The final installment. I feel like George Lucas after finally releasing the last “Star Wars” film!
This has been a long time in the making, and our team have had to work extremely hard to bring this to reality. I would particularly like to thank our editing team who worked on this (and our previous levels) to carefully find every little mistake.
We have decided that four levels of this series is enough to cover the basics for students in high school, and that is what this course is designed to do.
When we started Printable Music Theory Books we wanted to split the learning of music theory into grades or levels, because we felt that this was the appropriate way to learn.
So many music theory books or websites you see have no separation from easy to complex at all, and while the first couple of pages might cover a few basics pretty quickly they get into complex explanations of things that just serve to confuse the students.
What is proven that works is the “grade” system used by many examination boards around the world, like the Associated Board of Royal Schools of Music and Trinity College from the UK, The Royal Schools of Music (RSM) in Canada, and the Australian Music Examinations Board here in Australia.
The “Grade” system has its good points and its bad points, but I think the single best good point about it is that it gives you a clear understanding of where you are up to.
That is what working through the Printable Music Theory Books levels will do for your students – they will have a clear program to work through, and a clear knowledge of where they are at.
They also will not get overwhelmed with lots of irrelevant information. I had some interesting debates with our editors on what should and shouldn’t be included during the early stages of development of this series. Many of the editors felt we should provide an absolutely factual explanation, and steer away from simplifications for clarity. However we provide a balanced approach that doesn’t over-complicate the issue at the early stages, and still gives all the information that students need.
Level Four continues where level three left off. We want to embrace and include a modern Jazz and Pop style, yet still covering the bases of traditional harmony.
Traditional harmony, like it or not is still important.
For example you couldn’t become a composer of any type of music without knowing that classical composers avoid consecutive fifths and octaves, and why they did that. To become a composer you also need to know about things like the Cadential 6-4, and the particular sound and purpose that inversions have. To skip and ignore these issues completely is to rob students of a chance of becoming truly great musicians and composers.
Modern Harmony is Not scary.
This level contains a large section on modern harmonization, and most importantly how to choose appropriate chords for a piece of music.
This is such an important skill, and anyone who plays music needs to know how to do it, no matter what instrument they play.
Some teachers who learned in a strict classical style may be scared by learning a modern approach, but it is in fact very easy, particularly if you already worked through the classical harmony section of the book.
Level four of this theory book series bridges the gap between traditional and modern harmony concepts.
I am passionate about the fact that both styles of harmony are important. Modern musicians need to know the classical style, and classical musicians need to know about chord symbols, seventh chords and modes.
That said however, like everything we publish at the Fun Music Company…. We don’t tell you how to teach!
The course is structured into sections, so if you want to just do the modern harmony and skip the classical completely – that is absolutely fine. You are in control with Printable Music Theory Books, as you can simply print only the pages you wish to include.
Section 1 – Keys and Scales
The circle of fifths is one of the the most important music theory concepts. It first appears in level two of our series, then again in level three, and once more again here.
Why do it multiple times? Because students need repetition in order to really get it.
The concept is just so critical to their overall understanding, and an innate sense of the keys and their related keys will make such a difference to their musicianship.
After the cycle of fifths we move on to talk about modulation, and one of the important skills that all musicians need: the ability to identify and pick out modulations as they occur in a piece of music.
Section 2 – Modal Scales
Jazz Music has an entirely different scale system, called the modes. Some teach it in high school – some don’t. Some ignore modes entirely unless the student is studying a jazz instrument.
Even for classical students the modes are a great way to re-affirm their knowledge of major and minor, and we have a way to explain and help students remember them that will make the process much easier. Introducing modes can be very scary for students, as all of a sudden they are thrust into learning seven more scale types with funny sounding names like lydian and locrian. This workbook hopes to address that by presenting it in a fun and logical way.
Section 3 – Intervals
Learning intervallic relationships between notes is a very important skill in music theory. This level continues to give the students more practice in this, plus introduces a few more important concepts: compound intervals and interval inversion.
Section 4 – Chords
In the chords section we examine the difference between major, minor, diminished and augmented chords, plus learn about various types of seventh chords.
Students will also gain an understanding of how chords work in keys, learning about primary and secondary chords.
Section 5 – Traditional Harmony
In the traditional harmony section we cover using primary and secondary chords to harmonize simple phrases. We build on the work on cadences started in level three by introducing interrupted and imperfect cadences, plus the cadential and passing 6-4. By the end of this level students can harmonize a simple phrase in four part vocal style and know how to spot errors.
Section 6 – Modern Harmony
In the modern harmony section we also look at where to use primary and secondary chords. In level three students harmonized simple tunes using just chords I, IV and V, but in this level the secondary chords are introduced, along with common chord progressions. Students will also learn about modulations: how to use them effectively when harmonizing a piece of music.
At this level there are no more quick multiple choice quizzes. By this level, students should really be beyond them… shouldn’t they?
Instead we have included 10 section assessments, to be completed after each part of the course, along with an assessment guide, showing exactly when to give the students each assessment. As usual there is a full completion exam, to give the students the
At this level its extremely important to have answered versions, so that you have a reference. This time we’ve had the answered versions checked and re-checked for accuracy, so we know they are perfect.
I’m not teaching music theory at this level…. but would it still be good to buy this for my own study?
One of our editors said: “I wish I’d had it explained this clearly when I was learning: I now understand cadences much better”
Even if you’re not teaching advanced music theory at this stage this material would still be well worth while you investing in, even if just for your own knowledge. It covers how to add chords to a melody, which is an essential skill for all musicians and teachers.. no matter your level of experience.
Do you plan to release more levels of this series?
Not at this stage. We feel that four levels covers the majority of material that is studied at high school or in private music theory lessons. Beyond this level you really need to study music theory in a particular syllabus or learning system.
Does this match grade 4 in ABRSM, Trinity College etc?
The material is approximately at the level of grade four in those systems, and even goes into material done in grade five. We DO NOT include everything in the examination syllabus.. as we have found that much of it is not relevant to the everyday student who doesn’t plan to do exams. If you’re doing exams you can use this material as support material, but you really should have books and trial exams from the examination board you are working with.
What about copyright?
This is covered by the same end user license agreements as all our other products. You can read the full details of it here if you wish, but basically you can print it out for your own study, and for teaching your own students. You just can’t share it with anyone else or re-sell the rights.
Do I get free revisions and updates?
Yes – you can download updates via our members area website. You get lifetime access* to the members area for this product, to download updates as they become available.
Can I get a package deal of level four with other levels?
Absolutely – we are going to have three packages available, level 1 and 2, Levels 1, 2, and 3 and Levels 1, 2, 3 and 4 all together, which will of course have the best value! Click here for details
So go ahead and have a flip through Printable Music Theory Books level four. This is a huge benefit for anyone who is teaching advanced theory at high school, as it could be your complete course of instruction.
You do have a choice: If you’re teaching advanced level theory at high school you could spend over 200 hours writing and planning material for them…. or you could invest $59.95 in this printable material.
I know which I would choose!