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 lessons may only take 5 minutes if you already know some theory. If it is all really new to you, you may need more practise and may want to come back several times 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. At the moment most of the games are written in Flash which does not run on iPhones and iPads (the lessons were written before they became popular) but I'm slowly working on converting them to HTML5 which will run on those devices.

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 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 mostly 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

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 Northern Beaches Chorus in Sydney, Australia.

I have lived in various cities since I joined Sweet Adelines in 2005. In Melbourne, I sang with the Melbourne Chorus and Southern Sounds Chorus. In Canberra, I sang with Brindabella Chorus and Canberra Harmony 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 website?

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 also wanted to improve my technical knowledge with website and I thought this would be a good way to learn.

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!)

I don't have time to read all this at once - Can you send me an email each week with a link to one of the lessons?

Sure, you can sign up below. There is a lot of content in the lessons - games to play to test yourself, fun illustrations and so on. If you don't have time to look at all the content in one sitting, you can sign up to get one email a week for 12 weeks with a lesson per week.

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.

Sign Up for weekly emails

Originally this course was delivered by weekly emails which contain a link to the current lesson (and previous lessons). You can still have an email once per week with a link to the next lesson if you want.

You can unsubscribe at any time and it's FREE (Donations appreciated).