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First Class: Music Theory 1301

Robert Crabtree Open Class

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#1 Guest_Robert Crabtree_*

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Posted 13 August 2013 - 09:01 PM

Going back to basics was always fun for the music majors, Robert lied to himself. Learn an instrument for 6-8 years in grade school along with music fundamentals only to have to live through it all again for the sake of a degree plan. It was worse for pianists who breathed knowledge of chords and their progression from their finger tips, along with the fact that they still had to take a beginner piano class regardless if it was already their primary instrument coming into the school of music. Oh the ways the school siphoned money out of you like nurses in a blood lab.


However, there were always those who were taking theory as a music minor and likely needed the basics. Also, vocalists. Find him a vocalist who knew the fundamentals of music coming in and Robert would have good news for the accompanists in the building. There were also those rare few who took the class for the fun of it, a pleasant circumstance in the eyes of Dr. Crabtree. So long as you worked as hard as the music majors, he was happy with anyone.


The professor was already in class when all the students walked in. Robert sat behind a desk wearing a plain white dress shirt and dark blue tie. A beige sport coat hung on the chair behind him. His eyes darted between the students walking in and the roster in his hand. The classroom was relatively small, at least compared to your standard lecture hall. Its size was not unlike a typical high school classroom, able to fit 20-30 students comfortably. Rather than desks there were three long tables that stretched across the middle of the room, ten chairs behind each. 


Robert fixed his notes and stack of syllabus for the class as the students piled in. Once he felt there were enough to start, he cleared his throat and rose to the front of the room.


"Hello all, my name is Dr. Robert Crabtree and this is Music Theory 1301. We will be continuing from Music Fundamentals and into the more complex aspects of music composition as a whole. Well, at least for you non-pianists. They should know most of what we're going to cover, and for those of you who play piano and don't know about chord progression, well, god help your applied professor."


Chuckling at his little quip, Robert passed around a stack of syllabi for each table.


"For the first two weeks we'll be reviewing what you should have learned in Fundamentals, and then we'll get into inversions, the melodic line, chord progression and sequences; all that good stuff. So, I already introduced myself and while I'm sure you all already did the same in your other classes all day I need you to repeat your name; hobbies; favorite romance. Preferably I'd like for you all to say your name and what instrument you play if any, as well as anything else we might find enjoyable."


He nodded to the first student to begin their introduction and watched as it went down the line, nodding his head and smiling after each one was done.

#2 Guest_Aiden Berkeley_*

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Posted 14 August 2013 - 01:59 AM

Aiden walked into the classroom and looked around for somewhere to sit. The class had three long tables, and he set his book bag down at the end of the middle one. He glanced up at the professor and settled into his seat. Unfortunately, this class was a requirement, and he hadn't gotten around to taking it during his freshman year.


So that meant he was stuck in a classroom, learning the basics of music composition. Again. He felt a little frustrated, since he was already an accomplished song-writer and musician, but whatever. At least it would be easy. He could even sleep through the classes - if his sense of general courtesy for the professor would let him. And he enjoyed music and music theory, so it might be beneficial to see if there were any stray bits of knowledge that he could pick up. Every teacher taught things a little differently, after all.


Aiden settled into his seat and listened to to professor - apparently Dr. Crabtree - as he gave the course introduction. All of it sounded like familiar territory. Familiar and comfortable. Maybe this wouldn't be all bad. At least Crabtree seemed decent. So far. Aiden's opinion could be proven wrong, but first impressions had to count for something, right? He pulled on the sleeves of his baseball tee, which obscured a good portion of his tattoo sleeves. He had opted for a pair of dark wash skinnies, his white-with-blue-sleeves baseball tee, and a pair of Vans sneakers today.


Aiden cleared his throat as his turn came about for introductions. "Um," he said with a half smile as he leaned forward onto the table. "I'm Aiden Berkeley. My hobbies... man, uh, I like playing guitar. Like, playing and writing and stuff. I also really like coffee." He thought for a moment, trying to remember any other hobbies. He really didn't have time for much else, since most of his down-time from working as a barista at Midnight Serenade was spent either on homework (mostly music-related) or music itself, be it playing his favorites or composition. "My favorite romance? Oh man... um... It'd probably have to be Breakfast at Tiffany's... That's a romance, right?" He squinted, hoping for confirmation. "If it's not, I'm a big fan of Titanic." He shrugged. "Uh, and I play guitar, piano, and bass." He nodded, then remembered the last request. "Oh. And I really like writing music. And doing latte art. I work at a coffee shop," he informed the class. 


