The word "Theory"

If your like me I think it was the word Theory that turned me away from the Music Theory lessons when I started playing guitar. It almost makes it sound like a science class or something not very fun. And maybe more advanced Music Theory will be like that, but the first 2 lessons that Justin has that are free are not like that at all.

I also thought it was for more advanced players but really if you know a few chords and a little strumming, Music Theory is a great thing to start. After going through the first 2 lessons it made stuff so much clearer to me and I understood things better. So even if your just beginning I would strongly recommend starting Music Theory early. And a big thanks to Justin for these and all the lessons.

https://www.justinguitar.com/classes/practical-fast-fun-music-theory

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Absolutely and not to be a salesperson but it is really great course behind the paid sub. Of course there are some more complicated concepts which I plan to revisit once I up my skill, but I dare to say it’s the best darn thing out there in the world wide web available which is super well explained and a bargain cost wise. So yes agree with you and hope you will enjoy further lessons :blush:

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@adi_mrok Yeah, it is definitely something I will continue with as I progress. Just the fact that someone can point to a position on the fretboard and I can say what note that is. That is huge to me. I don’t have them all memorized but it’s really easy for me to figure out now. Looking at those charts of a guitar neck with all the dots just made my head hurt. And thinking there’s no way I can memorize this. But learning how it works, it is so simple to me now.

Dave

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I agree about the word “Theory” being a bit off-putting. I’m trying to think of a better word or way of describing it than theory, but haven’t really come up with anything better.

And I think what helps is Justin adding ‘Practical’ to the course title. I find the theory beautiful, the way in which it all just hangs together, the patterns, the maths but the way Justin links it back to making music gives the study of the theory meaning. And wonderful that as beginners we can make use of it.

I’m ‘Plus 1’ on Adrian’s observation and am glad I’ve paid my lifetime subscription, even if so far I’ve gone no further than module 3.

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For sure on this, excellent value for money, especially as I am taking my sweet time and just starting Module 4.3. For me its the “practical” aspect that makes the difference and gives me the appetite for more. I would get nowhere fast just reading a dusty old theory book but being able to see “it” on the neck and then apply that theory for me makes a world of difference in my motivation to learn and more importantly understand.
:sunglasses:

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“Theory” is one of those odd, abstract terms that often denotes “dryness”, and a sense of distance from the task at hand. And in some areas of study, this is a fair comment, insofar as it applies to areas like the humanities, business etc.
For me at least, I don’t believe this applies to learning guitar, and music in general. Guitar is a hands on, practical endeavour. It can only be highly beneficial to learn the framework that applies directly to this hands on activity.
I wouldn’t trust a mechanic who doesnt know how an engine functions.

And Justins Practical Theory course does this superbly. For me, it has been the most beneficial teaching of Justin’s by a long, long way. It has an exponential affect on actually developing as a player.

Now I’m no expert, but I started Justins courses 19 months ago, arriving with a few open chords under my belt, and no idea about music “theory”. I started the theory course straight away, concurrent with the Beginner course.
What its giving me above all else, is not purely knowledge, but transferable practical knowledge. All learning is now much more than just particular to the specific situation. It becomes transferable, and “modifiable” all over the place - whether it be a lick, a scale, a chord, a chord progression or whatever.
This I think is the real power of music “theory”, particularly the way it is taught by Justin.

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Fantastic comments and insight in to how this thing we call ‘theory’ is beneficial. :+1:

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I love words :smiley:

Being thrown into a foreign language school at the age of 10 forced me to think about the ‘meaning’ more than your average punter.
I never really thought about the word theory before. Its roots derive from the Greek theos (god), and then theorin, which means to observe, speculate (esp, theatre).
I suppose we still have the god-aspect of the word in ‘divining’ (guessing, piecing together how something works).
In practice (haha), I see theory as simply trying to understand what is happening.
It’s not necessary but can be extremely helpful and is often fun.

God, I love words

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Every day’s a school day :smile:

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Interesting conversation. I’ll be rebranding the course soon without the word theory :slight_smile: I feel the same about the negative connotations of the word.

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@DavidP for some reason I overlooked the word “Practical”. it wasn’t till my youtube was on auto play and started playing a video on Music Theory that I realized what it was. Then I went through the first 2 lessons and will most definitely get this subscription. I think it even made the way I listen to music different(in a good way).

It’s so much easier to learn and understand things if it makes sense to me. I kinda feel like if I would have done this earlier on I would be farther along on actually playing.

Dave

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Justin’s Practical Music ? hope you have better marketing guys than me ! :rofl:

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Snowflake :snowflake: :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye: (characters)

There are many uses of the word theory that I have found to be problematic. The common understanding of the word theory tends to be along the lines “a theory is an unproven idea or a speculation.” This can cause problems when theory is attached to things like the theory of gravity, number theory, etc. There are many areas of fact that unfortunately have the word theory attached to them. Music theory is one of these cases.

Personal I would prefer it be labeled something along the lines of Musical Structure or Principles or something similar. To me the study/understanding of music theory is not at all unproven or speculative but a study/understanding of musical structures.

Glen

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Maybe just a lesson named something else that explains what “Music Theory” is and what it’s all about on a simple level. Maybe that’s already there and I just missed it somehow. :upside_down_face:

Dave

@OpsRes makes a very good point imho.

Theorising is fundamental to the scientific method.

Musical structure, its many facets, descriptions and levels of understanding are beyond or different to speculations. What we know as ‘music theory’ is actually ‘music knowledge’. It exists beyond the realm of needing repeated and objective observation for ratification, the collection of evidence for testing or peer assessment for general acceptance.

It is a standard and conventionally accepted structure of musical terminology and description that derives from how music is played and used.

It is akin to grammar, spelling, punctuation etc - the study of language. Language is the means of communication we use from our mouths and in graphical images and writing. The study of language is not called ‘language theory’. Nor should the study of music really be called ‘music theory’.

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I would speculate that at the level of most of us and most practical musicians (including professional performing artists) theory about music knowledge is a step beyond necessary. What is needed is a factual understanding of the well known parts and there application to how and why music is played like it is and how to make parts fit together.

However, music as a language, like a spoken language, has a profound level that still is open to interpretation and probably not completely or rigidly explainable.

So to me, “Music Theory” would be a deeper study of the interpretation of how we think of, hear, respond to and try to organize music. Like language theory. What is the nuance of how and why words have meaning and how that meaning evolved and is evolving still.

I would compare it to my world. I am a neurologist, a practicing physician. There is a difference between my need for practical knowledge that applies to real world presentations of illness and the knowledge sought by a neurophysiologist and other researcher of neuroscience trying to understand why and how our nervous system works.

So a “Practical application of music structure” is more appropriate for most needs, but a mouthful to name a course. Good luck with that!

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I’m the same, but I grew up with a love of Science and Engineering, and understanding how stuff works is kind of in my blood.

Interestingly, the word “theory” is often misused.

Exactly. In reality, in Science, a Theory is the pinnacle of human understanding of a subject.

People use the word “Theory” when, in a lot of cases they mean “Hypothesis”.

Cheers,

Keith

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Riffing off what others have said; how about, simply, “The Language of Music”?

Or if this is too vague: “The Structure and Language of Music”?

Or, more simply: “How Music Works”

Cheers,

Keith

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