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  • Writer's pictureCatelyn Picco

The Importance of Teaching Music Theory in Lessons

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As a private vocal and guitar teacher, I find that there is much more to learning music than just how to play the instrument or sing the song. Throughout my lessons I create a structure that helps the musician learn different techniques, theory and repertoire. Below are the ways I create a strong learning environment to have my students be well rounded and versatile.

Guitar Lessons

Every lesson starts the same: students tune their guitar. I create this habit so that when a student begins playing, they immediately know their instrument is in tune. Why play your instrument out of tune? I want you to put on your best performance right away!

Next, we go through some theory! I follow the Hal Leonard Guitar Method Book 1 that teaches students the notes on the staff as well as how to play them on the guitar. Later on in the book, we reach guitar chords and students understand what notes they are playing to create that chord. I find this strategy to be rewarding for my guitar students.

Once a student finishes this book, we go into building a performance repertoire. Most of this is student choice and we use our music theory skills to play songs we enjoy! I want my students to understand that when it comes to playing guitar, there is a lot of work, but the end result is rewarding!

Vocal Lessons

Every lesson begins the same. Vocal students warm up their voice. I use a variety of vocal warm ups so students are ready to sing for lesson and will help with different techniques in this process like vowel shapes while singing. I also emphasize how important it is to warm up your voice before your sing to keep yourself healthy. Your voice is a muscle so you need to warm up!

After warm ups, depending on age we go through the Full Voice Workbook Series. I usually start with the Introductory Level and then move on to levels one, two and three. I enjoy these workbooks because they focus on solfeg as well as the notes on the staff. It is important music theory a singer needs and can connect to group ensembles like choir or a musical.

Finally, we take the techniques and theory we learned and add it to the piece(s) we are working on. I like my students to have a goal and performance opportunities vary and include: gigs, recitals, auditions, solo prep and more! I work on what students want to work on as long as we have something to work toward!

Interested in guitar or vocal lessons? Contact me now! I would love to connect!


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