Learning Music Theory: 
10 Myths

Learning music theory is difficult, boring and only for nerds. Really? Here are some popular myths and misconceptions about what music theory is, and is not.

Top 10 Myths About Learning Music Theory

1. Music Theory is for Nerds and Geeks

Wrong! We are cool, brilliant and sexy! But nerds and geeks are welcome too!

2. Analyzing Music Takes Away All Creativity and Enjoyment

Well, that would depend on the person. Learning more about the construction and parts of a musical composition actually for many deepens the appreciation for the beauty of the work in all its complexities.

However, you do run the risk of understanding that some music compositions and songs are crap.

3. Music Theory is Boring

Learning Music Theory

Could be true if it is taught in a boring way. Anything can be boring if taught by an uninspired teacher.

Music theory is the knowledge about music and how it is constructed. It is also giving you the tools to make your own music easier, there’s nothing boring about that!

4. Having Absolute Pitch Makes You a Great Musician

Nope. There are a few people who have what is called perfect pitch. They can say exactly what note a particular tone is only by listening. That includes also sirens and alarms.

While it occasionally might be useful as a musician, it is more often a nuisance since it's torture to always be able to hear exactly how false or out of tune a song or musical piece is.

Most people are equipped with relative pitch, which can be improved if you like that kind of thing. But it does not make you a better musician!

5. You Can Only Compose Music if You Have Learned Music Theory for Many Years

Absolutely not! You can create music without knowing any music theory or note reading at all.  But it does make it easier.

6. If You Know Music Theory You Can Play Your Instrument Better

Wishful thinking! But it will be easier to read music and understand a composition better. It is also easier to memorize written music, since you have learned a way to organize a music piece in your «mind».

7. Music Theory is Difficult

Basic music theory is easy. But sometimes, it seems that some teachers like to make it seem really, really hard... Like it is cooler that way. Or maybe they were taught that way.

Analyzing music on advanced levels is harder of course, but there is no reason to jump directly there- is it?

8. Learning Music Theory is Only for Smart People

No. But you will get really smart studying it! : ) Or at least you will feel smarter!

9. Learning Music Theory is Necessary to be Able to Play an Instrument

Whoever said that is trying to keep you from playing... - Of course not!

10. Musicians Who Improvise Never Use Music Theory

A popular myth and such a misconception. Any musician who is improvising is using music theory- all the time!

They might not think they do, since they might not have read it in a book, but as you improvise you have learned to collect ideas, musical patterns, various nice scales and modes, great sounding chord progressions in your head...

You know what? That is music theory- in practice!


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