Tag Archives: Music Theory

Composition Teacher, Voice, Piano Lessons

Theory, Composition and More – Lessons with Annabelle Corrigan at Philly Music Lessons

piano teachers, vocal coachWe’re pleased to announce Annabelle Corrigan as the latest addition of teachers at Philly Music Lessons (piano lessons, voice lessons, and studies in music theory & composition). Annabelle lives in the ‘hood (Fishtown, that is), right down the street! She’s soon to join the ranks of Temple alumni (alongside many of our teachers), as she will be graduating in May from the Boyer College of Music with a degree in theory and composition. Annabelle also has her associates in piano performance and has studied voice as well. For students looking to learn piano or voice, or for those who want to explore music theory, Annabelle is a great guide – especially for those with an interest in songwriting or who want a deeper understanding of music (theory). Annabelle spends a lot of time composing, and her experience studying at a high level enables her to work with a wide variety of interests. Her own interests have taken her from opera, to classical, to jazz, film scores, and more. Schedule a Lesson

When did you begin playing [instrument], and why?:
I’ve been singing since I was about 8. I began to play piano when I was a teenager, because many of my classmates were really good at piano or some other instrument, and it inspired me to be like them.

What are your personal goals as a musician?:
I love opera, and my goal is to compose my own. I plan on working closely with the librettist, since I’m a poet as well.

Do you have a memory of a time when a musical concept or technique really clicked?  Something you’ll remember forever?:
I never knew what perfect pitch was until I was much older. I also didn’t realize I had perfect pitch until a professor at an audition made me aware of my ability. Since then, it’s become a wonderful tool.

What is your favorite piece of advice from one of your past (or current) teachers?:
Being compassionate with a student will allow them to fearlessly open up to their potentials.

What was your most challenging moment learning an instrument?:
In the winter months, my body feels tight and cold, and sometimes this causes tension during playing or singing. That’s why to me it’s important to work in a warm environment, do proper daily stretching, and have a healthy lifestyle (good diet, exercise, proper sleep).

What is your biggest musical achievement?:
Composing a fugue.

Favorite thing about teaching?:
I love sharing my passion for music with other human beings.

What is a piece of advice you would like to share with anyone learning music?:
If at first you don’t succeed, try try again. Music is meant to be fun, enjoy it!

Personal music projects: i.e. bands, groups, shows, recording, etc. (if any):
I am in the process of composing a work for my sister’s wedding. Additional compositions underway, member of American Composer’s Forum, member of Contemplum (composition club at Temple), participant in the Oticons Film Score Contest.


Annabelle Corrigan’s Bio
I have always been involved with sounds and music from an early age. My greatest forte is my ability to hear. When I was young, people thought I might become a voice actor, because my skill at replicating voices was quite apparent. Still, I loved to sing and had been regularly involved in choirs. I dabbled in violin in the fifth grade, but I didn’t feel a “click.” Without despairing, I tried my luck with piano and felt instantly in sync. I knew this was the right instrument for me. During my piano studies, I continued to work on my voice. In addition, I studied the workings of a sound board, and was head sound chief at my high school. At the college level, I began to pursue composition, while still continuing with my piano and vocal studies. I hold an associate degree in music, piano performance, and I am currently working towards my degree in music theory and composition. I will be graduating from Temple University this coming May. I have been teaching music since 2006 and have worked with a wide range of ages and various group sizes. My joy is working with people in a field that I’m passionate about. My interests include music (jazz, classical, opera, new age), ballet, composition, yoga, meditation, going to the gym, hiking and camping, scuba-diving, sailing,Traditional Chinese Medicine and acupuncture, cooking and baking, film-editing, sound engineering, poetry, reading good books, building websites, and watching documentaries.

Why Learning Piano Can Help You Advance as a Guitarist

7442374So you’ve been playing guitar for a couple years now, and you’ve got all the basic techniques down.  Bar chords are no problem, you can solo with the major and minor pentatonic and blues scales, and maybe you’ve even gotten into learning some 7th chords or rootless voicings.  Now the question becomes: do you know what you’re playing and why you’re playing it?  This is where music theory comes into the equation.  If you want to better understand chord makeups, chord progressions, and what scales and melodies can work over them, then you have to start to understand at least the basics of music theory.  Applying what you learn from theory can open up new worlds of possibility in your playing and composing, and can really help spur on some periods of creativity and inventiveness.  However, tackling these concepts immediately on the guitar can prove a daunting task because of how string instruments are constructed, so I recommend learning some basic piano.

But I’m a guitar player you say!  Why should I learn piano?  Well, piano really is the ultimate theory and composition instrument because of how logically it’s laid out for you.  (Disclaimer: If you haven’t done so already, you’re going to want to learn how to read notes on the guitar so that translating what you learn on the piano to the guitar won’t be so difficult.  I personally recommend starting with Mel Bay’s Modern Guitar Method: Grade 1, and then moving onto Berklee Press: A Modern Method for Guitar, Volume 1.) Even getting through just the first half of one of these books with a good teacher should at least give you the foundation to figure out how to translate notes from the piano to the guitar.  For example, you might see something as follows when you first begin learning theory, and if you don’t know the notes on the treble clef it’s almost impossible to understand.  It explains the order of half steps and whole steps which constitutes the major scale in any key.



Continue reading to find out why the piano is such a great tool for learning music theory