Sophia Gorlin

Music Theory for Young Musicians

In the Style of Russian School of Piano Playing

How the Music Theory for Young Musicians Series was conceived

The Music Theory for Young Musicians in the Style of Russian School of Piano Playing is a multi-volume collection of books (Music Theory) targeted to pre-college students of all levels — both children and adults — and is drawn from the materials the author has developed and gathered for her own students over the years. The materials are based on the author’s knowledge and 35 years of experience teaching European music theory concepts to students in Ukraine (at the renowned Stolyarsky Music School for Gifted Children) and the United States.

This collection was conceived originally as a supplement to the Russian School of Piano Playing (Russian Piano School) book series, which is an English translation of the popular Russian piano method book. A number of piano teachers, both Russian and American, who use the Russian Piano School method, have noted the need for a comprehensive music theory supplement, since the three books of the series include very sparse theory information. Music Theory is intended to fill this gap, though it can be used effectively with any piano method. Moreover, the Music Theory books incorporate even more advanced concepts and skills than those found in the Russian Piano School series, which stops at intermediate levels.

What makes these Music Theory books unique:

  • The series features:

    1. A combination of European and Russian music school musical terminology and classifications (such as octave names on the piano keyboard, music genre classification, and syllabic notation).
    2. New terms and classifications (such as an “octave indicator” and classification of dynamics).
    3. New charts, exclusive to the series, which further enhance learning (such as the “menorah scheme” for explanation of tonal symmetry).
    4. An extensive amount of interval/chord resolutions based on the tendencies within tonality.
    5. Many advanced theory concepts (such as tonality, functionality, chromaticism, enharmonicism, different forms of modulations, and all forms of cadences/chord progressions).
  • The series combines both textbook and workbook (theory and practice), and teacher and student book components in each volume, providing greater ease of instruction for teachers and students at every level.
  • These collections contain a broad anthology of repertoire at every level. They include excerpts/fragments for initial study, as well as complete music pieces for analysis and performance.
  • Student’s analytical and logical skills are developed through detailed analysis of the multitude of musical examples. Each musical example is accompanied by a number of questions about various musical components (key, tonality, rhythm, melody, harmony, texture, expression tools) that lead the student to his/her own conclusion about the uniqueness of a specific musical work.
  • Starting with Level 2, each book includes additional biographical articles about the composers and musical genres, thus forming a concise “encyclopedia” for the student to reference questions about genres, styles and composer’s backgrounds.
  • Starting with Level 6, each book includes an Appendix II — Pitch Translation Tables (Western Systems) that include Alphabetic Systems, Solmization Systems and Major/Minor Alteration.
  • There are a number of comparison exercises that present comparative analysis of two or three pieces that share musical components and features. These exercises also contribute to the students’ understanding of a musical style at its every level — from the historical period in which the music work was written to the individual composer’s style and the style of a specific musical work.
  • Through the performance tips found throughout the books, the important connection between theory concepts and piano performance is revealed. This connection is also supported by musical terminology reviews. The student’s attention is consistently directed to new music terms as they are introduced in the musical examples. This helps the student comprehend and memorize important musical terms in relation to performance.

The comprehensive teaching tools offered in this Music Theory series encourage students to look more closely and deeply at the music, and will intensify their ability to read music quickly and efficiently. Upon completion of this theory training, a student should be able to sketch a musical image in his/her mind just by looking at the score, before he/she even begins to play it. The books are also the tools for developing a student’s compositional techniques and an ideal source for beginning composers to comprehend the harmonic functionality of classical music.

The books’ engaging and unique format creates an atmosphere of positive reinforcement and accomplishment for the student, thus helping to cultivate a well-rounded musician, not one who merely strikes notes on the piano.

How to Use the Music Theory Books

The Music Theory books are targeted primarily to piano and music theory teachers and their students, as a significant portion of the musical examples are drawn from the classical piano repertoire. However, the majority of the theory concepts work for any type of instrumental and vocal classical music.

Ideally the books should be used to guide music theory instruction in a group setting, but are also helpful for private instruction, with theory-focused lessons occurring at least twice monthly. For best results, it is recommended that, during each piano lesson, piano teachers briefly review the materials and music pieces contained in the previous Music Theory lesson with their students. Piano teachers who incorporate material from the theory books in their piano lessons reinforce the value of the theory lessons and help students connect the importance of theory to other aspects of their musicianship.

The books’ content and structure were founded on an idea expressed by many pianists and teachers, that “there are really two sides to playing the piano (and any musical instrument —S. G.): the ability to play the notes, and the ability to find meaning in them.” The prominent Polish pianist Arthur Rubinstein once said: “I believe that practicing is more in your head than in your fingers.” Music Theory was created as an instructional tool for developing and nurturing the student’s ability to find meaning in music.

How the Books Are Structured

Early levels of the Music Theory collection — Levels 1/Early Beginner, 2/Beginner and 3/Late Beginner — are designed for teaching beginners. They contain color illustrations that reflect theory concepts. The visual perception significantly assists a young student to comprehend music theory concepts.

