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How Important is Music Theory?  

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Susan Wagner
(@shysue)
Estimable Member

This morning when I was studying my Music Theory for Guitars I got bored with it and my attention started to wander (I have a bit of an ADD problem). I started to wonder how important it is to know this stuff. I get it on some levels, but is it really necessary to know theory in order to play guitar?

My question to you all is: Do you know and use music theory in your everyday playing? 

I could see if maybe you were song writing that this info would be good to know, but if you're playing for your own enjoyment, strumming, chords, etc. does it help to know the relative minor to a scale or how to build a chord? 

Looking forward to your answers! 😀  

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Posted : 03/06/2020 5:56 pm
John, jerseychicadee, Kevin Simmons and 3 people liked
Eric Reinhardt
(@rinny51)
Estimable Member

It might help you to figure out songs or make songs easier to play. Knowing the chords just makes you more familiar with the guitar in general. If you are just into strumming, do what is enjoyable to you.

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Posted : 04/06/2020 1:04 am
John, jerseychicadee, Kevin Simmons and 4 people liked
rg
 rg
(@rg)
Estimable Member

I’ve never taken a deep interest in music theory but have been more focused on memorizing by ear,

patterns, runs, what sounds right what doesn’t. I know it has it’s purpose and is important. I have just never

really taken a deep interest in it.

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Posted : 04/06/2020 10:18 am
John, jerseychicadee, Jocelyn and 1 people liked
Jocelyn
(@jocelyn)
Estimable Member

Well Susan good point. I think it’s worth it.Over time this is like a toolbox, you use the tool you need.

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Posted : 04/06/2020 5:14 pm
John, jerseychicadee, Susan Wagner and 3 people liked
j.phillips189
(@j-phillips189btinternet-com)
Eminent Member

I enjoy music theory, it’s like deconstructing a puzzle.  It helps to train my ear- when I’m listening to music I can hear the scales and notes.  

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Posted : 05/06/2020 1:08 am
John, jerseychicadee, Susan Wagner and 3 people liked
Kevin Simmons
(@k_simmons)
Eminent Member

I think a certain amount of music theory can be very helpful.   For me, It seems like I began to understand how everything works together better once I learned how chords are constructed and that in turn helps you understand alternate chord placement up the neck.  It also helps relate how chords work with the different scale patterns. 

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Posted : 05/06/2020 11:51 am
John, jerseychicadee, Michael and 3 people liked
rg
 rg
(@rg)
Estimable Member

@k_simmonsAgreed, learning a little each day I think goes along way.

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Posted : 05/06/2020 12:03 pm
John, jerseychicadee, Kevin Simmons and 2 people liked
Susan Wagner
(@shysue)
Estimable Member

Thanks for all the comments on this, they were good ones and you all have convinced me to keep studying theory. 

I subscribe to another guitar teaching site (which will remain nameless because Devin probably would not appreciate me talking about other teachers on his site), and he talks about theory when he is teaching specific songs, like what makes a chord a sus chord, or a 7th, etc. It was what made me want to start studying theory, so I could understand what he was talking about. 

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Posted : 05/06/2020 5:50 pm
John, jerseychicadee, Jocelyn and 3 people liked
rg
 rg
(@rg)
Estimable Member

@shysueagreed

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Posted : 05/06/2020 6:42 pm
John, jerseychicadee, Susan Wagner and 2 people liked
jerseychicadee
(@jerseychicadee)
Eminent Member

In high school (47 years ago),  I took all the Music Theory offered. First Bachelor degree was in Music Education. After all these years, it’s like hearing a language I once spoke. Familiar but muddy. It makes sense and once in a while I really get it!!🤓 once a nerd always a nerd!

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Posted : 26/06/2020 1:57 pm
Susan Wagner
(@shysue)
Estimable Member

@jerseychicadee

That's when I should have learned it but I didn't. In junior high school I was in band and played the clarinet. Learned to read music then but they didn't really teach much music theory as far as scales, etc. in band. That must have been in another class I didn't take. In high school I majored in Agriculture because we had horses, LOL. It was a small rural high school and they didn't have a huge curriculum to choose from. Oh well.  

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Posted : 26/06/2020 4:42 pm
jerseychicadee
(@jerseychicadee)
Eminent Member

My dream was to be a band director/educator but soon into my bachelors program I realized I didn’t want to be a teacher of children. Became a nurse and educated patients instead 

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Posted : 26/06/2020 5:50 pm
Susan Wagner
(@shysue)
Estimable Member

@jerseychicadee

Bless you for what you do. I really admire nurses because it takes a special kind of person to become one, I think. My sister is a nurse and she works in a long-term care facility which worries me because of the Covid-19 risk there. So far she hasn't tested positive for this virus, but several of the nurses' aids have which is kind of scary. She started her career late, too, going to school to get an RN degree when she was in her late 40's. She's 70 now and still working because she does love her work, but I wish she would retire!  

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Posted : 27/06/2020 12:44 pm
rg
 rg
(@rg)
Estimable Member

I’m finding myself studying theory more and more daily when I’m transcribing songs.

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Posted : 28/06/2020 9:25 am
Brian Daniels
(@oldtimeplayer)
New Member

I've benefited a great degree and gotten a lot of mileage out of a small amount of music theory. I believe a person should understand the major scale. It's helpful to develop an understanding intervals of 3rds and 5ths and be able to identify them by ear. It makes sense to learn how the pentatonic scales (minor and major), blues scales, melodic minor and minor scales are derived from the major scale. A good idea is to know these scales so well you can sing them. (Quietly is OK but don't be shy about singing!)

A basic understanding of the circle of 5ths and how keys and tones are related to each other is valuable. These tools will speed the process of learning songs and tunes by ear. For country, old time, rockabilly, and folk music such as I play it, I've not needed more but I've not wanted less. 

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Posted : 01/07/2020 7:02 pm
jerseychicadee, rg, John and 1 people liked
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