Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
How much previous knowledge do I need?
The lessons are designed for complete novices at music theory. However, they have been designed with the typical student imagined to be an adult female who is currently singing with an a-capella group (specifically women's barbershop). It is expected that she regularly see lots of music - but maybe just reads the lyrics but would like to understand more.
How long does each lesson take?
The sample lesson is good indicator for the length of the lesson. If you already "kind of" know most of it, the lessons may only take 5 minutes. If it is all really new to you, you may need more practise and may want to come back several times during the week to practise more. The lessons gradually get more difficult so depending on your existing knowledge, you may find the later lessons take longer.
I'm a singer - why do I have to learn the piano keys?
Although, you should always learn your new music with the learning recordings that include your director's interpretation as well as timing, notes and words, sometimes there are a few notes you haven't quite got right and it is very useful to be able to play them on a keyboard. Also learning where the notes are on a piano can help explain other terms like scales, tones and semitones.
What kind of computer do I need?
You need to be able to hear sound for the lessons. The emails you are sent are just plain text - and will include a link to the webpage with the lesson. If you can see and hear the sample lesson you should be fine. You will be prompted to download Adobe Flash player (free) if you don't have the latest version.
Why can't I see all the lessons now?
There is a lot of content in the lessons - games to play to test yourself, fun illustrations and so on. You won't have time to look at all the content in one sitting. And if you look at it all now - you won't have a surprise each week to look forward to.
Also memory experts say that learning is a gradual process. After learning something, you usually gradually forget it. If you are reminded about the lesson a little later however, especially if you are reminded at intervals after first learning the lesson, you will forget it less easily.
However, musical leaders can check if they want to recommend this to their choruses by looking at the preview.
I think I know most of this and I just want to see one or two lessons. Can I see all the lessons?
If you can answer the questions on the preview page, you can see all the content - otherwise, just sign up for the lessons. It will be a good revision of content you know and you may learn some interesting things along the way...
Is it really free?
Yes, it is really free - but if you are enjoying it, donations of $10 per person would be much appreciated. (This pays for the website and emailing service as well as software and books and if there is any left, it goes towards my costs for travelling to Sweet Adelines regional and international conventions)
The examples are all for female voices, is there a men's version?
Not at the moment - but maybe if I get lots of donations, I'll write one in the future.
I've never heard of a a half-note / minim?
In Australian/New Zealand/British English this note is called a minim. Personally I had never heard it called a half-note until I visited America. Americans on the other hand have probably never heard the word minim. The same is true for other note lengths. I have used both languages on this website in the hope that both communities will get some cultural understanding!! You can see a full list of the differences between US and other English on the language issues page
Can you see what score I get?
No, once you have loaded the webpage, you can play the games as many times as you want and I have no idea what score you get or how many times you play.
How do I see previous lessons?
Each week you will get the link to that week's lesson. However, all previous lessons are also accessible from the menu on the left and you are very much encouraged to repeat the previous lessons to make sure you haven't forgotten them. There is also a lesson index listed which will give you a description of the content of each lesson.
After the end of the 12-week course the links in the emails may no longer work - but all content is available on the 'course preview' page - and by the end of the course you should know the answers to the questions that allow you to see those pages!
Who are you?
My name is Roz Beste. I work in IT - but I was unemployed for a few weeks and I thought I'd use the time to work on this website between applying for jobs.
I currently sing with Brindabella Chorus in Canberra, Australia.
Previously, when I lived in Melbourne, I sang with the Melbourne Chorus and Southern Sounds Chorus. In Oct 2010 I sang as a dual member of Endeavour Harmony Chorus from Sydney (Four hours drive away) at the Sweet Adelines International Convention in Seattle. And before all that, when I lived in Hong Kong, I sang with Kassia choir.
Why did you set up this course?
I noticed that there are always people in every singing group who cannot read music. I have lots of sympathy for them as I also find it pretty difficult to learn (I'm no expert - but I have helped others learn music theory at singing groups I have sung with) so I wanted to help out.
I'm also hoping that there may be enough donations left over (after paying for the website and emailing service) to help me travel to Sweet Adelines conventions where I can improve my own music theory knowledge and maybe write some more lessons.
I found a mistake?
Mistakes happen! Please let me know if you find any errors on the site - typos or otherwise. I'll happily correct them. You can fill in the form on the contact page
Can I copy an illustration, flash game or lesson?
No, not without permission! All content on this website is copyright. If you wish to use something, please contact me, I may be happy to let you use it (probably for a donation!)