Book 4’s concepts and music examples best represent the early intermediate level, Book 5 and Book 6 contain intermediate and late intermediate concepts, respectively. Book 7 and the following books present the advanced concepts. Each of the beginning levels can be covered in one semester, while intermediate and advanced levels may require up to one year (two semesters) to complete.

Each book concludes with a final Graded Review (either Lesson 8 or 9), which includes exercises on every concept. Throughout the book, there are suggestions regarding grading points that a student can earn for the specific assignment. Some exercises and questions are marked with Bonus or Challenge, which means that some extra points can be earned by completing them.

How the Lessons are Structured

  • Most lessons consist of two or three sections that focus on different concepts (for example, 1a, 1b, 1c). However, there are a few lessons that present just one broad concept, which is split into subsections and require a significant amount of time to cover thoroughly (for instance in Book 1, such lessons are 1, 2 and 5).
  • The lessons in each Music Theory book are organized according to six broad categories of concepts: Notation, Scales, Rhythm, Music Terms, Intervals, and Chords. Book 1 contains only three of these categories: Notation, Rhythm, and Music Terms. Book 2 adds Intervals, Scales, and Chords.Commencing with Book 2, the first lesson, labeled as “Important Review,” presents briefly the most important concepts from the previous level.
  • Each lesson is comprised of a concept (introduced and defined within a textbox), exercises and musical examples illustrating the concept, and a number of questions that are intended to help solidify the student’s understanding and application of the concept.
  • Many text boxes include Important Notes, Important Rules or Performance Tips on the bottom, which highlight the most essential ideas of the material in the box or suggest tips for better performance in regards of the material.
  • Homework assignments (varies from 1 to 3) conclude most of the concepts/lessons. Many of them include comparison and creative exercises.
  • Some lessons continue to expand upon a concept introduced earlier, in which case a review is included in the textbox and is followed by exercises and musical examples that build further on the student’s understanding of the concept.
  • At the beginning of each analytical exercise, there are guidance markers such as: listen, look, analyze, and play; or: look, listen, and examine, or: revisit, analyze, and play (if the music example was introduced earlier to represent a different concept, or in a different key). [Note: If an exercise does not include the instruction to “play,” it may be due to the greater performance difficulty of the selection, which may appear again in higher levels, at which point the student will be instructed to play it.]

The materials in the Music Theory collection can be used as part of a music school curriculum or in a private teaching studio. The higher-level volumes of the collection are an excellent source of advanced music theory concepts, especially for students who plan to continue their music education in college. The author is confident that students who successfully complete the Music Theory series will be well-prepared for their music theory studies at the college/conservatory level.

The Music Theory books equip students and instructors alike with the tools they need to enjoy a successful journey toward musical literacy, whether by laying the foundation for a successful performance career or simply instilling a lifelong love and appreciation of music. The author’s wish is that the richness of her own experiences with music is reflected in the pages of this work, such that future instructors and students may reap its benefits to the fullest as they grow and develop on their own musical path.

Music Theory for Young Musicians

Book 1

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ISBN/EAN13:
1479367370 / 9781479367375

88 pages

8.5" x 11", Full Color,
US Trade Paper

Language:
English

Music Theory for Young Musicians

Book 2

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ISBN/EAN13:
1481991787 / 9781481991780

124 pages

8.5" x 11", Full Color,
US Trade Paper

Language:
English

Music Theory for Young Musicians

Book 3

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ISBN/EAN13:
1482643936 / 9781482643930

120 pages

8.5" x 11", Full Color,
US Trade Paper

Language:
English

Music Theory for Young Musicians

Book 4

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ISBN/EAN13:
1482693429 / 9781482693423

120 pages

8.5" x 11", Full Color,
US Trade Paper

Language:
English

Music Theory for Young Musicians

Book 5

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ISBN/EAN13:
1483945073 / 9781483945071

132 pages

8.5" x 11", Full Color,
US Trade Paper

Language:
English

Music Theory for Young Musicians

Book 6

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ISBN/EAN13:
1483991083 / 9781483991085

120 pages

8.5" x 11", Full Color,
US Trade Paper

Language:
English

Music Theory for Young Musicians

Book 7

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ISBN/EAN13:
1483996697 / 9781483996691

132 pages

8.5" x 11", Full Color,
US Trade Paper

Language:
English

Music Theory for Young Musicians

Book 8

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ISBN/EAN13:
1490401512 / 9781490401515

138 pages

8.5" x 11", Full Color,
US Trade Paper

Language:
English

Music Theory for Young Musicians

Book 9

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ISBN/EAN13:
1492717290 / 9781492717294

128 pages

8.5" x 11", Full Color,
US Trade Paper

Language:
English

Music Theory for Young Musicians

Book 10

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ISBN/EAN13:
1507619286 / 9781507619285

144 pages

8.5" x 11", Full Color,
US Trade Paper

Language:
English

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