Understanding the Formula of Music
Learn how music really works!
Can you hear music? If your answer is no...you can learn!
"Whenever I hear a new song on the radio, I already know how to play it the moment I hear it!" Its as easy as watching TV! Music is as simple as first grade math, but a lot more fun! Sounds magic—but the truth is, all good musicians can do that! And so can you, after we've shown you what to listen for.
Watching this video will make you musically enlightened! Most of us start by taking a few lessons on an instrument, or by trying to figure out how to play on our own. You will gain an ear for harmony & melody, plus knowledge of the mechanics, as well as the language of musical terms. Everything is laid out in the most logical order, with the easiest examples to practice on. The best thing about it is that its so much fun, you'll forget you are studying!
Be that guy who everyone thinks is a natural-born talent! Now you can learn on your own without being at the mercy of teachers & books. You'll have music in you coming out your ears!
Learn ear training, the Nashville Numbering System, Perfect Pitch, history of the formula, voicing, how to figure out the chords to any song, how to recognize intervals, tempered scale, circles of 4ths & 5ths, and much more!
It will give you the understanding that the pros have! Its really just 4 years of college music theory condensed down into 2-hours of just watching TV. Find out why those great musicians are so talented and join em yourself! Its not such a mystery if you know what you are doing. Split screen close ups & graphics put it right in your lap!
No matter what instrument you are learning, this video WILL HELP!
Phil Lloyd’s review in the August, 1998 issue of American Harmonica! If you’re looking for a quick and dirty method to make the most progress on your instrument, one of the best things you could do is watch the video Understanding the Formula of Music, by Dan Huckabee of Musician’s Workshop. Most musicians just want to play songs. They don’t want to learn a bunch of theory that has no immediate practical application. That’s where Dan comes in. He’s put together this two-hour video that explains how music works in layman’s terms. You don’t need the Pocket Music Dictionary to figure out what he’s talking about. He explains and demonstrates everything. All you have to do is pay attention. If you’ve been playing music for a while, or working in a band, you may know some of this stuff included in Understanding the Formula of Music, but chances are you don’t know all you really need to know, or how the various parts relate to each other. While the video is designed for the musical novice, there are several points during the program that could prove useful even to the musician who already understands the formula of music. It could prove useful to teachers who are seeking some ideas of how to tie everything together for their students. Keep in mind that once you buy the video you are allowed to watch it more than once. This is not like a cram course, where you have to break your back trying to absorb all this material and then face a tough exam the next day. It’s one of those videos you might want to watch all the way through and then come back to it a week later, after playing out or practicing or woodshedding. The idea is for the musician to know enough about how music works to be out of the dark. To be good at your instrument, you don’t need four years of college theory: “Too much theory can take all the flavor and personality out of your style,” Dan says. He offers the facts, the basics with none of the time-consuming filler. Dan recommends that the budding musician or even the veteran get an inexpensive keyboard, because the keyboard is the best instrument to illustrate patterns of music. The keyboard is a form of musical diagram itself. That’s because-regardless of what instrument you play-you need to know about other instruments for harmony. Dan also demonstrates how music theory works on guitar, another chord instrument. He covers the major scale and explains how it relates to the Nashville Numbering System, which is also used in blues and pop music recording studios. Dan explains how to build a major scale. Then he shows how-once you listen to it a few times-you will have it embedded in your mind’s ear. The major scale is the basis for all the other scales and modes, most notably the blues scale and pentatonic scale, used in blues and jazz, as well as pop configurations. Dan then gets into various chords and how the chords are built from the scale. Obviously, not all of this will be of equal importance to every player, but it makes it easier to learn to recognize the chords that apply to your playing. He focuses on the three chords that most blues players know as the I, IV and V chords (tonic, subdominant and dominant) which are the major part of the Nashville Numbering System. As Dan points out, “It doesn’t matter what style of music you play because most of your music has only three chords in it. Most songs in the world are really simple. Musical snobs make fun of the I-IV-V songs: “Oh, that’s just a three-chord song . . .” “Don’t be affected by peer pressure. You could be a professional musician and do very advanced things and never play anything but I-IV-V songs.” During the course of the video, you can learn quite a few songs. But most of the songs are used to illustrate a point about a chord change or idea. If you can identify a concept with a familiar song, you are likely to remember that concept. For the novices, this video emphasizes ear training: learning to listen so you know what you are hearing. Knowing what it is, you can play it right back on your own instrument after you hear it with a little practice. The use of split-screen and graphics make it easy to understand what Dan is talking about. A textbook is planned for