How To Read Music
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How To Read Music

Welcome to Reading Music & The Symbols of Music Notation
0.0 (0 ratings)
Instead of using a simple lifetime average, Udemy calculates a course's star rating by considering a number of different factors such as the number of ratings, the age of ratings, and the likelihood of fraudulent ratings.
20 students enrolled
Created by Jason Allen
Last updated 1/2017
English
Current price: $10 Original price: $25 Discount: 60% off
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Includes:
  • 3.5 hours on-demand video
  • 1 Article
  • 9 Supplemental Resources
  • Full lifetime access
  • Access on mobile and TV
  • Certificate of Completion
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What Will I Learn?
Read Music Using Proven Techniques
Understand All the Symbols (Not Only the Notes) of a Music Score
Read, Play, and Count Rhythms Accurately
View Curriculum
Requirements
  • I'll be using a piece of software in this course that I would like students to get. Don't worry - it's free! And works on Mac and PC programs. I'll tell you more in the first few videos.
Description

For years I've been teaching Music Theory in the college classroom. These classes use the same syllabus I've used in my college classes for years, at a fraction of the cost. I believe anyone can learn Music Theory - and cost shouldn't be a barrier.

Recently I was named as a semi-finalist for the Grammy Foundation's Music Educator of the Year award because of my in-person university classes. Now I'm taking those classes to Udemy in an online format in order to reach more students, and give them the joy of Music Theory.

This class is a Comprehensive class - it will have many parts, going through my entire annual curriculum.

This class is Part 1: Reading Music & The Symbols of Music Notation.

In this class, we will cover:

  • My approach to Music Theory
  • Tools you will need to learn Music Theory quickly and efficiently
  • Music software: Notation programs
  • The elements of the Score
  • Pitch Names
  • Pitch Classes
  • Octaves
  • The White Keys
  • The Black Keys (not the band!)
  • Half-Steps and Whole-Steps
  • Clefs
  • Intervals
  • Naming Octaves
  • Identifying Notes on the Staff
  • Identifying Notes on the Keyboard
  • Beat and Beat Divisions
  • Tempo
  • Downbeats and Upbeats
  • Dotted Rhythms
  • Time Signatures
  • Ties
  • Accidentals
  • Form in Music Notation
  • ...and much, much more!

And of course, once you sign up for Part 1 - Reading Music & The Symbols of Music Notation, you automatically get huge discounts to all the upcoming parts of this class.

You will not have another opportunity to learn Music Theory in a more comprehensive way that this. Start here.

Dr. Jason Allen is an Ableton Certified Trainer, and a PhD in Music Composition and master of Electronic Sounds. His music has been heard internationally in film, radio, video games, and industrial sound, as well as the concert hall and theater. His 2015 album, Aniscorcia, reaching the CMJ Top200 Charts and radio broadcasts nationwide. In 2014 he was named a semi-finalist for the Grammy Music Educator Award.

He currently as an adjunct professor of composition at the University of St. Thomas, and the CEO of Slam Academy in Minneapolis.

Praise for classes by Dr. Jason Allen:

  • "Without a doubt the best explanation and east of use that one can get. It leaves you enough room to go explore. The classes go by quick, so you can be on your way at being proficient. What are you wait for!"

  • "Amazing - Seriously Loved It! I took all his courses and have to say I'm so happy! Learnt loads! Jason is an awesome teacher!"

  • "I have never had any formal training in music at all. Trying to learn all the notes and how everything translated was a serious challenge. After going through this class, Dr. J has totally brought down the barriers. The content was very useful and was easy to grasp for me."

  • "I like these courses because you can get up and running quickly without having to spend hours of time wading through TMI (too much information!). Jason hits the high points but shows you what you need to know. Thanks!"

  • "I've watched many other videos on scales and chords before, however, this one has been the best. I now understand minor scales and chords and even how to analyze songs. It really gave me the confidence to start producing music because I feel like I have some structure and guidelines to follow. AWESOME!"

  • "Clear and Informative - Jason has a clear uncluttered style (with the important dashes of humor) of presentation that is focused on the important key aspects of this course. Recommended for those starting out!"

