Thursday, April 23, 2009

Book review: Complete idiot's guide to music theory by Michael Miller

The complete idiot’s guide to Music Theory 2nd Ed – Michael Miller

This book looks at music theory starting from the absolute basics. Starting from the basics of reading and writing music, the books slowly builds up on the topics and builds towards more advanced concepts such as counterpoint or arrangements. A CD is included that contains exercises to help develop your ear’s ability to recognise pitches, intervals, rhythms, scales and chords. The appendixes at the end of the book include a glossary of musical terms, a complete chord reference, and answers to exercises from the chapters.

What I gained from reading this book:
Being a (mostly) self-taught guitarist, I neglected learning music theory because I figured I could do without it. Although you can still be a good musician without a thorough understanding of music theory, it is harder. I was still able to compose many songs without knowing anything on music theory. When I decided to actually learn music theory, I realised that it makes life so much easier. It was only after I learned about music theory that I realised that I could have written the same songs in half the time if I knew the basics on theory.

This was the book I read to learn music theory. Although I could read sheet music, I didn’t really know anything else. The book is set out in a very practical way. I started reading from the very basics (describing tones) and learned new things straight away. Everything is easy to understand and very useful. After I finished the book I could study music by other bands and understand how I could write something just as good. My music has improved dramatically since reading this book. I don’t need to guess what will work like I did before, now I have a good idea of what will work before I even play anything. I highly recommend this for any musician that hasn’t looked at learning music theory yet.

The way the book starts from the absolute basics means anybody can read it.
Everything is simple to understand thanks to the very thought out explanations. Having the chapters split up into the different areas of music theory means people can focus on the areas they want to learn about.
The exercises at the ends of the chapters and the CD are great to build your understanding.

This book teaches a foundation on music theory, so those who want to have a really deep understanding will need to find another book after reading this one.

Recommended for: All musicians who haven’t already studied music theory
I recommend this book for all musicians whether you are a guitarist, drummer, singer, pianist. Many musicians (especially guitarists) feel that music theory is only for classical players (I know because I once thought this). The truth is that an understanding of music theory will help any type of musician playing any style of music. The more you know, the easier things get.

Genre: Music

Overall rating: 8 out of 10 stars

Australians can buy the book by clicking the picture below:
The Complete Idiot's Guide to Music Theory, 2nd Edition

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