Why are you studying theory?

Well lets introduce myself then I may be here awhile so Hi everyone and thanks Judi cheers again Hec

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I’m a creative and the type of person who wants to understand how things work. And, to me, playing a song as it is on a record is a bit like coloring by number. “Here are the notes you need to play and the order you play them in”. BUT WHY??? Because somebody else did it?

There is a place for that for sure, but improvisation is where my heart is. I’m a Phish fan. So a lot of the songs I want to learn beg for improvisation. I want to understand theory better so that I can be a better guitarist and more easily play what I hear in my head (cuz it rocks). :metal: :grinning:

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Well I think I am getting the hang of this community, I have actually asked for help and been giving it so to answer the question why theory ? I started it years ago and enjoyed it lots it fascinates me, its like maths it makes sense it work and its such a good feeling when you see it coming together so I want more and more, and that’s about it really and thanks to Justin and team, I can have it thanks so much Hec

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Why Music Theory? In order to understand music in depth, be able to study different compositions, this would even level up the transcribing game. Otherwise in general I’m more of a theory person than practical.
Why did I stop learning? Because I discontinued learning keys long ago but I could make sense of the theory taught by my teacher while just listening to music. Sheet music wasn’t much inspiring back then. Maybe I changed my mind right there.
Goal: to be able to improvise in any key and be able to study compositions in depth.

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I’m studying theory because it’s one of those things that I should’ve done properly YEARS ago but was too impatient (and intimidated) to do.

I’ve always been playing music: guitar since I was 13, school band and also a marching band. I learned the basic of reading music and tablature. But I am gifted with a musical ear, so I always just memorized the songs and/or figured them out myself.

After decades of alcohol addiction I finally got sober. Now I have a sharp, clear mind and a realization of those things in life that truly matter to me, one of them being music.

I truly want to become a great musician, and I realized that I can’t skate by on natural talent alone. I need to bite the bullet and learn the theory.

And who knew! I’m actually enjoying the process because I’ve had so many ‘ah-ha’ moments, where suddenly things that I “kind of” knew make sense! I feel like so much of this instrument has been unlocked for me. And I’m actually excited to learn more.

Sorry this post seems to be very dramatic. I just wanted to share how positive I feel about my guitar journey as this moment. :+1:

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I’m studying theory because I figure if you’re gonna do something, you ought to do it properly. It became apparent quickly to me that the theory would unlock conversations and explanations from other musicians, and help me understand and better use my instrument.

I guess I ‘quit’ music theory when I was a kid. Was in choir all through primary school, loved music, and had no trouble matching pitch, so all I needed to do was memorise the song, easy! School music classes would introduce reading sheet music briefly for a lesson or two, but I had no reason to learn. I was a smart kid, but couldn’t read music straight away, and I didn’t understand that that was normal for learning something new. Nobody knew that my concept of ‘learning’ was skewed so nobody thought to explain it to me. I just thought I was dumb in some specific areas.

As an adult, I’ve learned about working at things you aren’t instantly good at and now I can approach it with curiosity and patience, which I did not have back then! Also, doing this learning at my own pace and in private, coupled with the very supportive nature of this community, means I don’t have to fight that fear of failure which I had no chance against in my youth.

My big goal is to be able to write music - I want to take a niggling idea with some lyrics and a vague melody, sit down and have the skills to work it into something concrete and complete. Spending forever chasing notes and then researching chords to find the right ones each time sounds like a real drag. I want to have a good foundation to build from. I want to find the right notes intuitively because I know my instrument and I know how music works.

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Hey Justin. I am really enjoying the course so far. I’ve tried several other online tutorials and given up pretty quickly, largely because there was no real practical link to the music I am learning and listening to. Your written materials and quizzes make a huge difference. It is obvious that a lot of work went into their preparation. As for the larger question of “why” learn theory at all, the honest answer is “I’m not sure”. I have a sense that understanding the reasons why different types of music are structured they way they are will help me become a better guitarist. My ultimate goal is to have the ability to put chords together, improvise and enhance, and dissect songs by ear, at least in a basic manner. We shall see!

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I’m not studying theory, but I’ve been learning theory since day one and continue to learn more and more. It’s a process more than a course of study (for me). Why learn the language, street names and politics of a city/country that you don’t intend to visit anytime soon or maybe ever (if that works for you then live your best life)?

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Why am I studying music theory? I am a beginner and I like the idea of having some understanding of why things work and how they work. I have leaernt some chords but why do some chords have 4 strings, some 5, some 6. I really like the idea of being able to just jam with a friend or on my own, and if I have an understanding of the theory, hoping that helps me get to my goals. No lofty goals yet other than to keep improving and learning

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Why do I want to learn theory?
Because I like to know how things work and why they work, or don’t (it’s the engineer in me, I can’t help it!). I think it will help my understanding and provide a bedrock of knowledge that again, answers the “why” question, rather than just learning things “parrot fashion”. This is my first real attempt at theory since I learned trumpet in high school almost 50 years ago!

