5 reasons you should learn music theory now!

By Jade Bultitude
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Happy New Year everyone! I hope you all had a wonderful winter break! We are now one week into 2021! I hope you are all feeling motivated to improve your music theory – here are my 5 reasons you should learn music theory!

But before we look at why you should learn music theory, it is important to understand exactly what music theory is! 

What is music theory?

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The Oxford Dictionary defines music theory as: ‘The study of the theoretical aspects of music and its notation, especially as opposed to actual performance’. What we are doing when studying music theory is understanding the written notation, rather than the performance aspect. The rules you will learn in music theory are very much like the rules you learn when learning grammar in a language. Just like the famous stories and fables that we know, which are passed down generations using written text. Music uses notation to pass down famous compositions and songs. Imagine if Mozart or Beethoven didn’t have a way to write down their music… what a tragedy that would be!

So how does this apply to you and why should you start learning music theory? Here are my 5 reasons you should learn music theory!

Why should you learn music theory?

By understanding music theory, you will find that you can play and understand any piece of music. 

If you understand the geography, structure and elements that are written down in your piece of music, you will be able to give a precise performance. Particularly in classical music, there are many elements which have to be written down to be understood. Think about all those dynamics in your piece of music, how could you give an authentic performance if you didn’t understand all of those markings?

You will be able to compose and write your own music!

If you understand music theory you will then be able to compose and notate down any music that you come up with. This is so exciting as it opens up so many possibilities for you creatively! 

Your understanding of the composer’s intentions will be much clearer

If you understand music theory you will find that you can understand what the composer intended far easier. Composers often write their pieces with very specific instructions. If you do not understand the notation used; how can you be expected to play the piece authentically as the composer wanted?

By taking a Grade 5 exam in theory you can progress to higher grades in performance

Many exam boards have the requirement that you should take the Grade 5 theory exam. You have to do this before progressing onto any higher performance grades. This is so important as it will mean you have a deeper understanding of the elements of your harder pieces. This means that your performances of these pieces will be much stronger now you have the theoretical knowledge to back it up. 

Learning music theory is fun!

Personally, I love music theory. It is fascinating to me how great composers write down incredibly complicated music! Learning how to compose your own music is such a wonderful skill and for you to be able to play pieces to a high standard requires this! 

Don’t forget, being a musician does not require you to understand music theory, many of the most famous musicians in the world cannot read a single note! But if you plan on reading music, taking a music exam or taking part in an ensemble then I very much encourage you to ensure that you have a deep understanding of music theory!! So why not get started today!

We have a free time signature quiz on our website… what better place to get started and test out your theory knowledge?!

Need some music theory practice, have a go at one of our free music theory activities. They are on a variety of topics such as note naming, the circle of fifths and scales.  

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Jade is a flute player and music educator with a passion for educating the next generation of musicians. She is a Masters Graduate from Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance. Jade has been helping people learn music theory for more than 10 years from pre school children all the way to degree level studies.