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Going to college for theory training. Yes or No?

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by PollyBass, Dec 15, 2002.

  1. PollyBass

    PollyBass ******

    Jun 25, 2001
    Shreveport, LA
    Ok, heres the deal. The drummer i play with all the time, is going to LA Tech to take their Music Theory class. and he wants me to come. I want to go, i did not know that tech had these music classes. it would of course not be bass related (well in a way) just music theory, sight reading, all that mess. i belive. they say the teacher is crazy, and thats a good thing for a theory teacher;) I was hopeing that learning theory would expand my mind al little more so that i could express myself without so much effort from my mind, to the bass. Ok,,, thats the good stuff, here the bad side

    I was planning on moving out soon, getting a job, and marrying my girlfriend,,, but, if i starting taking theory classes, i would have to stay at home a little longer than i hoped, and would be broke, even if i wasent living on my own, paying for the course. well, maybe not broke,,, but pretty darn close. it starts sometime in the beganing of next year. and the whole "getting married and living on your own" thing would be shot to hell for a year or more. What are your thoughts? the good out way the bad? i want the theory NOW more than any time, i thought about waiting,,,, but ....i really want the training. and what better time to go than with my friend and drummer..... What do you guys think? What did YOU think about learning theory when you took classes? should i try to find a bass teacher? i know there won't be one around here. And more than theory is involved. it's really for composing your own music. So, thoughts? you like theory school? you hate it? should i learn on my own (yeah right) or shell out money and time for the theory classes? music is my life, and there's almost nothing more sacred to me than it.

    Wow that was long... it's been BUGGING THE MESS OUT OF ME

  2. just_a_poser


    Apr 20, 2002
    I pay 10 dollars a week to one of my teachers whenever I can, which is generally about 2 weeks a month I guess. He went to college for theory, so I'm learning some good stuff from him.

    But then again you sai d you couldn't find a teacher.

    I'll leave it up to some wise older people. I'm only 14. Guess I don't know much.
  3. If just taking a music class is going to put a hold on your life so much, then I wouldn't suggest doing it. I mean learning the theory is important, but I don't see it as THAT important.

    Unless, that is, you plan on making a career out of the bass?
  4. deadweeds


    Oct 28, 2002
    Harbor Beach,MI
    What does your girlfriend think of the situation?I think you should get married and whatever else you got to do...and then learn theory.....you got plenty of years ahead of you to learn etc.
  5. Boplicity

    Boplicity Supporting Member

    There are some excellent books on theory. Even the most expensive ones would be cheaper than going to college for a class. The advantage of a class is that someone can answer your questions...maybe...if your professor is approachable. Also taking a class can be motivating. Studying alone requires self-discipline and dedication.

    The advantage of a book is that you go at your own pace, not the class pace. Another advantage is that there are some bass books written in bass clef that teach basic theory. How complicated do you want to get at this juncture?

    Two books I might recommend are:

    "The Improvisor's Bass Method" by Chuck Sher

    All bass clef.. No tab. About $20

    "The Jazz Theory Book" by Mark levine

    Trebel and bass clef, no tab. Advanced theory.
    About $40.

    There are many others. Even theory for piano can be helpful. In fact, I learned theory from a piano book.

    Get your girlfriend's input on this decision. If I were she, I would not cotton well to postponing my wedding because my fiance decided to take a theory class (or any other.)

    On the other hand, if your finances are so tight, maybe you should consider postponing the marriage anyway until you do not have such financial pressures. Money problems are the NUMBER ONE cause of divorce, even more than infidelity.
  6. PollyBass

    PollyBass ******

    Jun 25, 2001
    Shreveport, LA
    Yes, possibly. In any case, i was thinking it would just be a good thing to have that training under your belt early?Thanks for all your input. i'm not a very self motivated man...... guess i should get the job and move out...... well i havent asked her yet or anything. it's more like "Yeah, we know, sometime..." kinda deal. She's perfectly fine with it (so she says, but she wouls say that about anything i wanted to do), in fact, she's going to message school (just found out on the phone, she's always wanted to do it) So maybe..... and my parents (dad was first chair violinst in his high school, devolped a rare kind of rash, which lead to a crippling bone/joint sickness, leading him to be no longer able to play any music without screaming in pain) might want to actully pay for the course. the teacher is very nice, and answers almost any question. I have hung out with him before, and he's a real nice guy. Guess i'll have to figure it all out. any more thoughts are welcome.:)

