IFR blog > Practice tips > Getting past the theory
The power of direct experience

You may have heard that you need to understand a lot of music theory in order to improvise. But what if it's the other way around? That might sound confusing at first, but I believe that getting clear about this could potentially save you YEARS of frustration and wasted time.

IFR video lesson: How to master harmony

In this video I'll teach you an organized system for mastering harmony using our three integrated creative practices: improvising, composing and listening.

The four advantages of the tonal point of view

Learning to think relative to the key of the music is the most important thing you can do to accelerate your music learning. This article explains four immediate benefits to your music practice from adopting the tonal point of view.

IFR video lesson: How to study chords

In this video I show you a complete system for studying new chords so that you can improvise over them with confidence, use them in your compositions and learn to recognize them by ear in the music of other people.

IFR video lesson: Demystifying chord extensions

In this video we will demystify 9th chords, 11th chords and 13th chords and you'll see how simple these chords really are. I'll also try to show you that you are actually already producing these sounds in your music all the time, even if you don't realize it.

Thinking melodically vs. harmonically

When you're studying the notes of a chord, should you be thinking relative to the key (e.g. "note 1 in the 6 chord")? Or should you be thinking relative to the chord (e.g. "the flatted 3rd of the 6 chord")?

IFR video lesson: Melody Paths

In this video I'll teach you how to understand any chord progression using the IFR technique 'Melody Paths'. This exercise will enable you to weave your own melodies across the chord changes.

Harmonic and melodic minor scales in IFR

A student asks whether harmonic minor and melodic minor scales are included in IFR. The answer is an enthusiastic YES and in this video I show you how.

Outside playing with Seven Worlds

In this video I show you how you can use the exact same sounds that you're studying in Seven Worlds in a different way to create the exotic sounds of "outside playing".

Animation Video - How Music Works, part 1

This animated video for beginners explains the first step to understanding how songs are made.