“Oh God, I would have majored in music but music theory is so hard!"
I occasionally get this response when people ask me what I do and I tell them I’m a music theorist.
You might find this surprising, but I totally understand why people would say something like that - it’s usually the result of music theory being separated from, well, actual music. It’s almost like performing or listening to music and understanding how music is put together are two completely separate things. So if I understand why people feel that way, why did I decide to become a music theorist?
Because along the way I learned two things:
I learned how music theory can be helpful in enriching our musical lives rather than being something separate from it.
I learned that it’s not usually that people don’t really dislike music theory, it’s that concepts weren’t explained terribly clearly or terribly well to them.
Do you ever wish you could have your questions answered, but YouTube videos don’t answer your questions and online courses go too fast or assume you have prior knowledge? Do you ever just want someone to sit down with you and explain ALL the things to you in a way that is understandable?
I’m your woman!!
I’m Dr. Amy, and I work with and create products for people who love music and want to understand it better. I give them the tools to look at or listen to a piece of music, whether it’s classical art music, or folk music, or rock music, or country music, or almost ANY kind of music, and understand how it is put together. I give them the tools to read a piece of music on their own, without having to rely on a recording. I give them the tools to make music making easier and more FUN!
I give people the skills to discover and learn new pieces of music on their own. I give them the skills to bring the joy of music into their lives without all the fear of asking questions. While I have a PhD in music theory from the world-renowned Indiana University Jacobs School of Music and have taught music theory on the university level, I love helping people of ALL ages and ALL ability levels discover the joy of being independent music makers.
"Amy Kennedy is not only knowledgeable and passionate about several aspects of music, she communicates in an empathetic and clear manner. As both a prior student and colleague of hers, her musical prowess manifests in her teaching, playing, and composing. One would do well to trust cultivating their musicianship skills with her!"
Assistant Teaching Professor of Voice and Opera at Iowa State University
Get to know me! Here are a few of my favorite things...
My favorite season is spring, because you can practically see the earth “waking up” again.
My favorite ice cream flavor is a toss-up between chocolate-chocolate chip and mocha-chocolate chip, both by Graeters Ice Cream from Cincinnati, Ohio.
When not practicing music or working on musical things, I love doing counted cross stitch.
When I was an undergraduate music major at UK, Glen Kotche (drummer for Wilco) was 2 years behind me as a music major, and Ashley Judd was a theatre major. We were in the same building, but I don’t ever remember seeing her.
In high school, I “played” rifle during marching band season. I still have my rifle, and when life gets hard and I need to think things through, I still go out in the back yard and spin.
Besides classical art music, my favorite type of music is 80s pop music. It’s totally awesome! (I still LOVE Duran Duran, BTW...)
If I could live anywhere else in the world, I would live in Oxfordshire in England.
The best advice I ever received was from my grandmother: “Style and flair!”