He had probably come across as just another wannabe guitar hero who fronts a small local band and plays gigs at bars. Actually, in a way, that was exactly what he was. But his dreams stretched far beyond that. He was an excellent guitar-player, and had played piano since he was six years old. He had the experience, the know-how, the drive, and the passion for his music, and he hoped his professor would recognize that and not write him off as "just another guitar player". 

#3 Guest_Robert Crabtree_*

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Posted 18 August 2013 - 10:10 PM

"You're a colorful one," Dr. Crabtree. It was not an insult, but rather a clear observation mixed with a minor quip. While first impressions were important to the professor, he cared not for what students did outside of the classroom so long as they got their work done and performed well. He'd only tell Aiden to cover up if he expected to perform on the school's stage for music convocation or an actual concert. 


"A coffee shop, eh? I don't suppose we can work out a deal. You can go far if the professor owes you a favor or two." he winked at the class. Though it'd never happen, Dr. Crabtree was not above accepting gifts, but he knew bribery when he saw it as well. Although it would be a first for him if a student actually traded lattes for good grades. Robert wasn't sure if he could resist such a trade off. 


He laughed a bit when Aiden actually gave away his favorite romances, not sure if on purpose or perhaps believing that Dr. Crabtree was serious about it. Nonetheless he was participating well enough. The number of instruments was impressive, more importantly the piano and guitar. Dr. Crabtree was sure Aiden would have an easy time with most of the assignments in class, particularly the compositions they'd have to write eventually.


"Very good and would that be bass guitar or the double bass? We could always use more of the latter in orchestra."



One by one they all got their introductions out of the way, Dr. Crabtree pleased that he had a good crop this year. After all was said, he stood up from the edge of his desk and reintroduced himself, "Thank you, once again I'm Dr. Robert Crabtree, I'll be your professor for this class, Sightsinging, and am the director of the violin studio here in the School of Music. Now I won't be going over the syllabus with you all, at least the portion about class attendance and other school rules. You guys should already know or be aware of them and I really just don't want to bother repeating what everyone else has probably said. You can find my contact information there on the front page along with my office hours."


He went up to the white board and opened up a black marker where Robert tried to draw a big circle. It was close enough. After writing a series of letters, key signatures, outside and around the circle he turned around to face the class before closing the marker.


"We'll have our first official lecture the next time we meet, but for now I just want to go over a refresher to see how much you remembered from last semester. So, an easy start," he said pointing over to the 'C' at the top of the diagram, "Can anyone tell me what is the relative minor to C major?"

#4 Guest_Aiden Berkeley_*

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Posted 19 August 2013 - 03:58 PM

Aiden felt his ears warm and he sunk down a little bit into his chair when he realized the professor had been joking around about some of his informational requests. Oh well. At least he had come across as entertaining, and that would probably be helpful in being memorable. Aiden had already learned how valuable it was for your professors to remember you. Being just another face in a classroom was not the way to excel.


He did chuckle at Crabtree's comment about the coffee bribery. He winked back with a grin. "I'll see what I can do."


"Um, bass guitar. I mostly play metal." He had tried the upright bass and hadn't really enjoyed the style at all. He enjoyed fancy fingerwork up and down the fretboard. He loved songs where the bassline practically carried the melody. Though he was first and foremost a lead guitarist (with a love of crazy, screaming solos and riffs), he had to appreciate the bass.


He smiled and sat back up though, when he saw Crabtree get into the familiar area of music. Aiden lived and breathed music, and that made taking a beginners' class okay with him. At least it was better than taking more math credits.


He considered answering the professor's question - obviously it was A minor. But he had never been the type to try to stand out in front of all his peers. No, better to leave the question-answering to some oozing-self-confidence pianist. Not that he was... okay, yeah, Aiden was self-conscious and figured he had already caused himself to stick out plenty for today with his literal answers and his confession of being a metalhead.

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