Colleges offering a major in music will give incoming students a "Music Theory Placement Exam" to assess their abilities in Music Theory, Harmony, Rhythm, Analysis and Aural Skills. Students who know their music fundamentals score high on this test.
Students with a high test score will be placed in advanced levels of music theory and harmony. These students will NOT be required to take a music fundamentals course at college. They will also have ample opportunity to take advanced music theory and harmony before graduation.
On the other hand, students with a low score WILL be required to take music fundamentals in college. This can occupy one to four semesters, making it difficult (if not impossible) for the Music Major to take the highest levels of advanced music theory and harmony classes before graduation. It's safe to say, ANY Music Major who does NOT know their music fundamentals before attending college will be at a disadvantage. It is most beneficial to the student to become proficient in music fundamentals PRIOR to attending College.
Typically, courses in music fundamentals tend to be more complicated than they need to be. For instance: When the music major studies privately on their instrument, the instructor will spend a lot of time talking about the major scale using numbers (1-2-3-4-5-6-7). In music theory class, the major scale is analyzed using Roman Numerals (I-ii-iii-IV-V-vi-vii) and Names (Tonic, Supertonic, Mediant, Subdominant, Dominant, Submediant, Leading Tone). In ear training class, the student will need to use Solfege (Do-Re-Mi-Fa-So-La-Ti) for the major scale. This is akin to using English to teach spelling, French to teach punctuation, and Spanish & German to teach sentence structure. It's no wonder so many students are confused, overwhelmed, and end up hating music theory and ear training!
"How Music Works" takes a fresh approach to learning Music Fundamentals. Everything is broken down into bite size elements using material students are already familiar with. For example: Looking at the same material in the previous paragraph, the major scale is taught using arabic numerals. The major scale is numbered 1-2-3-4-5-6-7. Music theory is also taught using arabic numerals (1-2-3-4-5-6-7), no switching to Roman Numerals and Names to complicate learning the functionality. Ear Training, same thing. No switching to Solfege, we stick with the same arabic numerals (1-2-3-4-5-6-7) here too.
Student spend their time learning "How Music Works", without clouding the issue by learning a bunch of new terms all describing the same thing. Once the student understands "How Music Works", THEN they'll learn how to label what they now know using Roman Numerals, Names and Solfege (systems they'll need to know while at college). A much easier & efficient way to learn a lot of material fast with retention. This is just one example of the approach, which is much closer to way other subjects are taught.
The "How Music Works" course first concentrates on the major scale. Learn the major scale first, then use the major scale to learn everything else! Once the student sees what makes the major scale tick, they will use the major scale as a tool to learn intervals, chord tones, scale degrees, diatonic chords, and how to unlock any chord symbol. Again, an approach much closer to the way other subjects are taught.
This course is 100% free.