for all further tonal study." He warns that "a superficial grounding in the basics elements of pitch will cause more problems later on than almost any other form of negligence." To gain mastery or fluency in fundamentals, Rogers divides the study into three stages: "understanding the concept behind a topic, developing accuracy through practice, and developing speed." Indeed, mastery of fundamentals is crucial in order to progress well in music theory, and parallels can be drawn with many other subjects including reading, learning a foreign language, algebra, chemistry.