Music theory for band geeks, part 1

Music notation is the written language that universally conveys both space and time. In the first session, you learn about music notation, just to put us all on a level playing field. You learn about notating:

  • Pitch (the five lines, clef, accidentals)
  • Rhythm (all those dots and flags)
  • Meter (feeling and categorizing the beat)
  • Beaming (putting patterns together)
  • Complex meter (7/8 of the time!)

Creating a music theory class

What is music theory

I'm working on a music theory class for my bandmates in the Austin Civic Wind Ensemble. Most of them have not studied music after high school (although quite a few have). But they all know how to read music and play an instrument.

That's why most of the music theory books and online classes just wouldn't work. They either start at a very remedial level (what is a staff? What are whole notes?), or at a level too advanced for us. I want to tailor the class to band geeks who play.


Covering "The Weight"

Now that I'm playing in a couple cover bands, I notice a song that's often covered is "The Weight."
The Weight, as played by The Band, has a 3/4 bar in the middle of the chorus. Start counting with "Take a load off..."
And... and... and.. you put the load, put the load, right on me...
It's amazing how hard it can be to get it right! Some bands do: