When I was learning guitar this thing called the modes kept popping up. It became something I tried to understand repeatedly. I asked a couple of different teachers and nothing clicked until I met John Banks. John taught me when I had decided to go to school for music. Last minute was an understatement…I decided that’s what I would do and I put my mind to it.

While I studied under John he explained a fundamental concept of music theory – how to stack thirds to build chords (and recognize the modes inside of them). Chords and modes are related – to fully understand them you need to intellectualize the intervals of the mode and the extensions of the chord.

Another resource that helped me is High Country Guitar. High Country guitar allowed me to jam along with tracks. This put the sound of the mode in my head and helped me intuitively learn how to play it by ear. The website design has changed, but I plan to draw from it, and from what John taught me to teach the modes to guitarists.

The site will be called Diatonic Chordal/Modal Theory. It will consist of multiple websites that each teach a section of the course. The course will have a main site, with forums. When you click on a user’s name you will be able to see the utilities (quizzes) that they have completed. Each utility will have a leader board with the top ten usernames for that exercise.

Utilities will consist of written or aural exercises, and some of those exercises will require a guitar. So for example there could be a utility that tests a student on their ability to identify the root note of a jam track. There could be a utility to spell seventh chords or modes. And there could be a utility to play along with a mode and identify its modality or tonality.

For languages I’m using PHP, mainly because I sort of know it. I’m licensing all the code under GPLv2┬áso nobody steals my amateur PHP scripts :). I’ve wanted to build a music education website – Unademy.com for some time now. And I’ve planned everything out and I’ve just realized that I can build most of my ideas now. When I create them I can try to get feedback which is very valuable.

The site doesn’t have to be written in the hippest technologies of the day. The goal is to try to develop something interactive that allows musicians to learn. And to take feedback from people who use it on how it could be better.

The goal will be to mix theory with playing.



Published by burnedfaceless

Brian Abbott is a student at Georgia Southern University's Armstrong campus in Savannah, GA.

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