In a world where the words competition and success go hand in hand, it is important that students
be well prepared to face the world. Not just to succeed for the sake of success but to succeed
with knowledge, which may be useful in their future lives, to improve their lives. Knowledge, that
is applicable is worth learning, so is this book for all those students who wish to succeed in the
Music Theory exams and at the same time would like to improve and understand music so they can
apply it in their learning of it. This book does not give any answers but guides students in their
thought process. It will help students to learn to be careful so they will not loose marks by
their little careless mistakes. Developing a habit of carefulness will improve their performance
in all other fields as well. A good habit formed early in life forms the character that is carried
throughout the rest of a person’ life. Molding our thought process in their direction is the
essence of success. I guarantee that anyone who goes through this book will certainly become a
Western classical music —sounds very impressive and quite complicated. That is a what most people
think. However, it is not so. If taught and learnt correctly it can take you into another world.
Today’s youth, and parents, for that matter, want everything packaged in capsules. As a result
there is no depth or understanding in the learning process be it music or any other especially
subject. Teaching also has to cater to these demands and often the most important aspects (the
basics) of understanding music, is lost. lt is to stop this process that one needs to appreciate
what Ronald is doing. His first book, ‘Mind Over Finger’ dealt with playing of music while this
one ‘Distinction’ deals with the Theory of Music.
It gives me great joy and satisfaction that a fellow musician has ventured into territory that has
always been the realm of the western world. We have always used books written and published abroad
as guides to teaching and learning music. It is probably the first time one of our own has tackled
the problems associated with teaching music. This book Distinction fills an ever present void that
is understanding music correctly. As a teacher Ronald has always given as much importance to
playing as to the theory of music. In this book he has tackled every relevant theory topic and his
detailed explanations are simple to follow and understand. Teachers and students will End answers
to all their questions on the Theory of Music. Having taught music for so many years he
understands the problems one faces as a teacher. He has used all his knowledge and experience in
his books, and most importantly kept it simple. Both his books should find a place in every
student and music teachers’ library.
I do wish Ronald all the best and look forward to his next book. Keep up the good work.
It has been my observation through my years as a teacher of music that like mathematics, music is
one subject where one can score a hundred percent h in the theory exams. Music is a very
mathematical and scientific subject. That is why a very good musician is usually a good
mathematician as well. This need not be the case though, in being able to do the music theory
exams, because music is not as complicated as real mathematics. It is just simple, elementary
maths and a lot of logic and common sense; hence anyone with a sincere interest and the will to
work hard can obtain a distinction, if not a hundred percent, in the music theory grade exams.
This book is meant to do just that. To help all those who desire to accomplish a result of not
less than a distinction no matter how weak they are in maths. The instructions and little hints on
how to do the theory papers, so one can obtain the desired result. It will help you to be able to
recognize your mistakes and then correct them. This way you do not loose any marks by your little
careless mistakes or oversight. Simple careless mistakes are the real reasons to loosing marks in
subjects like maths and music. So develop a habit for careful work as you practice learning how to
write this language called Music.
Like learning any language whether English, Hindi, Arabic, Japanese or Chinese, one needs to sit
down and practice learning how to shape those alphabets to get them right and legible (readable),
so it is with music. Remember when you were in the elementary school and had a class period called
Handwriting? A good handwriting speaks a lot about who you are and that is exactly why one needs
to sit down and practice those clef signs, numbers, notes, rests, sharps, flats and naturals till
they look like you printed them. There are rulers, pencils and erasers to help us attain the
perfect shapes, so make use of them. Use the Music manuscript note book (with five lines and four
spaces) available at any music store to practice writing on, before you can work on your
exercises, so that your work is neat and tidy. Avoid pressing your pencil too hard as you write
initially, so that when you erase it will not make your paper look untidy.
Remember only practice makes one perfect. Make sure you understand what you have to do first
before attempting to do any question. Mark the important words (lightly, so you can erase them
later) in the question so that you do not omit any answer or else you will loose marks
unnecessarily. In other words read your questions very carefully.
This book is divided into Six main parts. This includes parts for each grade from grade one to
FOREWORD BY HOSIE PALAMKOTE - LT CL (TTD)
DIRECTOR (1971 - 1999) DELHI SCHOOL OF MUSIC
In the twenty—first century we have to prepare ourselves for an influx of young talented musicians
both in the field of classical music as well as popular forms like rock, pop and film background
There are not many institutions that can help them. Those who are interested in putting their own
songs and compositions into the western notation system will find this book an excellent guide to
help them do this in the first elementary stages.
Many students of classical music give up after an initial attempt at learning an instrument like
the piano, violin and other classical instruments simply because of the fact that their teachers
do not take the trouble to teach them the elementary “RUDIMENTS of MUSIC", with the result that
the score in front of a student learning to play the notes remains a mystery.
Ronald Laloo has done admirable work in this connection. His book will help young or adult
beginners to understand the substance of music. Without the help of their teachers to show them
how to read with understanding, this will result in parrot like imitation. This book should be
used in tandem with "Mind Over Finger" also by Ronald Laloo, for keyboard players.
Young pupils below ten years of age will need professional guidance from trained teachers. Teen
agers and adult beginners will be able to learn how to read, write and understand the score from a
systematic study of this book. Without this knowledge all practical demonstration at the
instrument by the teacher will only provide a very shaky foundation for the eager and keen
student, who will abandon his efforts to learn music in frustration.
I agree with Ronald Laloo that there can be no real understanding of playing music without a
thorough knowledge of its rudiments.
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