release in the not too distant future to enhance and further illuminate the material covered in the video. This would make an excellent video even better. Whether or not you went to music school, there is always something to learn about music and the harmonica. And somehow, knowing more about one always makes it easier to work on the other. There are a number of ways to learn stuff. Trial and Error is real popular. But the problem with enrolling in a seminar of T and E 101 taught by yourself is that you don’t know whether you are majoring in the Error or the Trial. Let’s face it. There comes a time when even the guys who went into rocket science have to go outside themselves. The point is-as much as we like to protest that we know everything-there comes a time when we have to seek out the expertise of someone else. Remember, it’s not how much you know that counts, but that you know where to look to find what you want or need to know. –Phil Lloyd
Banjo Newsletter January 2001 Review by Bob Piekiel Dan Huckabee's video “Understanding The Formula of Music (Makes It So Easy),” is unlike virtually all other instructional videos on the market. Today, one can purchase dozens of excellent banjo instructional videos which show basic rolls, important licks, song vocabularies, trademark techniques, etc., but there is little discussion of how the sounds of various notes can be combined to form music. To anyone who has ever asked, “How did you know that song was going to the C chord there?” “How can you hear a song for the first time and then pay it right away?” “How do you know how to get all the right chords in a song in a completely different key from where you learned it?”, I would recommend giving this video a try. Dan begins by explaining what a simple scale is, how chords are derived from it, what primary, secondary, & other chords can be put together to form useful progressions, how to construct various chords by ear, & several styles of music which make use of various progressions. This is only a brief sampling of what's in this video. There is much more. Dan emphasizes ear training, & gives many exercises to implement his demonstrations. About 80% of the material is presented on a keyboard, & about 20% on guitar, but the lessons apply to any instrument. Let me interject something here which will help banjo players using this video: Early on, a C major scale is shown on a keyboard, & then a triad chord is formed from each note of the scale. This generates 3 different types of chords: major, minor, & diminished. & here is how it would be laid out on a banjo neck: The video is not meant to be viewed all at once. You will get seriously overwhelmed if you do. Take each lesson, perhaps 10 to 30 minutes worth, stop the tape, & spend a week reviewing & implementing the material on your own instrument. Ask yourself how each lesson relates to any songs you may have heard or played. It is best to have a basic ability on your instrument & the ability to at least finger chords to get the most out of this video, but whether you're a beginner or advanced, there is a wealth of info on this tape that is simply not found elsewhere. I have let a number of my students & one fellow band member see it, & each one has commented on how they learned something from the various lessons. If you want to be able to recognize what a minor 3 chord sounds like, or where to expect to find it, or what a major 2 chord sounds like, & what will follow it, this video will get you started. Like anything else, you need to practice your lessons, but it adds a new dimension to what you are doing that may really improve your playing. There are a few points in the tape that go beyond the scope of a traditional bluegrass player, but all in all, each one of the lessons will find their place at the next jam session or rehearsal. There's even a small section on vocal harmony which will show you to generate the parts for any melody you wish to sing. Give it a try. Dan Huckabee has other such videos that follow from this one, should you desire more.
Hello! I have just watched the full program of your "Understanding the Formula of Music" and absolutely LOVE IT! It's so unique and I love that Dan really stresses the importance of LISTENING to music and treating like a language. One just has to submerse themselves into it to truly become proficient. I have studied music theory at a college level and have always thought that all of the "rules" hindered my creativity and I've finally broken out of that mold and have become a musician that "speaks" the language. Your program is wonderful and I want to use it to help my children learn about music. mike
Sing Out! Magazine Review: Vol. 48 #2 Summer 2004 by M.M. Dan Huckabee has gone to great lengths to demystify how music works. And if you're willing to listen, he will succeed in presenting this for you. He suggests a series of exercises to put these musical concepts to work immediately, and when you apply what he says, it can and will make sense. He effectively emphasizes using your ears. His insightful method blends a traditional theoretical approach to understanding music, with the grass roots aural tradition that is common among folk, blues, rock players. This is a very extensive work, over two hours long, covering elementary music fundamentals - scales, chords, harmony. And it expands into more advanced matters of ear training, inversions, intermediate chords, and arranging. In the DVD format, it immediately becomes not only user friendly, but fun to visit and revisit. Huckabee himself has an extrordinary background - a music degree from the University of North Texas, 1976 National Dobro Champion, toured with the Allman Brothers, and authored 250 instructional music products. Here's a lifetime of diversified and powerful musical experiences, distilled and clearly presented in two hours. Highly recommended.
