Think you'll never "get" musical theory? Me too! Amazingly, Creative Juicer and Irish Singer-songwriter Mark Dignam was able to explain it to me in a way that I actually understood (at least I thought I understood!). I recorded it so that I would be able to go back and listen and I thought you might like to learn too. It turns out that not only is Mark a gifted musician and songwriter, he's also a gifted teacher for those of us who resist the traditional ways of learning. I'm lookin' at you creative friend...
In 15 minutes, Mark blew my mind with this musical theory knowledge so that I actually understood:
-How the scales relate to the chords
-What people mean when they say "chord position"
-How to figure out what chords to play in each key
-How to transpose music
-How to figure out what key someone is playing in
-Why you play certain notes in each chord
-How musicians use chord theory to play together and speak the same musical language
Download a version of the chord sheet he showed me here.
I just needed the right kind of explanation for my particular hot mess of a creative brain. It was so much simpler than I ever thought! And why did my piano teacher not tell me anything about this? Because I was learning from a technician, not a creative. In her defense, I was only in the first grade but still. I've got more to say on that, but I'll spare you today.
Are you afraid to learn a new insturment?
I played classical piano and viola growing up. I don't remember actually learning how to play but I definitely remember hating it. I hated to practice. I hated reading music which I could never grasp. I hated recitals. By the time I was in 6th grade, my mother finally gave up the fight and let me quit. I actually love music and I'm very grateful that my parents gave me the knowledge base I have now but I've been very reluctant to do it myself because of my "issues" (such as my fears and my tendency toward laziness and I'm kind of busy with work and kids and stuff).
The ukelele is a great introductory instrument
One of the lovely assets of having a creative group of people around me, is that I have gently allowed myself to try some new creative outlets. After singing at a few impromptu jam sessions, I decided that I would try to play the ukelele. That is a great introductory instrument if you're instrument-reluctant like me. I bought this Cordoba Ukelele set which includes a gig bag, chord chart & tuner. I have loved having it around. It's got 4 strings. it's small and cute. It's inexpensive. It's easy to grab a chord book and learn a few chords to play along with friends or your favorite tunes. Almost any song is available with lyrics and chords online (I use this site a lot and print out the pages for my traveling music binder).
Want More of Mark's Creative Brain?
If you're interested, Mark's visit to The Juice Cast last summer is one of our most-listened-to podcasts. He talks about connecting with a live audience, life in Dublin growing up with friend Glen Hansard, and making a living in the music industry. You can catch that here.
Who is that woman in the video alongside Mark?
That's artist Memphis George, another Creative Juicer. She's pretty amazing and prolific in many artforms. You can check out her fine art jewelry here.