If someone chooses to learn an instrument, he or she may come face to face with the possibility of learning music theory. It sounds like tedious homework at best, having to learn the various terms used in music as well as the mechanics of the instrument.
Nevertheless, any good musician will want to touch upon music theory at one point.
1. Music theory is essential after a certain point.
After the student has first been introduced to an instrument, he or she will have been taught the basics behind playing it. However, in order for the students to be able to move on to playing more complicated pieces, they will have to know more specific concepts that allow mastery over said musical pieces.
For example, in piano, one moves on from notes to chords, which are the combination of notes in a specific order.
2. Concepts in music theory are often used in complex pieces.
Knowledge in the musical theory of an instrument becomes increasingly crucial the longer a student plays their instrument because the terms and concepts learned in music theory are often referenced by others. One could easily get lost if one’s knowledge of music is lacking in the more specific terms.
For example, piano pieces often talk about major and minor keys, which are crucial to the overall sound of the piece.
3. Knowledge through theory fosters independence.
As you become familiar with music theory, you’ll start to understand for yourself how your instrument should be played. Your increasing familiarity with the concepts will allow you to slowly step away from your teacher or lesson book.
You may even start to improvise your own music through music theory.
Music theory is a vital part of the teaching experience. The student gains the necessary knowledge to go along with the skills he or she learns about playing the instrument. Theory and skill must be in balance for the musician to become an expert.
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Kevin Kwon is a recent graduate from UC Berkeley, currently 23 years old. He works in San Francisco, and hopes to continue in the graduate studies regarding the field of psychology.