Review: Bluegrass Unlimited Magazine Oct 2000 issue. What surprised me most about “Understanding the Formula of Music” was that I was able to watch the entire 2 hours of this video in one sitting, & then again the next day, without once loosing interest. This in spite of the fact that I already knew most of the theory. 1976 National Dobro Champion & multi-instrumentalist, Dan Huckabee, provides split screens of the keyboard & guitar using well known examples such as “Happy Birthday” & “Jingle Bells”. I guess what held me, besides the mystical interlocking mathematics of music, was seeing if Mr. Huckabee could lay out such a complex subject without being confusing (which he did), & seeing how much theory he could cover in two hours (the answer:...volumes). In fact, I could have filled this review just listing what he covers. If anything important is left out of the explanation of scales, chord building, melody, harmony, voicings, & chord progressions, along with ideas on developing an ear & perfect pitch, I can’t think of it. With Bluegrass becoming more complex as it is & the “wingin” it” method beginning to fade, knowing at least the basics will be helpful. This video will get you grounded. (written by one of the several Bluegrass Unlimited Magazine Review Writers).
“I have learned more in four hours...(watched it twice), than I have in 40 years.”---M. Stewart Freehold, NJ
I received “Understanding the Formula of Music” on Saturday and immediately watched the whole thing. It answered questions I’ve been trying to have someone answer for two years. It was $40 well spent. It will take me months to absorb the contents of the video. —Bill Weigle, La Feria, TX
I have always loved your instructional materials--bought the theory of music VHS years ago--it's the best. Thanks Bob Falligant
Your “Understanding the Formula of Music” video is the best instructional video that I have seen. Dan really makes it easy to grasp music theory. Upon receiving Dan’s video I popped it in my VCR just to watch a few minutes of the tape, but I could not turn it off. I ended up watching the entire tape. The two hours flew by! I plan to purchase more of Dan Huckabee’s music instruction programs. Keep me informed on any new products by Dan Huckabee.—Rick Stone, Arvada, CO
Spent some time on music theory this week, watching the DVD Understanding the Formula of Music. I really liked it. The narrator, Dan Huckabee of Musician's Workshop, has put together two tightly-packed hours of information and has made the subjects very clear and approachable. I came away from this DVD understanding a bunch of concepts that I'd been struggling with, such as diminished and augmented chords. I like Huckabee. http://jrjenks.blogspot.com/2008/03/banjo-versus-tv-week-12.html
Amazon.com Review. Highly Informative. Learn the structure of music..., January 28, 2005 Reviewer: Mack_T_Knife "dbmcsd" (USA) - See all my reviews This instructional program first came out in 1998 on video, and has been reissued now on DVD. Dan Huckabee has gone to great lengths to demystify how music works. And if you're willing to listen to him, he will succeed in presenting this for you. One of the more unusual aspects of this product is that there is no book. With no book to supplement the information. Huckabee challenged himself successfully with the task of presenting this information in a way that could be understood as you hear it. He suggests a series of exercises to put these musical concepts to work immediately. And when you apply what he says it can and will make sense. He effectively emphasizes using your ears. His insightful method blends a traditional theoretical approach to understanding music, with the grassroots aural tradition that is common among folk, blues, rock players. This is a very extensive work, over two hours long covering elementary music fundamentals--scales, chords, harmony. And it expands into more advanced matters of ear training, inversions, intermediate chords, and arranging. In the DVD format, it immediately becomes not only user friendly, but fun to visit and revisit. Huckabee himself has an extraordinary background--a music degree from the University of North Texas; 1976 National Dobro Champion: toured with the Allman Brothers: and has authored 250 instructional music products. Here's a lifetime of diversified and powerful musical experiences, distilled and clearly presented in two hours.--MM
Your DVD is great! You have a remarkable presentation style. I have been using it on my banjo and Dobro and “WOW” … I actually understand why I am hitting the notes that the tabs call out. I even bought a keyboard, when I saw how easy it was to understand the theory because of the linear nature of the keyboard. It makes learning something that is quite complicated seem simple. Dennis Rauschl
Amazon.com review Huckabee on the art of music, December 20, 2005 Reviewer: strings2go (WI) - See all my reviews I've been playing guitar and banjo for just about a year now. I own more than a half dozen instructional videos. Besides this Huckabee dvd, I have others by Kaufman, Grossman, Sokolow, Keith, and Star. Although I have found them all to be helpful, I would have to say that the most valuable of the lot is "The Formula of Music." This set of lessons is very well thought out and executed. Huckabee emphasizes the fundamentals of music theory rather than providing tabs of particular songs. He shows how listening and discerning the orderly structure of music is critical to the development of a good musical understanding. Because his approach is truly foundational, it adds leverage to all one's other efforts to learn an instrument. By teaching the art of music rather than simply presenting particular songs, Huckabee fosters independence in his students.
