A subliminal way of providing music theory information to the student
September 25, 2018
Today’s incarnation of “Irving”* is playing the C Major Prelude from book one of the W.T.C. I’m bringing up the subject of chords probably for the first time.
The harmonic-rhythm of the piece (the rate at which the chords change) is slow and even paced; the chords change only when measure changes. It leaves me ample time to say to him casually, as he playing: “this is now a C major chord”; “this is a now D Minor-7 chord”; this is a G Major Chord, etc..
I do not assume he will understand the bigger part of what I am saying, but it is more at creating a subliminal background to what he is playing. Much like those once fashionable “learn while you are sleeping” tapes. So, even if all he gets are the things listed below, that is more than enough: 1) There is something called a chord and apparently I’m playing first one then another; 2) that these chords apparently come in a wide variety of types; 3) but one can identify these types based solely on the notes I am playing. He is getting used to hearing the terms I am using, terms like “major”, “minor”, “7-chord”.
It can be an advantage that he does not have to stop the flow of his playing in order to try to understand what these terms mean. He may know no more than that the terms change in a way that, at this point, almost seem to vary in a patterned way with the sounds he is making. Each time I use them in the future there will be a growing sense on his part what they mean and how to use them.
* I promise to give Irving a new name one of these days.