First, let me list a few myths about music theory...
1. Music theory is only about memorizing and learning notes, key signatures, chords, etc.
2. I don't need music theory, because if I learn too much, I won't be able to express myself freely with music.
3. Theory is too much overanalyzing, which isn't helping to make great music. Just sit down and write how you feel!
4. Music theory is too hard. In order to understand it, I need to be incredibly intelligent, attend a university, etc.
5. Learning theory will take away from my playing time and overall experience as a musician.
Very simply, music theory is the study of how to express yourself with music. It is
a set of guidelines and rules that are made to help us understand the different ways
to express emotions with sound. Learning music theory is essential for musicians,
and certainly any truly great musicians or artists.
Have you ever listened to a beautiful song and wondered: "How can I write music like
that?" The answer my friend is music theory. Music theory is not just learning how
to build chords, learn intervals, learn key signatures, etc. Every single concept in
music theory is an idea or foundation for learning how to express your thoughts with
sound and music.
Some people say that music theory is not necessary because if you analyze too much,
then you are not feeling the music on an emotional level.. Or, that not all
musicians truly have to know music theory to make good music. Well, here is the
truth: The more you know about music theory, the more you can accurately express
your specific ideas, thoughts, and emotions with music.
Imagine if you wanted to start exercising to build your muscles and become stronger.
You wouldn't say this to yourself: "I am passionate about having big muscles and
exercise! But, I don't need to know anything about nutrition, general health, weight
lifting routines, etc. That will only stop me from getting stronger. All I need to
do is go to the gym to lift weights when I am in the right mood, and I will get the
results I want."
Do you see how this doesn't make sense? After a while, all musicians, songwriters,
or potential songwriters run into a mental block where they are lacking information
they need in order to bring their ideas to life through music. By learning music
theory, you can learn how the various sounds and rhythms of music are used to create
emotion in the listener. By learning the processes and patterns that are used in
music theory, you can avoid musical "writer's block."
Not only will music theory help you when you are writing music, it will help you get
better when you are improvising on guitar and you have to think quickly about what
notes to play next. Learning why certain notes make you feel a certain way will help
you to make quicker decisions in any musical situation. One of the problems that
people have is that they think that music theory is too hard. Anything you are
learning for the first time might seem more difficult, but as you keep learning a
practicing, it becomes more easier. You don't need to be super smart to learn music
theory, just like you don't need to be super smart to learn how to drive, how to
read, how to play a game, etc.
Learning music theory also depends on your own personal goals. What do you want to
fo with music?: Learn how to write songs, be a great and expressive composer, play
songs for fun, master techniques, play in a band, teach guitar, teach music, etc?
Music theory will help you in any of these situations. However, if you plan on
becoming a great musician or musical artist, then a great knowledge of music theory
must be a huge priority for you!
It is always a good idea to write down your personal goals with music. Write down
why you want to follow these goals. What do you want to do with music? How will you
will feel when you reach your goals? How would you would feel if you didn't reach
your goals? Answering these questions will help motivate you to do whatever it takes
to get to where you want to be with music. I recommend that you come back to these
written goals form time to time to keep yourself focused. Your goals may also change
over time, so it is important to keep track of this as well.
There is one thing that is very important that many people do not realize when they
are wondering whether or not they should learn music theory... music theory is fun!
Remember, you have a passion for music. It is only natural to feel excited and
stimulated by learningnew things. Also, learning is and always will be "work" to
some degree. However, it always takes hard work and effort to be great at something,
and whether you enjoy that work or dislike that work is what will determine how far
you get with it. Don't just do the given exercises that you read, and be done. Do
any exercises, and then make your own exercises... do them until they are second
nature! Enjoy the learning process, and do every single exercise while keeping your
music goals in mind to help you stay motivated.
Here is a small list of things that music theory will help you with:
And much more!
So keeping all of these things in mind, what is stopping you from
learning music theory right now?
If you need to improve your music theory and composition knowledge, click href="http://ysrafel.com/musictheory.html">here where we can begin working together today to help you express yourself better and become a more complete musician.
Until next time.
Ysrafel is a professional guitarist, musician, and recording artist who has written articles for many web sites to help thousands of guitarists all over the world, and has created an ongoing instructional series titled "The Electric Guitar Technique Master Series"
He is currently working on various musical projects including his upcoming guitar instrumental album which will contain several different styles such as progressive metal, electronic/dance, and Latin.