Music theory is important for making music.
I mean really important.
If you’re serious about becoming a musician, then learning music theory is crucial. Why? Because music theory helps musicians learn how to create musical compositions.
For example, if you want to compose a song, you must understand harmony, melody, rhythm, pitch, tempo, dynamics, etc. This knowledge gives you the ability to create songs that sound professional and unique.
However, there’s another benefit to studying music theory.
Learning music theory teaches you how to analyze music. And analyzing music is very useful for many reasons. For example, it helps you identify problems in your composition, which makes composing music easier.
Also, analyzing music helps you improve your listening skills. When you listen to music, you hear notes, chords, rhythms, and melodies. By analyzing these elements, you gain insight into how to better appreciate and interpret music.
In addition, music analysis helps you perform better. Understanding the fine details of music guides you in knowing how to perform elements differently. This really sets you apart from other musicians. It also encourages you to develop your own unique style.
Finally, analyzing music helps you become a better listener. Listening to music requires you to pay close attention to details such as pitch, volume, timing, and tone quality. It improves your ability to focus on these aspects of music.
Now that we’ve established that music theory is important for making and appreciating music, let’s talk about some specific benefits of studying music theory.
10 Reasons Why You Should Study Music Theory
Here are 10 quick reasons why you should study music theory and how it will benefit you. Developing a deeper understanding has many benefits.
1. Music theory helps you develop your ear.
If you want to compose music, perform better, or teach more effectively, you need to be able to recognize patterns and relationships between sounds in musical notation. Learning music theory trains your brain to recognize patterns and relationships among different types of sounds and how it appears in written music.
A type of music theory study, called ear training, teaches you to identify pitches, intervals, scales, chords, rhythm patterns, and other elements of music. This opens up your ears to hear finer details, which allows you to perform them more accurately. Believe it or not, it even allows you to play more music by ear.
2. Music theory helps you practice less.
If you want to play an instrument, you need to practice playing scales and chords. But practicing scales and chords alone is useless unless you know how to apply them to real music. Being able to identify patterns like scales and chords in your music speeds up the learning process and cuts down your practice time.
In addition, knowing basic music terms in a piece of sheet music helps you enjoy playing more and researching less. Having the basic elements learned and memorized shortens your research time, which means you can get into practice mode much faster.
3. Music theory helps you sight-read music.
If you want to play an instrument, you need to know how to read sheet music. However, reading sheet music alone is useless unless you understand the concepts behind the notation.
Theory knowledge and the ability to read music opens the doors to more collaborations with other musicians. Knowing these building blocks actually helps you sight-read faster and with more ease.
4. Music theory helps you write music.
If you want others to listen to your music, you need to know what kind of music to write. Knowing music theory helps you determine whether your music fits within a particular genre or style.
It also helps you write music much faster and easier. Understanding patterns and relationships in standard music notation helps you jot down your ideas quickly.
Additionally, when you understand harmony, melody, counterpoint, rhythm, and tempo, you’ll begin to see connections everywhere. This way, you won’t have to guess whether something sounds good or not. You’ll already know.
5.Music theory helps you perform effectively.
If you want to perform at concerts, you need to know the rules of performance. But knowing those rules alone is useless unless you can express yourself musically. A solid foundation in the common language of music frees you to incorporate more musical nuance into every performance.
6. Music theory helps people understand your music.
If you want people to listen to your music and share it with friends, you need to know the basics of music theory. Otherwise, your listeners may misunderstand your music. It may not flow as well and sound immature to your audience.
7. Music theory helps you become a better songwriter.
If you want others to sing along with your songs, or play them, you need to have an understanding of music theory. Without it, you might struggle to write music that fits the lyrics or vice versa.
There are certain music writing rules that are standard throughout the world. This helps us all read and play your music much easier.
Also, you might realize that certain chords sound good together, or that certain chord progressions make sense. Understanding music theory can help you develop your songwriting skills.
8. Music theory helps you record music.
If you want your recordings to sound professional, you need to have a foundation in music theory. Otherwise, you risk sounding amateurish. It’s difficult to get a record deal when it’s obvious you’re not quite ready yet for the spotlight.
9. Music theory helps you produce music.
If you want other people to enjoy the music you produce, you need basic music theory. Otherwise, they may perceive your music as unprofessional. Successful music producers find music theory to be an unfair advantage in the music industry.
It helps you create more intricate and diversified chords, harmonies, melody lines, and rhythm parts. Also, developing powerful arrangements becomes much easier.
10. Music theory helps you launch a successful music career.
If you want a career in music, you need to master the fundamentals of music theory. Otherwise, no one will hire you. This is a basic foundation of music that not only helps you in every type of job, it also sets you apart. The easiest way to gain a competitive edge is to learn music theory and apply it daily.
But, what is the main point of music theory? What does it help me do? What does it teach me?
The Main Purpose of Music Theory
The main purpose of music theory is to better comprehend the underlying structure of music and meanings of a musical composition. In addition, musicians use music theory to communicate with each other more effectively. This common musical language helps you refer to important parts of a song.
It also teaches you how to analyze and explain even the most complex form of music notation. Having extensive music theory knowledge comes in handy when teaching and sharing it with others. Amazing musicians can not only apply it, but communicate it effectively too.
More importantly, music theory helps you better understand the music you love. You can then appreciate it on a deeper level. You’ll see new things about the music you already know. And you’ll discover new ways of writing, performing, playing, and producing music.
It is used by composers, arrangers, performers, music teachers, producers, and anyone else who wants to improve their ability to hear and express the beauty of music. A balanced music education always includes music theory.
What if music theory ruins my creativity? Let’s explore that topic next.
Does Music Theory Hinder Creativity?
Music theory does not hinder creativity. In fact, it actually opens you up to more creativity. Understanding how a piece of music is constructed can help you develop more chord progressions, melody lines, counter melodies, harmonies, and additional instrumental parts faster.
You’ll notice that arranging songs becomes music easier. What music theory does it tell you why some notes sound good together while others don’t. It explains what works musically.
Music theory does have rules that people have historically found to be a way of making music that is pleasing to most people. However, no one has to be completely tied to those rules.
Wikipedia describes music theory as “the study of the practices and possibilities.” In other words, there are proven ways discovered throughout history of aligning certain notes together that sound good, but it’s okay to explore other possibilities too. Be the creative pioneer you are meant to be.
Geniuses know how to break the rules effectively. But, you can’t break the rules well without knowing them first. This is the secret to breaking through creative blocks.
In short, music theory doesn’t limit your creativity. Instead, it gives you the tools to make your own unique creations.
Why Music Theory is Important Summary
Music theory is important for creating, performing, writing, producing, recording, sight-reading, and enjoying music. It helps you execute music more accurately and have a successful music career. The people who rise to the top the fastest are those who have developed this solid foundation.
Music theory is an essential part of any musician’s toolbox. So if you want to become a musician or have a serious career in music, you need to learn music theory. It’s one of the most important things you can do for yourself as a musician.
Further Reading on Music Theory
✅ Why Music Theory is Important
✅ Why is Music Theory So Hard?
✅ What Do You Learn in Music Theory?
✅ How Long Does it Take to Learn Music Theory?