Originally Posted by SchecterWhore
It's a lot less dense than most other harmony books. I agree that it works best with an instructor, but it is definitely possible to learn from it solo. There are self-tests at the end of each section and answer keys in the back, and I like the way that things are laid out and explained. Then again, I'm coming from a place a few years after I learned all this stuff. What makes it confusing, if I may ask?
It's possible to learn from it solo, but not probable, imo. Especially if you're trying to aim it toward a guy who has hit a roadblock of sorts and is specifically seeking out help. The book is set up rather dry, and very matter-of-fact with a lot of language that my theory teacher doesn't even use. There's been more than one time in class she had to stop and think of the way the book is explaining it and, and then rephrase it for us because "this is the way white-haired guys talked a couple hundred years ago" - LOL, her words, not mine.
The only reason I'm taking a theory class is because I want to advance my knowledge of music, and I believe if I sat down with this book by myself, I would either not get it or run out of interest, simply by the way it's set up. I remember getting excited my first day of buying the book, so before class even started I sat down with the book at home and I was going "uuuuhhhh...."
I like the book, and you're right, the test questions help a lot. There's a complimentary workbook that goes with this book that helps out even more for drilling exercises (comes with 2 cds, too). I think music theory is a subject where it helps out immensely if you having somebody teaching/guiding you, especially if you've gotten into a rut on your own.
To get back on topic, though, I think of the major modes (Ionian, Lydian, Mixolydian) as major scales with a change. So if I'm soloing over a C7 chord, I'll use the C Mixolydian because of the flatted 7th. Outlining chords is a great way to drill your modes. With the minors, I think relative majors and make my change accordingly (except Locrian, which I make 2 changes to).