My name is Dr. Malia, and I'm the creator of Music Theory Shop.
I help ambitious, multi-faceted, diverse musicians of all genres, go from being overwhelmed and frustrated in music theory and musicianship, to honing their music skills with proficiency and confidence to begin teaching, creating, and performing, so that they can create a soul-fulfilling music career and lucrative music-teaching business that is built for longevity.
When I was in community college taking theory, I earned C's and D's. I DID. NOT. GET IT. I was upset and embarrassed. 😭🤯🤬 I was playing advanced piano repertoire but was not doing well in theory and musicianship.
Fast forward to undergrad at UC Santa Cruz, grad school at UCSC, and then grad school AGAIN at UC Santa Barbara. I went through THREE music theory sequences (2-years each) at three different institutions until it finally clicked for me. I was hooked.
Guest Speaker at Cal Arts, 2013.
Theory made me a better pianist. I became a better musician. 💪
It made me more efficient, more creative, and I was empowered to learn to play anything I wanted in a short amount of time. Or, just understand how any piece of music worked so I could teach those secret compositional techniques to others.
I genuinely understand the frustration with theory and aural skills, and how to overcome these learning blocks. I did it, so can you.
If you are a music educator, read my blog, When Music Called, We Answered. Please leave your comments and pedagogical insights!
Musicians are lifelong learners. I train rockstar musicians 🤘🏼, but I especially enjoy working with musicians that are "coming back" to music; professional musicians that want to refresh their skills, or add an income stream teaching music.
I have worked with pop, rock, punk, folk, jazz, mariachi, and classical musicians. All are welcome.🤘🏼🤘🏼🤘🏼
Publications with Hal Leonard:
Music Theory Staff Paper (Hal Leonard 2019), the original hybrid music manuscript notebook. It is the Cornell note-taking method, but for music! The cover design is inspired by vintage 19th and 20th-century European and American sheet music.
Visualize Keyboard Scales & Modes (Hal Leonard 2020) is not like any other scale method book on the market. This is for both readers and non-readers. It includes theory lessons and scales and modes are organized by tonic to understand multiple methods of building modes, which is truer to how musicians think about mode and scale construction.
Dr. Malia is a Lecturer in Music Theory, Aural Skills, Piano, and Composition at California State University, Channel Islands. She is a member of ASCAP, NARIP (National Association for Recording Industry Professionals), Alliance for Women Film Composers, Workshops in Music Theory Pedagogy, and is a Reader for the College Board AP Music Theory examinations.
Ph.D. in Music Theory, University of California, Santa Barbara
M.A. in Music Theory, University of California, Santa Barbara
M.A. in Piano Performance, University of California, Santa Cruz.
B.A. in Music, University of California, Santa Cruz.
(2019) “Best Catch Award,” Reader in Music Theory, Sight Singing, A.P. Music Theory College Board, Kansas City
(2012) Stanley Krebs Memorial Prize in Musicology, University of California, Santa Barbara
(2010) Roger Chapman Memorial Prize in Music Theory, University of California, Santa Barbara
(1999) Concerto for Piano & Winds, winner of the 1999 Concerto Competition at UC Santa Cruz.
How can I support your music learning journey?
Malia's hometown is San Clemente, Ca. She was the webmaster for the Hobie Memorial Foundation and helped realize the memorial statue of Hobie Alter in Dana Point, Ca. The HMF built the most beautiful statue in the world that honors the boating~surfing culture and heritage in Southern California!!! Go see it!
Malia lives in Pasadena, CA with her boxer-bulldog, Cooper.
All items at Music Theory Shop are made or printed in the U.S.A.