Intro to Music Theory 2: The C Major Scale and how to find any other Major scale.

piano scale C major music theory lessons
One Octave of the C major scale

In lesson one, we learned about the Chromatic Scale, Half Steps,and Whole steps. Now, it’s time to learn about the C Major Scale and how to find any other Major Scale. It’s important to remember the definition of a scale:

A specific series or pattern of notes, played in ascending (going up) or descending (going down) order.C scale chart for guitar

Take a look at the charts here for what the C scale looks like on the piano and guitar. Then, watch this video to hear and see what the scale sounds like on the piano. *NOTE*: although the notes are played differently on the guitar, they are the exact same pitches.

How does the major scale work? It uses a specific pattern of whole and half steps.

C major piano scale whole step half step
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Two whole steps, one half step, three whole steps, and one more half step.

Using this formula, you can find ANY major scale on your instrument!

Watch the next few minutes of this video:

Now it’s your turn! Download the PDF and fill in the whole steps and half steps to complete the scales or fill out the form below. Major Scales Worksheet

music, major scales, names of the notes, music theory, worksheet
A worksheet to fill out the names of the notes for five major scales

The Adventures of Ace, Musical Detective.

bass clef treble clef note reading staff fun game music theory
Ace, Musical Detective

Use your knowledge of the notes to crack the code of this musical story!

How it works: Fill in the names of the notes in each box below to spell out the word.Let’s take a look at the section of music labeled “1.” We have three notes, and you need to write down the names of each of these notes and then put them together. Separately they are A, C, and E, but together they spell Ace, which is the name of the detective in this story.

  1. Refer to the chart of lines and spaces for Treble and Bass clef here  to download if you need assistance.

    lines-and-spaces-posterTo use the chart, first identify which clef is in the section you are looking at. Treble clef is squiggly shape on the top, and Bass clef is the curve with two dots on the bottom. These determine which lines and spaces you should look at. Section 1 is Treble clef and the notes are all on spaces, so we need to look at the spaces with the red letters. Notice that from bottom to top, they spell FACE! That’s how we remember those spaces in the Treble Clef. Now, looking back at section 1, notice that the first note is on the second space from the bottom. Come over to this chart and find what note is on the second space. The note you should find is A. The second note is on  the third space, which is is C, and the third note is on the fourth space, which is E.                                                                                        A, C, and E put together spell Ace, which is the name of our musical detective.

    Notice that the other lines and spaces use whole sentences to help you remember their notes. For example, if you have a note that is on the first line of the Bass clef, you’ll find the word “Growling.” That means the note is “G.”

  1.  Click here for a larger version of the story.

  2. For a printable version click here.

Make sure that you use ONLY lowercase letters in the form below.

Good luck! If you need more help understanding how to break the code, don’t hesitate to contact me!

Lead Sheet Major Chord Chart


Here is a chart of all 12 major chords and their inversions. You can download the pdf here: Basic Lead Sheet Major Chords and Inversions

Remember, the three notes in the chord are all played at the same time, and the first note in the chord is the starting note. It will be the lowest note you are playing in the chord, so if you’re using your Right Hand, your thumb will be playing it, and if you’re using your Left Hand, your pinky will be playing it.

You’ll notice that the blue chords are all connected by brackets. That is because they are the two enharmonic versions of the same chord – in other words, it’s the exact same chord but using flats instead of sharps.

You may also notice that some notes have an x next to them instead of a #.

X is the symbol we use for a double sharp.

A double sharp means we sharp the note twice by going up two half steps instead of one – so we’re really going up a whole step.

For example, if you see Fx, that means you’re actually going to play a G note 🙂

Cx = D

Fx = G

You can use this chart whenever you’re not remembering a chord in a song that we’re working on in class. 🙂

Melodic Direction: Little Birch Tree


Melodic Direction

We’re also going to use the Russian Folk Song, Little Birch Tree, to talk about Melodic Direction. Melodic Direction is a fancy term that essentially means how the notes are moving in a song. Take a look at this video to learn about how a melody can move by steps, by leaps, by repeats, and up and down.

Listen to the melody of Little Birch Tree below:


Now take a look at what the different types of melodic direction look and sound like:



Now, listen to the recording again while looking at the notation for the melody of Little Birch Tree. Even if you don’t know how to read music, the names of the notes are there, and you can see how when the melody steps up or down, the notes move by just a little and the note is the alphabet letter before or after the first note. When they repeat, they stay at the same level and have the same note name. When they leap, there is space in between them.

Birch Tree - Melodic Direction

Danielle 🙂



Intro to Music Theory, Part 1: Chromatic Scale, Half Steps, and Whole Steps

Good afternoon! This is the first video in a series that is designed to help my students better understand how the music they play works. It will also help with ear training and sight reading. Here are the main vocabulary words to keep track of:

Chromatic Scale – the series of all the notes, moving up or down by half steps

Half Step – moving from one note to the note right next to it

Whole Step – moving from a note to another note, but skipping just one note in the middle

*Just as a disclaimer, I don’t have super duper recording or video software, but this does get the job done!

After watching this video, take a look at the chart below that is appropriate for your instrument. For guitar and violin, the notes move up in pitch as you move down the fingerboard. Chromatic Scale

Fret Chart for Guitar - Right HandedBeginning Violin Fingerboard Chart


Here is a worksheet to help you recognize whole steps and half steps by sight and by ear. Make sure to hit play on the videos.

Then you can head over to the post on Melodic Direction to learn about how the movements from one note to the other are categorized and what they sound like.