  • "Dr. Allen does it again with his music theory series. This course really opened up everything I learned from the 1st section, and now I understand more about the composition side of things for music. I highly highly recommend this course to anyone!!! Really opened my eyes to many things I wasn't aware of."
Who is the target audience?
  • This course is designed for students who have either never tried to learn music theory before, or tried and couldn't come grasp the concepts.
  • This is a course for students who want to understand everything about music theory, for the ground up.
Students Who Viewed This Course Also Viewed
Curriculum For This Course
Expand All 43 Lectures Collapse All 43 Lectures 05:39:17
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Getting Started
5 Lectures 21:19
Welcome to the class! In this lecture we will do a quick overview of the course.
Preview 04:39

I approach music theory from a composer and songwriters perspective. In this lecture I'll walk you through how I think about Music Theory and how I approach teaching (and learning) it.
Preview 06:45

I'm going to teach this class using a really cool (and FREE) software program. You don't need to get it, but I think it will help you learn more, and learn faster.
Preview 06:10

Here is the download I talked about in the previous lecture. Some nice clean staff paper. Print out a few sheets for taking notes!

Download: Staff Paper
1 page

There are a lot of music notation software programs (well, only 3, actually). And they can be quite expensive. I'm recommending a free one, but the others are worth talking about quickly before we dive in to the real guts of the class.
Preview 03:45
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All The Little Dots
5 Lectures 29:55
To get started, I want to just walk through a score and point out the different elements that we are seeing. We will learn what all of these mean soon.
Preview 06:04

Here we go: The names of the pitches.

Pitch Names
09:33

We have pitch names, which we just learned. We also have pitch classes - slightly different (but important) than pitch names.

Pitch Classes
04:50

A lot of music theory comes down to intervals - the distance between notes. Our first interval that we will learn is the Octave.

Octaves
09:28

Here is a downloadable PDF worksheet for you to practice on. Page 2 of this worksheet has the answers on it so you can check your work. Practice, practice, practice!

Worksheet No. 1 (DOWNLOAD)
4 pages
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The Keyboard Layout
6 Lectures 21:04
We won't be learning how to play the piano in this class. But the piano is useful to us because it gives us a really nice visual of the notes.
Preview 02:12

We've learned the names of the notes, so next lets learn how to find them on the keyboard.
Preview 05:40

The black keys present a little bit of a problem. They have 2 different names, and this can be confusing. But hold tight - it will all make sense after this video.
The Black Keys (not the band...)
06:50

We've learned about Octaves - our first interval. Now we need to learn 2 more intervals, and these are much smaller than an octave.
Half-Steps and Whole-Steps
03:10

Up next: A little recap. We need to connect a few dots to make sense of how this all works together.
A Little Review of What We've Learned So Far
03:12

Here is a downloadable PDF worksheet for you to practice on. Page 2 of this worksheet has the answers on it so you can check your work. Practice, practice, practice!
Worksheet No. 2 (DOWNLOAD)
4 pages
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Pitch Notation on the Staff
6 Lectures 24:18
Lets go a little deeper on how the staff works, and how we read notes from it.
Preview 03:00

A new wrinkle! The Clef can show us what range of notes we are talking about. There are many clefs, and everything changes if we are on a different clef.
Clefs
10:37

Lets focus just on the treble clef for now, and get back to what we already know.

Treble Clef Refresher
02:13

Now that we can see notes on the staff, we should try to get comfortable naming the notes and the intervals.
Naming Notes and Intervals
04:43

Sometimes we use numbers to indicate the octave, like C3, C4, C5, etc. You might see these numbers so I want you to know what they mean.
Octave Names
03:45

Here is a downloadable PDF worksheet for you to practice on. Page 2 of this worksheet has the answers on it so you can check your work. Practice, practice, practice!
Worksheet No. 3 (DOWNLOAD)
4 pages
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Reading Rhythms
4 Lectures 17:35
Beats! Finding the beat, feeling the beat, and notating the beat are fairly difficult concepts. But with a little guidance, I can get it sorted out for you.
Beats and Beat Divisions
06:42

We have, mainly, two different types of meters (time) in music: Duple and Triple.
Duple vs. Triple
04:47

