Until now, if you wanted to learn to play an instrument, you had to choose – learn to read music or play by ear.

With Garage Band Theory you’ll learn the best of both!

Most of what you find on sales racks are method books for specific instruments… guitar, piano, banjo, etc.

Garage Band Theory covers nearly all instruments, and merges playing by ear with traditional theory. It’s an all-inclusive guide that’s easy to understand and easy to use.

Written by a guy who has taught and played professionally for 30 years, it’s filled with illustrations (standard notation and tablature), practical exercises, chapter quizzes, and inspiring quotes, as well as links to artists, and free downloads. There’s a GBT YouTube channel with videos of original artists playing the songs you’ll find in Garage Band Theory.

Here is a recap of what you get with GBT:

GBT does not use the traditional sequence for the introduction to theory. It was written with the specific goal of getting to ‘how to play by ear‘ as quickly as possible and the traditional presentation of basic theory is not intended to address that approach to playing music.

Many adult students express the desire to learn “a little theory.” There are lots of people with fairly advanced physical skills who have virtually no corresponding vocabulary. Often, students have questions, but they don’t have enough vocabulary to phrase them. If they do manage to articulate the question, there is often not enough shared vocabulary to answer. An expanded musical vocabulary will allow students to ask the questions they want answers to. GBT assumes no previous music knowledge so lessons are useful for readers at all levels.

The GBT YouTube Channel has videos with the original artists playing the songs used as examples in GBT. GBT is all about learning to play by ear, and to do that you have to listen to the music. There are more than 400 videos on the GBT You Tube channel.

Did you ever wish you could actually hear the notes on a page of music? With Garage Band Theory … YOU CAN! Download the free software and examples and you can hear them play, speed them up, slow them down, play along at your own pace.

Reading music is different than playing written music. With GBT examples + free software you enhance reading skills without having to actually play an instrument.

Multi-genre approach – Musical examples that include popular tunes, jazz, classical, folk, Celtic, and bluegrass provide lots of variety, which makes you more musically well rounded.

Chapter quizzes and an answer key allow students to measure progress – great for families learning in a home-school environment.

Tablature for guitar, mandolin, banjo as well as standard notation for keyboards, brass and woodwinds – If you don’t know standard notation, tablature is the way to go. It is a picture of the fretboard, and a single picture is worth a thousand standard notes if you can’t read them!

Two sets of tabs for guitar – It can be frustrating when books show a song or a riff in only one location on the neck, because it can sometimes take quite a while to figure it out in a different key. In most cases GBT supplies two different guitar tabs.

Great for Teachers! GBT is a great supplement for existing lesson plans. It can be used as a stand-alone book on which to base a year’s worth of lessons, but if you already have a program that works, having students work through the book on their own will accelerate their progress.

Beginner to advanced lessons, so you can use it to learn and to teach for a long time. Once someone understands the simplest chords, it’s a very short step to the advanced concepts. A beginning student can easily comprehend advanced ideas, even if they can’t play them.

Keyboard illustrations – A keyboard is the best visual reference when explaining many concepts, so GBT includes plenty of them.

Hundreds of standard notation illustrations – Most music instruction books are produced by corporate publishers interested in keeping printing costs at a minimum, so they provide a minimum number of examples. As a student and a teacher I realized that it often takes two or three different examples of a concept before it’s really clear, so GBT is chock full of ‘em.

Free downloads of traditional tunes. I’ve recorded several of the songs included in GBT, and most of them are available for free downloading.

Easy to use – The text and examples are large, so you can set the book down and sit or stand at a comfortable distance while holding an instrument.

Links to artists mentioned in GBT. I’ve been inspired by lots of musicians, philosophers, authors and friends and GBT contains links to nearly 200 websites and Wikipedia pages.

Makes your current library accessible – Lots of people have purchased method and theory books over the years, but reach a point where they’re unable to continue, usually due to lack of vocabulary. GBT will provide definitions and examples to make that existing library useful.

Humor makes learning more enjoyable. The author is not a professor; he’s a honky-tonk musician and a river-rat who has been a compulsive reader since he was five. The style is friendly and conversational, with enough light humor to make it an enjoyable read.

History makes learning more interesting and engaging. Until I began digging for examples, I didn’t know Mozart composed an amazing set of variations on “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star.” Everyone knows this tune, so it’s great for shared understanding worldwide. I was fascinated by the background of music like Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata, traditional songs like “Pop Goes The Weasel”, “Take Me Out To The Ballgame” and “Silent Night” and you’ll find stories about these songs and many others in GBT.

Valuable reference resource – Most instructional books or series want you to think that they somehow have all the answers, and frankly, that’s impossible — music is too vast a topic. There are several instructional books I found useful and a great value, so I recommend them.

Extensive index – Find exactly what you are looking for fast (especially important for non-linear learners).

This book was written specifically to explain a process of playing by ear, and how to apply that to jamming with your friends and family. I was surprised to discover that the only way to do that was to use traditional music theory.

Clearly, there is really no product in the marketplace that compares to Garage Band Theory! There are books that offer traditional theory, and even books on play-by-ear approaches, but none that are geared towards multi-instrument, multi-genre use, offer both modern and traditional examples, encourage the reader and are written in a light hearted, humorous and engaging style.