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Lessons

 

The lessons offer a comprehensive curriculum for learning music fundamentals and theory, including the ear training necessary to grasp these concepts in the sound itself, not just in written form. Each lesson is followed by quizzes to check for (and reinforce) understanding as well as exercises to develop speed and fluency. Singers who study these lessons will be able to not only sight read (sight sing) music accurately, but will also understand the full texture of the music and their contribution to it. While the targeted audience is choral singers and music theory students, these lessons can serve anyone hoping to develop their musicianship.

The table of contents to the left organizes the curriculum. Click on each section and the contents of that section will roll out below it. Click on any item in the table of contents and it will open the material. Work through the lesson and then take the quizzes and exercises at the end of each section and in the 'building proficiency' sections. Summary of the contents are provided for you below

If you do not have an instructor but still want to track your progress by saving your scores, then you can register for a SonicFit course. By registerring you can contribute money to keep SonicFit developing. More details here.

Beginning I

Line Notes and Space Notes

Identify line notes and space notes and the numbering system of their placement on the staff.

Letter Names (note names)

Letter names of notes on the staff in bass and treble clefs.

Discerning Pitches Introduction

Practice hearing and identifying higher and lower pitches far apart (tonic and dominant notes of the scale). The practice hearing and singing and identifying by scale degree two pitches that are close together: first pitch as DO (tonic) and second pitch as RE (second scale degree called the supertonic)

Ledger Lines, Clefs and the Grand Staff

The bass and treble clefs used today are almost always on the same place of the staff. However, throughout most of Western music history, these clefs could be placed on several different places, and the C clef was used frequently. Learn about movable clefs, the C clef (most commonly today used for the alto clef and tenor clef) clef octaves, middle C, the grand staff, ledger lines and more.

Scale Degree Recognition and the tonal framework.

Much of Western music uses a tonal framework. SonicFit intends students to have a solid foundation in the aural comprehension of this framework, knowing each notes place in the framework. The solfege ladder, Curwen hand signs, exercises and drills presented in this lesson are essential elements of this training.

Music Theory: Rhythm and Meter

Note Values, Durations and Anatomy

This introduction to rhythmic notation begins with understanding note anatomy: types of note heads for half notes, whole notes, and quarter notes, and the stem on a quarter note as well. Note duration and values are taught in reference to a number line and fractions.

Counting in Common Time

Time Signatures are briefly introduced, then focusing on practicing how to count when using ‘Common Time’. The following concepts and terms are covered: measures, bars, bar lines, beat, beat values, rhythm syllables, and count singing. Methods for count singing are explained and practiced.

Eighth Notes and Rests

The concept of note anatomy and durations are reviewed and expanded by adding the eighth note value, which uses a solid note head, a stem, and either a beam or a flag. Rests are introduced and compared with notes of the equivalent value.

Slurs Ties and Dots

Slurs and ties look very similar, but must be executed differently. Dotted notes are a short hand way to write two notes tied together. Steps for count-singing with slurs and dots are explained, and exercises and quizzes help to drill the application of these concepts.

Time Signature and Meter I

Meter involves two parts: how beats are grouped together into regular patterns of strong and weak beats, and how each beat divides into smaller values. This lesson addresses beat groupings only, covering the concepts of strong and weak beats. Time signaures present beat groupings in the top number, while the bottom number represents the value of the beat. Count singing is further explained and practiced with quizzes and exercises. The term anacrusis, or pick-up note, is explained.

How to Read a Full Score

The Choral Score

After reviewing terms such as measure, bar, and barline, scores with multiple staves are presented. Users learn the proper way to read scores with many parts and avoid common reading mistakes. Terms presented include brackets and braces.

Music Theory: Pitch II: Steps, Intervals, and Key Signatures

Key Signatures I

In this lesson, users are not yet taught how to identify key signatures, but rather, to understand that with different key signatures the melody will be higher or lower. The academic language for this is that the melody is transposed higher or lower. An essential skill of sight reading is that the a singer can quickly identify scale degrees. To begin developing this skill, students must work on speed and accuracy of identifying scale degrees of fragments with DO as the first note.

Intervals I

This lesson focuses on interval quantity only. (Interval quality requires more background and is addressed in a later lesson.) Cardinal numbers (2nd, 3rd, 4th, etc) describe interval quantity. Exercises ending the lesson will help students gain speed and accuracy at identifying intervals. This material reinforces and compliments the skills of the previous lesson on scale degree notation recognition. Terms of this lesson include melodic intervals, harmonic intervals, ascending and descending. Many tips are included.

Keyboard Introduction

The keyboard is an excellent visual (and tactile) tool for learning music theory pitch concepts such as steps, accidentals and intervals. Before learning these concepts, students need to first become familiar with the keyboard generally, such as the grouping of black notes in 2s alternating 3s, letter names of keys, and octaves designations.

Steps and Accidentals on a Piano Keyboard

Topics include whole steps, half steps, flat, sharp, enharmonics, chromatic scale, and step construction of the major scale. Playing the first five notes of the major scale, DO RE MI FA SOL, starting on any key is an important exercise to fully understand steps and keys.

Key Signatures II

Topics include accidentals, placement of accidentals on the staff, key signature accidentals and conventions for their applications to notes played, Accidentals of the major scale, and how to find DO, the tonic, of any key signature. The rule for identifying sharp key signatures and flat key signatures are presented, followed by quizzes and exercises to build speed and proficiency.

The Circle of Fifths

A more thorough understanding of key signatures includes an understanding of the relationship of keys to each other. A major scale built a perfect fifth higher than another will have one more sharp (or one less flat for flat keys) than the other.