Our resources contain a range of worksheets aimed at students just setting out on a study of music theory and you can download a whole load of them (like the Major Scale Explainer shown in the image above by visiting our free resources page
In an ideal world it would go something like this.....
Everyone who wanted to learn about music would get a weekly one hour "one to one" lesson from a professional musician and teacher who would guide a student through the beginner, intermediate and advanced stages of playing an instrument. The teacher would introduce theoretical concepts at an appropriate point of study and learners would be presented with material that stretched them without discouraging them. For 99.99% of successful, functioning musicians this "ideal" world scenario was not how they got there
The correct order is......
The ability to name notes correctly is at the core of any study of music theory. If students do not "get" this stage then everything else will seem much more complicated than it actually is.
I am now going to say something controversial in that the reality is that it is possible to teach the basics of music theory without yourself being a musician and although we "experts" might not like it developing an understanding of the "rules" of music have more to do with Maths and English than they have to do with the ability to play a musical instrument.
No matter what instrument is being studied music theory is best understood by means of using diagrams featuring a piano keyboard. Without wanting to resort to cliche it can be said that "its all down there in black and white"
The white notes on a piano can have only one name while the black notes can be assigned one of two names (you dont have to wonder why this is yet)
The FREE Music theory "explainer" that you can see above can be downloaded alongside a worksheet by following the links below. Give them to your homeschooler and their understanding of music theory is under way
When students can identify notes correctly then it is time to take that knowledge and build upon it to develop an understanding of whole and half step intervals (an interval is the "distance" between two notes)
If you want to find out which notes are in a C Major chord you first identify the notes of the C Major Scale (CDEFGABC) and then select the first, the third and the fifth notes (C,E and G) of the scale. They are the three notes of a C chord. If it works for C then it works for any chord.
If you want to construct a minor chord (rather than a Major one) then you just need to use the (first, third and fifth) notes of the relevant minor scale.
Why do some combinations of chords sound better than others? The answer is usually "that they are in the same key" (this means that all of the notes of the various chords can be found in the same Major Scale). Simply put, you can build a three note chord on each consecutive note of a Major Scale using only the notes of that scale to construct them and when played, the chords will sound as though they "belong" together.
This system of harmony is referred to as "Diatonic Harmony" and is the basis of the vast majority of the music that we have listened to for the last five hundred years (and counting!) Above you can see one of our worksheets (along with an answer sheet) designed to help students become aware of, then familiar with this important concept