Should budding musicians learn music theory?

Despite what the name suggests, most people claim that music theory is not a requirement to write great songs. Many popular musicians do not carry an in-depth knowledge of music theory. In fact, entire generations of composers, and music artists have gained massive success without ever receiving any formal education in music. While this might be true to a great extent, there are still a number of benefits of learning music theory whether you self-teach yourself via the internet or attend theory classes physically.

The truth is that music theory is not at all necessary to write great songs. However, having some knowledge of music theory can complement your songwriting skills and hence your music career in a number of different ways.

We have listed down the major benefits of learning music later in this article. Before moving to them, however, let us address one basic question.

What does music theory mean after all?

Music theory essentially contains all the fundamentals that which music rests upon. It begins with basic concepts that include knowledge of notes, pitch, rhythm, scales, tempo, octaves, modes, melody, notation, structure, and the purpose of various instruments.

Consider music theory as language classes. While a native would be able to speak a language up to a decent level, having knowledge of grammar will certainly allow the person to have a better command at speaking and writing (communicating). In a similar fashion, music theory would teach a person the language of music that which he can then use to communicate his/her musical ideas.

What are the practical advantages of learning music theory?

There are three major advantages that any musician/artist can enjoy by learning music theory. Each of these can prove to be beneficial for an artist’s career in music.

  • It allows musicians and budding artists to become totally independent. This means that they will not be dependent on professional help through their songwriting process. This also suggests that it would be easier to master complications in music. On top of that, knowing the fundamentals also allow musicians to figure out their weaknesses and the areas that need improvement.
  • Having knowledge of music theory makes musicians more creative. One a person has all the tools that he/she needs at their disposal for writing that one hit song, it is much easier. In comparison, if one tries to write a great song simply via ear and guesswork, the process would be slower and less efficient. In other words, it allows musicians to find their own unique sound easily.
  • Another big advantage is that having enough knowledge of music’s fundamentals makes one capable of engaging in fruitful discussions with other musicians. Essentially, it provides one a good subject to talk about with other like-minded people.

However, do keep in mind that having knowledge of music on paper does not suggest that you will turn into an amazing musician. This is because the knowledge will not be of enough use if you are unable to apply it. In order to become a great composer, singer and/or songwriter, you must practice your craft in a disciplined way. This is the one and only prime rule for success as a musician.