Today I want to talk a little about how music theory can help you be more creative…
…Help you get better results…
…And how it can stop you from wasting your time.
“Theory can stifle creativity”.
Well, here’s why I believe that’s mostly wrong.
There are many great musicians, songwriters, and guitarists who claim to not know much theory.
My hunch is that a fair few of them downplay their knowledge of theory.
Those that actually really did avoid theory, would often prefer to try out a lot of ideas and see what they could come up with (i.e., using “trial and error”).
This can work.
The problem is, being a creative musician without theory is a bit like trying to walk a tightrope blindfolded.
It can work but it takes time and a lot of skill.
The truth is though, a great many musicians would often learn some theory – albeit in a non-formal way.
Knowing theory doesn’t mean sitting in a stuffy classroom with an intimidating teacher with elbow pads on his jacket, getting you to read music and staring at you with steely eyes from above his spectacles.
Most great musicians are real students of music (whether or not they show it publicly) and have studied tonnes of songs and learnt what works and what doesn’t.
Acquiring this knowledge takes time.
It’s lucky they started learning to play guitar when they were twenty or younger for the most part.
…But what if you’re not twenty, and you don’t have all the time in the world to figure things out on your own?
Well, in that case, a little theory can go a long way.
You only need to know the basics of theory to get started.
Don’t waste time with advanced chord theory, complicated modes, confusing harmonic knowledge, or anything like that (unless you are already rock-solid on the basics, and this really appeals to you, of course).
The basics include understanding the chords in a common key or two, some notes on the fretboard…
…How chords are created and how they relate to scales (this is essential for creating solos and melodies and I’ll talk about this tomorrow)…
…And connecting all the dots so your knowledge of theory is practical and not just some knowledge you never use.
A little theory can go a heck of a long way.
In some ways, theory is like having lots of money when you’re twenty. Investing the money at that age lets you reap the benefits later on in life. Theory is the same, but it can pay off quickly while giving you excellent yield on your time investment.
For more help with theory, including a simple way to learn it, check out the Dan Thorpe Acoustic Academy.
All new members get my theory book posted to your door as a free gift…
…But not only that, on Thursday, I’m releasing a new lesson which will show you how to use a tiny amount of theory to play wonderful melodies in just moments – before I had this knowledge, it took me at least 10x the amount of time to get the same results.
Keep enjoying your playing!
P.S. This post was originally taken from Dan Thorpe’s private email list. To get blog posts like this sent to you which are full of great tips to make fingerpicking, strumming, and learning guitar more enjoyable (especially if you are over 40) join Dan’s list. It’s 100% free, HERE.