    EDIT: Thanks Bop, i'll check those out.;)
  7. Matt Till

    Matt Till

    Jun 1, 2002
    Edinboro, PA
    One problem I've discovered with my experience, is for some reason you need to already know theroy to get college training. I've played the bass for two years and blah blah blah months. But due to my lack of theroy training, I'd have to take a semester or two off, get a teacher, then try to major in music. It's bull-hucky.
  8. PollyBass

    PollyBass ******

    Jun 25, 2001
    Shreveport, LA
    Thats what i was thinking.... kinda stupid, like, to get into some music schools, you already have to know just about everything there is,,,, and if i knew that, i wouldnt need theory school.
  9. Wrong Robot

    Wrong Robot Guest

    Apr 8, 2002
    I'm in an AP Music theory course in High school.
    We use a text called, HARMONY, by Piston-devoto. The book has supplemental workbook FULL of great excersises and...well...work. It is a college level book, but it starts with the basiscs(first few chapters) it may be expensive since its a text book, but I'd say its worth it, I've learned a lot from it.

    the only catch I'd say is that its classical theory, and is not very versed in contemporary topics, however not much has changed in the Jazz world theory wise, mostly just new method of short hand. Theory is a pretty definate thing, its not like its going to just up and change, its like physics.

    the book is like 400 pages, and the workbook is like 200 I don't know where specifically you can get one, probably any college store that sells textbooks
  10. Boplicity

    Boplicity Supporting Member

    PolyBass, take it from someone who is 59--myself--there is no urgency to decide what to do. TIme has a way of working things out. You just might find a college level theory class quite advanced. So...all the more reason to start with a much cheaper theory book first.

    Why? Because paying out big bucks to take a college course, then find you are in over your head and have to drop out, would be a regrettable waste of money and you say you are financially strapped anyway.

    Of course, you might NOT find the college course too difficult. But why rush to take it with your drummer? Why not allow him to take it first and see how hard it is? He might even share his notes with you, even his text book. If you feel you can tackle the course, then you take it after him. I mean, there really is no extreme urgency, is there?

    You are very fortunate to have such an understanding and agreeable girlfriend. Anyway, let us know what you decide to do.
  11. PollyBass

    PollyBass ******

    Jun 25, 2001
    Shreveport, LA
    This is probably what i will do. I just need a GOOD theory book, but i have yet to check out the books mentioned. i will start low, learn some basics of theory, and take the course later. I really wanted help with odd time and polyrythems more than anything. And i just want more freedom in the realm of music period. guess i'll take the "Teach myself" way for now. thanks for all your help, And yes, my girlfriend is the most amazing person ive ever met. I just need to pump myself up for learning is all. Once again, thanks.
  12. jaybo

    jaybo Guest

    Sep 5, 2001
    Richmond, KY
    I think it depends on the school/teacher as far as what level they expect incoming students to be at. In my first college level theory class they took things from the start; reading notes, key signatures, time signatures, etc. because in my state there are few high schools that have music theory classes. Just talk to the instructor and find out what is expected.
  13. PollyBass

    PollyBass ******

    Jun 25, 2001
    Shreveport, LA
    From what i gathered from the dummer, it would start out with BASIC. they say the class is for people that know NOTHING about theory, and then advance though 6 courses.... so in that case, it would not be that hard. He said it starts in the fall. so thats plenty of time. I couldnt understandmost of what he was saying clearly, i THINK it's a 1 and half hour class a week,,,, that sound right? He said it would last a year or so. i belive. So, if things go right, i might be going. But in the meanwhile,,,, i'm picking up those theory books and studying like heck anyway.
  14. dirk


    Apr 6, 2000
    Memphis, TN
    Polly, that sounds like a good plan, but in the meantime of the class starting, you should look into the bass instructor I refered you to, if you haven't already.. and if money is a problem, for free I'd be willing to teach you a little theory, directly related to bass, and some with keyboard and guitar so you wouldn't be lost in a band situation. Anyway, just PM me if you want to get together sometime.

  15. PollyBass

    PollyBass ******

    Jun 25, 2001
    Shreveport, LA
    Will do! thanks man. really. thanks for the offer of free lessons to!

    God, can you just feel the bass love in here?:)

    Once again, thanks.

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