Music Theory: Key Tenets for Beginners to Learn

In part one of this two-part blog series, we looked at some of the simplest reasons why music theory is vital for anyone learning an instrument. Music theory, which refers to studying practices and foundational elements of music, is one of the single best ways to establish a strong musical baseline as you become familiar with any instrument. 

At Gwinnett Music, music theory is a key tenet of all our music lessons, from piano and voice lessons to violin lessons, guitar lessons and many other options. We left off in part one by discussing scales, one of the most important concepts in music theory; in today's part two of our series, let's look at some of the other most important elements of music theory.

Key Signatures

Key signatures are closely related to scales, and are the names of major scales in a particular key. For example, if you are playing in C major, which is the easiest key for beginners to play in (and therefore a good place to start), your scale pattern will be "C-D-E-F-G-A-B", and each letter represents what we call a "fret" or the note played on a particular string of the guitar.

With notes and frequencies, it can be difficult for beginners to mentally keep track of all those scales; a key signature helps with that. For example, if you are playing in G Major, your scale will be "G-A-B-C-D-E-F♯" (easily remembered as "G-A-B", or "two black notes and two white notes").


Another vital concept, one that applies across numerous instruments, is chords. A chord is simply two or more notes played together, and there are an endless number of permutations. For example, a C major chord consists of the notes C-E-G.

As you might imagine, this can quickly become overwhelming for beginners; however, at Gwinnett Music, we focus on teaching chords that are the most commonly used in music. This helps you not only progress more quickly, but also make connections between the chords we learn and other concepts like scales and key signatures.


Finally, intervals refer to the relationship between two notes, and are measured by how far apart they are on the scale. For example, if you're playing in C major and you play the note C followed by the note G, that's called a "fifth", because it's five notes up from C on the scale (C-D-E-F-G). 

Intervals make it much easier for many music students to remember scales, chords and key signatures.

At Gwinnett Music, we believe in providing everything you need to succeed as a musician; music theory is one of the most important tools for learning any instrument and we make it easy for students to learn these concepts. Whether you're taking piano lessons or violin lessons, your teacher can put these building blocks into place early in the process and you can build on them consistently moving forward.

For more on this, or to learn about any of our music lessons, contact the pros at Gwinnett Music today.

“Music in itself is healing. It’s an explosive expression of humanity. It’s something we are all touched by. No matter what culture we’re from, everyone loves music.”
- Billy Joel
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