Towards Musical Mastery
Lesson 21, is the final lesson in our level one music theory course. This lesson is not full of earth shattering concepts, big secrets and all the magical formulas. No, this lesson is about clarity.
As the worst and least prepared freshman to ever attend Berklee College Of Music, I luckily found a mentor, the great William G. Leavitt, chairman of the guitar department and creator of the Berklee method. When I told him I was on the fast track towards dropping out he shared his simple little secret for success: “find out what all the guitar players are avoiding doing, and do them”. Those things turned out to be mandatory proficiency tests, and college music theory workbooks both of which were dry, dull, demanding and tedious. But, I did them and I slowly turned my music school experience around. Studying those music theory workbooks and taking those proficiency tests were what enabled me to understand the program, to graduate and eventually become a professional guitarist, teacher and author.
One other thing that Mr. Leavitt said to me was that it would be a shame if my dreams and goals had to die simply because of laziness, “Don’t ever let anyone accuse you of being lazy” he would say. Do you think I am lazy?
Repitition Is The Mother Of Skill
Lesson 21, is simply a set of written exercises that build on what you did in lesson 14, this is the kind of practice that will be a turning point in your musical journey. I promise. I guarantee you most of the guitar players you know would not take the time, or expend the minimal effort it takes to obtain a music writing notebooks and train his or her mind to understand music theory and be musically literate. But, training your mind is exactly what you must do and it is not enough simply to read the information in textbooks, or in this case on webpages. No, you must take pencil to paper and through repetition, and rote copying your brain will start to understand, internalize and deal with musical and theoretical concepts in a natural and intuitive way. In a different and better way. Now ask yourself this question “Why won’t most of the guitarists I know engage in this kind of mental training?”
Below is an exercise similar to the ones you did in lesson 14, only adding a few more concepts and asking you to transpose them to the key of G. This work has already been done but I can tell you that during my first months at Berklee College Of Music I was doing this exercise every day in every key. I am firmly convinced that working and working on this series of exercises was a turning point for me. I call the exercises below The World Of C and The World Of G.
One of the most important areas of your skill set will be the ability to transpose music, to quickly change the key of a given piece of music and still have it sound right. Just below is The World Of G, if you are doing the writing, copy down in your manuscript book exactly what is written here.