Melody: Conclusion

Feeling overloaded with information? It doesn’t take long to read these melody chapters, but it does take a long time to understand and learn the skills described here. It probably took me about eight years. When I say, for example, “If you want to be fluent on your instrument, I would suggest learning all twelve major scales and practicing them until they are easy (see Ear Training Exercise 3 for how to practice scales),” I really mean it. This may take a few months of practicing. It is difficult to become fluent on an instrument. It takes hard work.

I want to again stress the importance of improvising. Throughout this chapter, I often felt tempted to say “Now, improvise using what you just learned” after every new concept. Learning what tones and semitones are? Improvise using tones and semitones. Learning what the minor scale is? Improvise using the minor scale. I decided not to litter the chapter with sentences telling you to improvise, but that doesn’t make it any less important. Always improvise when you learn something new. It’s like learning new words. What do you do when you learn a new word? You put it in a sentence. You express yourself using that new concept. That’s what improvising is.

There was a lot of information in these chapters, but I left a few things out. For instance, I didn’t teach you how to read music. You may already know how, and if you don’t, there are plenty of books and online resources to help you.

I also didn’t tackle the question “how do I create a good melody?”. What makes a melody sound “good” is somewhat mysterious, and “good” might mean different things to different people. These chapters are about how to understand the melodies you hear in your imagination and translate them into notes on an instrument, and I believe this skill will help you create melodies that sound good to you. You won’t get confused about melodies, you won’t forget them as easily, you’ll be able to play them without effort, you’ll learn new melodies faster, and I believe you’ll start to hear more melodies in your imagination. Those melodies will be uniquely yours. The world needs your melodies.