It is a whole different world to study music on your own as opposed to taking a prescribed course of study in a college setting. It is easy to simply focus on the art of performing the music and never go beyond that.
Lucky for me my teacher loves music theory! Once I was finally ready to explore it, we have worked together. Sometimes I would like to put my flute away and focus entirely on theory for a while.
This year the opportunity to participate in the Certificate of Merit program as an adult student has pushed me to a more focused study. When I realized an element of it is testing on ear training, I began to freak out a bit. This brought about a discussion of focusing on scales as "Do-Re-Mi" -- I was resistant. I didn't see a need to apply silly names instead of note names, (C-D-E..).
Enter a new app called EarBeater. As soon as I discovered this app, I was thrilled. Here was a way to work on ear training, anywhere, anytime I have a few minutes. Here I can create tests that narrow in on exactly the things I need to work on. And here is where I changed my mind about "Do-Re-Mi."
I started working scale identification: Major (Dorian), Natural minor (Aolian), Melodic Minor and Harmonic Minor. I quickly realized I needed to focus on the intervals between the notes, or rather, the whole and half steps and where they are in the scale.
This led me to make a little card which gives me a visual representation. With the focus on the relationships of the notes, hearing all different keys of scales...the only answer was "Do-Re-Mi"... And now I see why my teacher advised me to explore it.
Here's my card:
The vertical lines are the space of a note.
Two note names within a space indicate half steps.
Above the lines are "W" and "h" - indicating the scale degrees. For example, a Major scale is W, W, h, W, W, W, h
By looking at the card it is easy to see that Major and Melodic minor will sound the same except for the half step between Re and Mi. Also, Melodic minor and Natural minor are the same except for the half step between So and La, and the whole step between Ti and Do.
A friend of mine just showed me another trick for learning to use Do-Re-Mi.. Curwen hand signs...cool. The senses you can involve in learning, the better!