Merging the Practical and the Theoretical

I have recently acquired a music theory student, who is also an advanced pianist preparing for a high level exam. What I am discovering is the student, although a very solid theory student, has little concept of music harmony in context. Further, this student has difficulty aurally identifying a I, IV, V progression, something most if not all practical piano students student should recognise or at least be familiar with, by the time they have reached Gr8 standard.



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What has gone before in prior music lessons in relation to harmony and aural skills I do not know, although I am beginning to get a clearer picture. This student is by no means “tone deaf”, however we have some work to do.

I take the view that music theory is not silent book-work with weekly homework set for completion by next lesson. Seeing, hearing and playing is the key to reach a more complete understanding. Linking as much as possible to examples within appropriate repertoire is also important. It takes knowledge, planning and preparation.  Preparing students for any exam is a big task. There is a lot on the line, not only for the student but almost certainly for the teacher as well.  The time spent is well worth it.

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