What Are the Tiny Books of Musical Rudiments?
by Sandy Connolly
Students of Music Need Music Theory
There’s a difference between a person who can recite a poem in a language other than English, and a person who can carry on a conversation in that language. Learning music theory (reading, writing, and musical concepts) enables musicians to have conversations, i.e., make music, with any other musician in the world. I am way more interested in teaching people (of any age or skill) how to make music with other musicians than I am with filling up my recital with students who can play one or two well-executed pieces.
After imposing several music theory curricula on my students over the years, I was not happy with the results. Students struggled to understand basic concepts (or even care about them) because the concepts were not being immediately applied in either their curriculum or repertoire. Most of the theory lessons I could find didn’t teach concepts in an order that made any sense with what students need to know to perform the popular music of today. Singers especially were getting left behind.
“White Board Lessons”
Out of desperation, I developed a series of what I call “White Board Lessons” that are now used during lessons with every age and every skill level, beginner to advanced. They are five-minute theory lessons taught during the weekly lesson to explain whatever concept is needed for the moment. Whether it is knowing what key you’re singing in, spelling a major scale, constructing a triad, or learning how to draw a quarter note, the concept has to be taught and mastered by the student within five minutes, or it takes up too much of the lesson. Students like to actually sing or play during their lessons and not just talk about it. Ha!
Tiny Books Were Born
Out of a long series of events that included the beginning of a pandemic (making white board lessons difficult on Zoom), a bunch of musicians staying at my house for six weeks, and my daughter Abigail Connolly creating her own series of zines, the idea of Tiny Books was born. I needed to get my Whiteboard Lessons out there, and the Tiny Books seemed to be a fun and effective format to accomplish that.
Tiny Books Work with Core Curriculum of Musical Rudiments
While each Tiny Book is a quick read, they introduce concepts that will be immediately applied in the Core Curriculum that I am also writing. Read more about the Crescendo Music System’s Core Curriculum here.
Three of 12 Levels Are Complete & Tested
At this writing, the Primer Level, and Levels One & Two are written and have been vetted by current students with rave reviews. Level Three books will be out shortly, and I have a total of twelve levels in my head to get on paper.
You can click on the example book covers below to see more detail about what you would be mastering at each level.