Learn the basics of music theory as applied to guitar, developing familiarity with the fretboard through chord, scale and arpeggio practice. Topics include:
For students with some playing experience, knowledge and facility, but who have never seriously practiced or studied music theory or the guitar fretboard. Prerequisites: ability to play basic barre chords and some familiarity with playing scales. Students should bring a medium or heavy flat pick and be ready to learn how to use it!
Mondays 6:30 – 8 pm
1/7 – 3/18 (10 weeks) no class 1 /21
Danny Caron • $390
Music Theory and Fretboard Knowledge for Guitar
Ability to play basic barre chords and some familiarity with playing scales. Students should bring a medium or heavy flat pick and be ready to learn how to use it!
Music Theory Basics: Notes, Intervals, Accidentals, Key Signatures
Learning notes on the piano keyboard. Learning notes on the staff, and reading notes in treble clef. Building the major scale. Whole and half steps. Sharps and flats. The 12 keys and the circle of 5ths and 4ths. Handouts in class relating to these subjects, and where to find them on guitar. Assignment: write out major scales in all keys. Memorize the circle of 5ths and 4ths.
The Major Scale, Visualizing the Fretboard
Playing the major scale on the guitar.
5 positions, the CAGED system. Other systems discussed. How to use the pick. How to practice, using the metronome, counting. Patterns and intervals. Handouts in class. Assignment: practice the 5 major scale positions.
Chord Scale Relationships
How chords and scales are related. Harmonizing the major scale. Finding chords and scales quickly. How your guitar is laid out, know the roots on your bottom 3 strings for a start. Chord Melody introduced and discussed, via harmonized scales. Handouts in class. 5 positions for voicing the harmonized major scale. Assignment: practice playing the harmonized major scale voicings in several keys.
The II-V-I Chord Progression
Introducing the ii-V-I chord progression. Common chord positions and voice leading. Key centers introduced. Strumming/comping 4/4 on the guitar. Other rhythm patterns. Assignment: continue practicing all of the above, and try playing chords, major scale for ii V I progression.
Charts and Lead Sheet Basics
Reading a chart (eg. Autumn Leaves, Blue Bossa, Au Privave). Playing the melody, transposing when necessary. Interpreting chord symbols, discussion of variable chord symbols. Comping through the changes. Chart for All The Things You Are. How to interpret the chart, find key centers, ii-V-I’s. How to practice using this song and the major scales. Assignment: Find the key centers in the song All The Things You Are. Record the changes and/or use a backing track. Solo on the changes using the appropriate major scales.
Modes of the Major Scale
Review playing on All The Things You Are. What are modes? How and where on guitar to practice them and use them. Naming the major scale modes. How modes relate to harmonized scales/chords. How modes relate to ii-V-I progression. Handout: Modes and other scales. Assignment: practice modes by themselves, and then try using in chord progressions, All The Things You Are, etc.
Chord Families and Arpeggios
The chord “families” introduced: Tonic, Sub Dominant, Dominant. Which chords can substitute for these sounds. Triads and seventh chord arpeggios introduced and explored. Handout with arpeggio positions. Assignment: practice arpeggios and chords.
Modes Continued: The Melodic Minor Scale
10 scales bright to dark. The seven modes plus Lydian b7, the altered scale, and symmetrical diminished. Melodic Minor introduced. Sheets with MM scale positions and harmonized MM scale. Concept of altered sounds and altered V7 introduced and explored. Modes of Melodic Minor introduced. Resolution. Assignment: play altered scales/sounds against altered chords. Try to resolve.
Dominant Chord Functions, Chord Extensions and More
How static Dominant chords differ from functional Dominant chords. Concept of extensions and alterations continued, demonstrated. Using scales, modes and arpeggios to create extended and altered sounds. Handouts with examples. Assignment: practice creating extended and altered sounds, try on tunes, All the Things, A Train, etc.
Review and Moving Forward
Big review. How to digest and practice going forward. Concepts for practicing, transcribing, ear training suggested.
Danny Caron (guitar)
B.A. in English and Music, Oberlin College and Conservatory; graduate of Howard Roberts Program, Guitar Institute of Technology, Los Angeles. Best known for being music director and guitarist for the legendary pianist and vocalist Charles Brown until his death in 2000. He has played and recorded with Van Morrison, Bonnie Raitt, Dr. John, Clifton Chenier, Donald Fagan, Hadda Brooks, Red Callender, and many others.
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