Three new terms: Tempo (speed), Downbeats, and upbeats.
Tempo, Downbeats, and Upbeats
06:06

Here is a downloadable PDF worksheet for you to practice on. Page 2 of this worksheet has the answers on it so you can check your work. Practice, practice, practice!
Worksheet No. 4 (DOWNLOAD)
4 pages
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Notating Time on a Musical Staff
7 Lectures 40:59
In order to notate rhythms, we need to be able to quantify them by their relationship to each other.
Rhythmic Subdivisions
15:13

We can add a dot to any rhythm (or rest) to elongate it.
Dots
03:26

What about a rhythm that indicates a certain amount of silence? That is called a rest, and there is one for every rhythmic symbol.
Rests
08:08

So far we have looked mostly only at the time signature of 4/4. But there are many others, and things work a little differently in each one.
Time Signatures
05:21

So far we have a whole note (4 beats long) as the longest possible rhythmic symbol. But we can make longer symbols by connecting a few together using ties.
Ties
03:48

A brief side note: I've been giving you a lot of terms in this class that are specific to the way we talk about music in the United States. In this lecture I'll talk a bit about some things you should know if you are outside of the U.S.

Languages
05:03

Here is a downloadable PDF worksheet for you to practice on. Page 2 of this worksheet has the answers on it so you can check your work. Practice, practice, practice!
Worksheet No. 5 (DOWNLOAD)
5 pages
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Score Symbols and Conventions
4 Lectures 33:20
So far we have talked about notes on the score, and rhythms on the score. What about volume? We call volume "Dynamics" and this is how we notate them.
Dynamics and Repeats
12:20

There is a little more to accidentals that we haven't learned yet. Lets tie up some loose ends about accidentals in this video.
Accidental Behavior and Naturals
10:17

Form is the order of events in music. It is also notated on the score using repeats, DS sections, and other tricks.
Form
10:43

Here is a downloadable PDF worksheet for you to practice on. Page 2 of this worksheet has the answers on it so you can check your work. Practice, practice, practice!

Worksheet No. 6 (DOWNLOAD)
3 pages
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Putting It All Together
3 Lectures 12:12
There is a secret website that publishes thousands and thousands of scores that we can download and practice with.
Places to Find Scores Online
04:07

Here are my tips for practicing!
Tips for Practicing Notes and Rhythms
08:05

Here are a bunch of files for you to practice with. This is actually a complete book of (fairly) simple music compositions to practice with.

A Bunch of Practice Sheet Music! (DOWNLOAD)
108 pages
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Wrap Up!
3 Lectures 05:36

Thats it for part 1! We've only scratched the surface!

Thanks & Bye! (For Now!)
02:00

In the next class, we are going to be talking about Scales and chords. I thought here would be a good chance to give you a preview, and let you know why we care about these things.

Bonus Lecture: What Are Scales, and Why Do We Care?
03:05

There is a lot more to learn!

Bonus Lecture: Discount Offers & Mailing List
00:31
About the Instructor
Jason Allen
4.5 Average rating
3,945 Reviews
27,573 Students
56 Courses
Ph.D / Ableton Certified Trainer

J. Anthony Allen has worn the hats of composer, producer, songwriter, engineer, sound designer, DJ, remix artist, multi-media artist, performer, inventor, and entrepreneur. Allen is a versatile creator whose diverse project experience ranges from works written for the Minnesota Orchestra to pieces developed for film, TV, and radio. An innovator in the field of electronic performance, Allen performs on a set of “glove” controllers, which he has designed, built, and programmed by himself. When he’s not working as a solo artist, Allen is a serial collaborator. His primary collaborative vehicle is the group Ballet Mech, for which Allen is one of three producers.

J. Anthony Allen teaches at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, MN., and is an Ableton Live Certified Trainer. He is a co-founder and owner of Slam Academy, a multimedia educational space in downtown Minneapolis. Recently, Allen founded Hackademica – an innovative net-label for new music.

J. has a PhD in music composition, 2 Master’s degrees in music composition and electronic music, and a bachelors degree in guitar performance. Through his academic travels, Dr. Allen has received numerous awards along the way.

If you run into him on the street, he prefers to be addressed as J. (as in, Jay.)