What do I want to get out of this course?
Understanding of why some things work musically, and why some things don’t. To get a basic knowledge but in a structured, measurable way - rather than just learning things out of a book or from random YT videos.

Big Goal
To be able to improvise a solo over chord changes by listening to what’s being played rather than planning everything out beforehand.

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Why do I want to learn theory?
I’ve graduated STEM major, always been interested in how things work, especially if it’s my hobby, something I love. I want to know why things are the way they are and how I can use them.

What would you like to get out of this course?
Grow as a hobbyst, as a musician, be able to talk with other musicians without being insecure.

If you have tried learning music theory before, why did it go wrong? How will you avoid that same problem?
I haven’t tried before, this is the very first time.

What’s your BHAG (Big Hairy Audacious Guitar Goal)?
Being able to confidently play for myself, family, friends, maybe small gigs or concerts. Teaching others if they’d like to learn this knowledge too.

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Welcome to the Community, @Daniel! I especially like your BHAG. I’ve always had difficulty articulating my own, but I think you’ve put it into words for me (OK, I’m not sure about small gigs, but the rest of it for sure!). Thanks for that!

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Why do I want to learn theory?
I’d like to be able to improvise and also play confidently with other people. I think theory would help with that. I’d also like to start making my own music and feel like a solid understanding of theory will be very beneficial for that.

What would you like to get out of this course?
Feel more confident about my playing. Be able to make up my own music.

If you have tried learning music theory before, why did it go wrong? How will you avoid that same problem?
I’m also enrolled in a free introductory music theory course on Coursera through the University of Edenborough. I like that course, and plan on continuing but think this course will be more practical. Time is my biggest constraint.

What’s your BHAG (Big Hairy Audacious Guitar Goal)?
Play with other people and make my own music.

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I want to learn music theory because I hope it will help me improvise, especially blues. Mostly I interested in playing for my own enjoyment, although I wouldn’t turn my nose up at jamming with others in a blues context if I felt sufficiently confident in my abilities.

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My goal is to get much better at guitar, to be a better guitar player and improviser. I already studied a lot of music Theory, but i feel there is so much more to learn. Really useful music theory that i can immedeatly apply into my playing. I think upto now that this course is gonna help me a lot to achieve my goals. I just subscribed to the Blues Immersions course and is want to be up to date with music Theory, specially on chords and chors extensions, major and minor scales, even modes. I play in a Big Band with a lot of scilled musicians, even some pro’s. They can point at the spot where there should be played a ninth or an eleventh not, what chord is played bij the different hornplayers toghether. This amazes me and gave me the urge to learn more about these methodes. Modes is another item i want to understand better and be able to use in a real life context. Although i have just turned 65 years old last month, i still think it isn’t impossible for me to learn a lot and get better, maybe even good on guitar. Thank You Justin

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Why I’m studying music theory. Good question. I feel like, as a guitar player, that I was always parroting a language I didn’t really understand. I can copy other people’s words, and sometimes feel kind of cool. But I have no idea what I’m really saying. So I want to learn the words and what they mean so hopefully I can learn to speak for myself. I still don’t know what I’ll have to say. But at least I’ll be able to finally speak and understand the language.

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I’ve had a couple guitar teachers with amazing command of the fretboard for soloing and/or the ability to transcribe songs due at least partly to their understanding of Music Theory. I can use all the help I can get: learning Music Theory, I believe, can help me play better as well as help me better understand music that I hear or read.

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Hello all.
I have worked all the way from most recent to oldest to tag you all. Phew. That was a job and a half.
Perhaps some of you have not visited the Community in a long time. Perhaps some of you have had your subscription to Practical Music Theory lapse or you completed the course and moved on. No doubt many of you are still working through the PMT grades.
I merely wanted to personally notify you all of an upcoming Live Club for PMT subscribers on Wednesday 19th June at 7pm UK time (UTC +1).

I have the incredible honour of deputising for Justin in a Q&A session.

If you have not yet registered to attend you can do so here.

You should be provided with a link to a short questionnaire to ask your theory question(s).
Don’t worry if you miss / missed it. You can use this direct link. The more questions you ask the more I can shape them in to a coherent session.

Discussion topic here.

Thank you. And I hope to see you there (in a sellout crowd!). :slight_smile:

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Hehe, I can only dream of mass-tagging like that :rofl:
Hopefully, I’ll be on a roadside in France that day, but look forward to checking it out on my return :smiley:

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I’ve said it before Richard…You really need to find a hobby… :rofl:Thanks

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