There is a phrase that young and aspiring musicians hear that sends a shiver down their spine. That phrase is “music theory”. Music theory can seem like quantum physics to some people, for others, it comes as naturally as breathing. Either way, it is an important tool that can greatly improve the musical skill of anyone that has even a surface-level understanding of it.
Music theory is the study of the basic elements that make up music. The three main components of the art form are pitch, harmony, and rhythm. Using theory, people can predict if music will sound good and also analyse music that has already been written in order to understand what makes it sound good. The study can range from very basic analysis of scales and chords to advanced studies of the sonata-allegro form. Learning music theory can strike fear in the hearts of new musicians. Here are some reasons why you should take the plunge.
1. Improve Your Ear
When you understand the inner workings of the mathematical theory behind music the ability to critically listen to music is vastly improved. The deeper your understanding of music is the more you will be able to identify different aspects of it. You will easily identify if a song is in a minor or major key and even identify specific chord changes in songs that you are listening to.
2. Reading Music
The ability to read music is something that only a small portion of even professional musicians have. There is a direct relationship between someone’s understanding of theory and their ability to read music. Sight-reading is an even more rare skill that can be developed with a music theory workbook. Those that can sightread will have a leg up on other musicians when it comes to getting hired for gigs.
These are just two reasons that musicians of any skill level should start studying this discipline. Sure, it can be a very scary prospect at first if you are a beginner. The earlier you start studying the quicker your skills as a musician will develop.
There is a whole world of skills that can be obtained through the study of music theory. If you are interested, there are many books available on the subject. It can be a hard topic to self-teach. It is a topic that some schools and colleges offer. You can also use the services of a private teacher in order to learn music theory.