Harmonic Analysis: A Step-By-Step Approach

Harmonic analysis is an incredibly important key in unlocking the mysteries of music. By understanding and using harmonic analysis we can answer questions such as "what was the composer thinking about (musically) when he/she wrote this music?" Or, "what chords are being used to make this song sound so good?" Or, "what role are each […]

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Rhythm Exercises - Part 2 (Intermediate)

Building off of our previous article (Rhythm Exercises Part 1 - Easy) this article features the next level up in our rhythm exercises. But let's get some important points out of the way before jumping in. First, you really need to be using a metronome for these exercises. Many students think "oh, I have a […]

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Rhythm Exercises - Part 1 (Easy)

In this article we're going to highlight some specific rhythm exercises that all musicians can use to improve their rhythmic understanding. The really great part about these rhythm exercises is that you can practice some of them away from your instrument, meaning that you can work on rhythmic training while you're at the gym, in […]

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Diminished Chords: Dominant Chords in Disguise? Part 1 of 2

Diminished chords can certainly have a spooky and nefarious sound, but they also have a lot of functionality. So much functionality, in fact, that besides simply being a diminished chord it can also function as one of four different dominant chords. That’s right, those diminished chords you thought you knew so well have in all […]

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Wouldn’t it be fun to go back to school? Recess, lunch with friends, quizzes… Yeah, quizzes. Sounds like fun, right? I was recently putting together a music theory quiz for a new lesson and thought to myself, “I should share this with all of our students out there who are music theory fans.” (I don’t […]

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Modes and Chord Scales (Part 1)

Probably the most common question I get regarding theory comes from students who want to understand modes and chord scales. This information is very important to jazz players because of the nature of improvisation, a central aspect of jazz playing. Most beginner (and even intermediate and advanced) jazz players are accustomed to asking themselves "What scale […]

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Trick For Reading Key Signatures

Learning all of your key signatures is important if you want to master all of your major and minor scales, or if you're someone who enjoys improvising and wants to know about chord scales. Understanding which key you are in is a crucial first-step when learning to play any new piece of music, largely because you […]

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Relative and Parallel Minor

There are a lot of descriptive terms that are associated with minor scales. For example, you've probably hear the terms "relative" minor, "parallel" minor, "natural" minor, "harmonic" minor, and "melodic" minor. What does it all mean? What are the differences between each? Do I really have to memorize all of them? Students generally get confused because […]

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