the stories of a los angeles violinist

theory

Added on by Jordan Martone.

over the past couple of years, i've been writing a theory book for violinists. i quickly realized when i got to college and started teaching more and more students, that violinists are severely lacking in their knowledge of music theory. pianists and guitarists seemed to have better theory because they're dealing with chords all day long, while violinists are primarily melodic and play mainly one note at a time. i have noticed as a violinist myself, that i don't have the opportunity in my day-to-day musical life to encounter opportunities to grow my theory knowledge. 

my students have been struggling with the basics: note recognition, counting rhythms, and identifying major music symbols. i thought to myself, "i can't be the only teacher struggling with giving their students a well rounded music education." 

the only reason i had a decent music education was because my parents are both trained musicians, piano teachers, and taught me everything about piano that i know today. however, when i switched over to violin at age 7, my music theory education halted. violin curriculum just does not incorporate theory enough. i have searched far and wide for a violin theory workbook and have found nothing that works. the few that are out in circulation are very poorly written, if they are even carried at a local music store at all. 

so, i decided to write my own.

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i used the above pictures as flashcards that i quickly drew using my paper app by fifty three on my iPad. i use them as review material for my beginning strings students and they help tremendously. but what has really made a difference is when i assign my students these theory pages:

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 it's astonishing how many grown violin students never learned the circle of 5ths.

it's astonishing how many grown violin students never learned the circle of 5ths.

i try to focus on clear instructions and repetition, so that students can complete these pages on their own like a homework assignment. also, not every student learns well from a teacher just barking words at them every day. some need a kinesthetic outlet, (me!) which is why writing in a workbook helps so much. with a theory workbook, kids are getting visual, aural, and kinesthetic teaching.

it has helped my beginners this year tremendously. i have never seen a student so excited about homework! i am constantly trying to "up" the quality of string education in our schools and i believe that something like this workbook is key to making that happen. 

i am currently exploring ideas like publishing my theory book, making it available for download online, etc. because if it is helping my kids, i know it can greatly benefit others. that being said, comments and ideas are welcomed from my readers! i love hearing from you and i'd love any suggestions you may have, 

have a happy, musical weekend.