compliment from MandolinCafe.com Group: Members Posts: 4614 Joined: Oct. 2002 Posted: Sep. 20 2006, 20:12 Mando Johnny There is a good DVD called "Understanding the Formula of Music" by Dan Huckabee. It teaches basic theory and ear training. It is a good start in recognizing intervals, which is how you figure out tunes. If you buy it, it is good to have a some kind of a musical keyboard to go through it, even if it is a cheap kid's digital keyboard. It is for any instrument, but he has you go through some useful exercises on a keyboard. He also has a DVD called, "How to Figure Out Music from Recordings," which I don't have yet, but will soon. It is more on point, but my guess is it would work better if you had the first DVD down pat.
Dear Mr. Huckabee: Your DVD, Understanding The Formula of Music, is fantastic. My entire life I have wanted to "understand" music. I took lessons, purchased books and videos but I still couldn't play or understand music. I may never be able to play an instrument, but for the first time I am actually beginning to understand the structure of music. I spent almost ten years working in the retail record (yes, I'm talking "vinyl" records.) business and have met many famous musicians. Charlie Daniels, Crystal Gayle, Bill Monroe, Robert Fripp, Joey Ramone, Patti Smith, etc. I always admired these people and were kind of envious because they "understood" music. Now, thanks to you, I'm beginning to "get" it. Thank you so much. I also purchased your DVD on learning licks from recordings which should arrive shortly. You are truly gifted. Jeff Hayes, Detroit, MI 1/28/07
Excellent Teacher !, November 22, 2008 amazon By Terrence M. Davis "tmdavis21" (Salamanca, New York United States) - See all my reviews This is absolutely great. I'm 56 and this is putting a lot of things together for me. Absolutely clear and simple. Things are starting to make sense.
Clear, simple and to the point!, February 8, 2008 amazon By Johnny (Mandeville, LA) - See all my reviews I'm really glad I bought this DVD. The delivery is fine *and,* this is as user friendly and clear. It starts with a simple, step-by-step approach with enough review that you start to get it after a few minutes. It's shot in split screen so you see keyboard and guitar examples as he's playing them. Just have your keyboard or guitar there with you as you watch and hit pause when you want to practice a bit. The basics are presented in keys and numbers so you see the relationship between chords, notes and keys easily. This is a very thorough DVD. Moving from the basics to pitch, harmonies 4ths and 5ths...and it will definitely spice up your playing and create new ideas for songs. I am not a professional musician, but this was a huge help for me in understanding how to become a better songwriter, and what to look for when trying to learn new songs. Also, I got a keyboard for Christmas but didn't know how to play it. Though this is not a "how to play piano" dvd, I am learning enough to hack my way through a song. The melodies are clear and the instruction is straight forward and to the point enough that you will understand music theory and if you play any instrument it will help your playing tremendously.
Thumbs up; learned a lot!, March 28, 2008 Amazon By Tree Fan (Asheville, NC) - See all my reviews Though this guy's not Mr. Entertainment, that's not the point. If one is interested in learning, he's a good teacher. He knows his subject. I found this DVD valuable and helpful.