Busting the Guitar Music Theory Myth: If I Learn Too Much Theory, It Will Cramp My Style and Creativity

myth busterThis is one of the biggest myths in music.

Some guitarists use it as an excuse for being lazy, while others genuinely believe that learning guitar music theory will somehow stifle their creativity and destroy their style and originality.  It’s time for the truth…

First let’s consider what music theory really is.

Music theory is simply a way of learning how sounds are organized into a coherent artistic whole.

When you learn more about music, you are learning what the great composers and performers have done.  This means you can learn from them and not have to reinvent the wheel.

Think about Steve Vai, Joe Satriani, Randy Rhoads, Zakk Wylde, Steve Morse, Al Di Meola, and Stevie Ray Vaughan to name just some of the guitar greats.  These players were or are obsessive about learning everything about music.  This is regardless of whether they studied music in a formal setting or not.

None of the great guitar players learned guitar in a vacuum.

As you learn new things you will have additional tools that you can decide to use or not.

Just because you learn a new theoretical concept, a new way to practice a scale, or new way to create a melodic pattern, does not mean that you have to be a slave to it.  You are the one that gets to decide whether you use it.

Let’s say you want to write your own song or guitar solo.  You can choose to shut off your analytical brain and just use your ears to come up with what sounds best.  Or, you can use some of your knowledge to consider what should work best. You also have a third option.  This is the one I use the most: you can use a combination of the two.

“Although knowledge of it [theory] is not a prerequisite of being a great guitar player or musician, I feel that if you are going to learn to speak a language, it helps to know how to read and write it.”

Steve Vai

So why take the very long trial-and-error road when you can shorten your learning curve and learn from the best?  It just doesn’t make sense to take the long route when a much shorter one is available.

Become a better guitar player now, by understanding guitar music theory and how to apply it to the guitar-> Guitar Theory: It’s Easier Than You Think.

About Don J MacLean

Don J. MacLean is one of the world's leading authorities on accelerated learning systems for guitar—with students using his methods in more than 50 countries worldwide. Don is the author of over 60 books including The World of Scales, the Absolute Essentials of Music Theory for Guitar, How I Got Killer Guitar Chops While I Was Still in High School: Confessions of a High School Shredder, 21 Secrets to Learn any Guitar Song Super-Fast, and Guitar Essentials: Chord Master Expanded Edition.

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