Our house is constantly filled with music. My husband teaches piano, guitar, and drum lessons all afternoon four days a week. So yes, there is a lot of music going on in our home. The funny thing is that I am the one who was more "formally" trained. Remarkably, I know more theory than he does, and I can read music better than him, but he can play anything. That is not true for me.
I received a copy of Garage Band Theory for free in exchange for my honest review. I was also compensated for my time. As always, my opinions are 100% my own. See my full disclosure policy for more information.
My husband can hear something once or twice and figure it out on whatever instrument he wants to play it on, and then he can play it very well on his own. It's a skill that I feel in love with from the very beginning. I always thought that it was something you were born with, but when I saw Garage Band Theory, I was fascinated to find that it is a skill anyone can cultivate. I couldn't wait to learn more.
*True confession...I thought my son would really enjoy this book, but I'm thinking I might get just as much use out of it myself! He'll have to share!
Listening to Play
One of my husband's piano students this year has really fascinated me as I've watched him improve over time. He started off as a super beginner piano player. He could pick out a couple of tunes on his own, but his technique was raw.
My husband uses the Suzuki method to teach piano, and a key component to success with it is taking the time to listen. As the year progressed, I'd find this young man laying on the floor in the music room listening to the next piano piece he was supposed to learn. It was like he was inputting data. He progressed so quickly through the first level book because he took the time to listen before he played.
Duke Sharp takes this principle in his book Garage Band Theory and expands it to all instruments and all players. He encourages to start with a song that you're really familiar with, and then you can learn from there. All of the songs included in the book have audio files that you can download and listen to on his website.
The Philosophy of Garage Band Theory
Duke Sharp believes that there are two main hurdles for every musician: the physical nature of playing, and learning the language of music. A big guitar can be a challenge for little kids to start learning with because of the physical challenges of their size in relation to the instrument. As you train your muscles to work the instrument, you become a better player.
Additionally, by learning the language of music, you can gain understanding about why certain actions make certain sounds which smooths out the process of learning to play by ear.
My Husband's Reaction to the Book
I was truly curious to know what my music-teaching husband thought of Garage Band Theory. He felt like he'd found a kindred spirit in Duke Sharp. Since my husband is not a technical player, he always starts with listening as well. He loved how Mr. Sharp presented the material and emphasized starting with listening.
You can practice without an instrument in your hand.
- Duke Sharp
Practicing continues when you sing or hum the song to yourself, and most importantly, while you're listening to the original piece.
My husband is thrilled to have this excellent resource to help him continue to cultivate his craft.
A Fantastic Music Theory Resource
This book is filled with history, inspiration, instruction, and so much explanation of the "why" behind the theory. The best part is that he explains in a down-to-earth, easy-to-grasp manner that brings music theory to life. It's not just a boring subject that you ought to study. Music is meaningful, and it should be taught that way.
Mr. Sharp is keen to point out that this is not a short cut, but an alternate route. It still takes time and effort to learn an instrument. It's just another way of getting there.
Classical Approach to Music
Garage Band Theory starts with the grammar, or the basics of the language of music at the same time encouraging you to learn the basics of your instrument of choice. It expands understanding by using comparison to find the different sounds of each instruments as well as the difference between the original song and the way you're playing it. You become rhetorical with an instrument when you can play a piece beautifully or teach it to someone else effectively.
My absolute favorite part of the way this approach is designed is that Duke Sharp truly believes that practice should be renamed "play". Play with the music. Listen to it. Enjoy it. Understanding will follow when you've taken the time to play with music.
My son is thrilled to have a resource like this to help him take his music to the next level.
Win a Copy to Bring Music To Your Home
Enter below to win a copy of this excellent resource. You can also purchase Garage Band Theory on Amazon.
Betsy Strauss is an unexpected homeschooler, mother of three, who is in a relationship with a sweet man for life. She loves reading books, drinking coffee, and learning anything with her kids.