As a musician and a parent to a five-year-old girl who is learning how to play the piano, I find music theory is not as easy as one would think. I am a Guzheng player (a Chinese string instrument similar to a harp) and have been playing for six years. My little one has been learning how to play the piano with a local teacher. As a musician, the sole responsibility of getting her to practice daily and helping her with revision is on me, as my husband said he has no knowledge about music. After talking to other families, I noticed that this situation is quite common – that many parents and families have no music knowledge and are struggling to support their children who want to learn music. Also, because of COVID, more adults are now staying home and starting new hobbies. Some of them are interested in learning how to play the piano or guitar. But there are so many resources online. It is easy to feel lost about how and where to begin. Therefore, I had a vision of offering free basic music theory lessons to parents and adults to support their music learning journey. I believe music learning is beneficial to mental health and should be made easily accessible to everyone.

The course included four lessons that covered a variety of foundational topics such as clefs, notes, accidentals, major scales, and rests. Participants were also given homework to solidify their learning. Four participants joined the group online course while 1 participant participated on his own due to schedule conflict. They all began with no music knowledge (not even able to point out the keys on the piano) to being able to play simple songs such as Jingle Bell at the end. The change was huge.

The participants and I want to thank the Comox Valley Community Foundation for funding this course. We also were fortunate to get additional sponsorship from the local piano teachers to support participants who want to learn further. As one of the participants shared with me “Thank you so much for a wonderful music theory course. I have learned so much and am able to help my nieces out with music theory as well (including other adults with kids). I really liked the structure and length of class. The email summaries at the end of the lessons were great as well as the supporting documents. I took the email summaries and copied them into word and now have a little music theory booklet (with the other print outs and my homework) to get me started. The homework was great as it tied the lesson together and gave me something concrete to do as well as apply what I had learned. I really appreciate you and the Comox Valley Community Foundation supporting and putting on such a course. Thank you, thank you, thank you!”

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