Can Guitar Music Theory Destroy Music for Pleasure?

The other night I was out with some of my old high school buddies.  In our conversation, an interesting question was posed by my buddy Rob.  He asked:

“Don, with all of the training you’ve had in music, can you still listen to music for pleasure?”

Rob continued and asked:

“Can you shut it off, or are you always analyzing music?”

So what do you think?

If you really understand guitar music theory and how to apply music theory to guitar, are you forced to analyze everything you listen to, or can you shut it off whenever you want?

Before I answer this, we need to make sure we’re on the same page on what music theory actually is.

Music theory is simply a way organizing what composers have been doing for hundreds of years.  Unfortunately, music theory is often taught so it seems like a bunch of useless boring things given to music students as a form of mental torture!  The good news is when you learn music theory the right way, it’s fun and often becomes addicting.

When you apply music theory to the guitar, it’s usually called guitar theory, or guitar music theory.

With a good understanding of guitar theory, you don’t have to reinvent the wheel.  You get to learn what other guitar greats have done and you’ll see why it works so well.  With a good understanding of guitar theory, you see the big picture as well as the little picture.  You understand how everything works.  It’s sort of like how the pieces of a puzzle fit together.

You’ve probably heard that knowledge is power.  Napoleon Hill took this a step further by saying:

“Knowledge is only potential power.”

What he meant by this is that knowledge is only power when we actually use it.  So to get the most out of guitar theory, you must apply it to the guitar.

You need to see how it works on the guitar fretboard.

You must see how guitar scales and guitar chords really work on the fretboard, and how they are used in songs.

Okay, so now that we’re on the same page about what guitar theory actually is, let’s get back to the original question.

As you understand things more, don’t you usually appreciate them more?

The same is true with guitar music theory.  When you understand guitar theory, you will actually appreciate music even more.

When you understand guitar theory, you will hear things in music you never heard before.  This is a common thing I see with my guitar students.  As they start to learn more guitar fretboard theory, my students start to hear guitar parts they never noticed before.  This is really powerful stuff!  On top of that they also start to understand what these parts are.

When you understand how things work, you’ll be able to make them work for you.  In other words, as you begin to “get it”, you start to find it easier and easier to learn songs, and guitar solos.  You also find it easier and easier to create your own songs and killer guitar solos too!

Once you grasp guitar theory, you always have the option to turn it on, or off—and it’s very easy to do.   You can listen to music and analyze everything, or you can sit back and just listen to the music purely for pleasure. It’s a lot of fun doing this.  You’ll love it too.

If you are ready to discover a simple proven way to learn guitar theory and improve your guitar playing faster, check out Guitar Theory – The Absolute Essentials of Music Theory for Guitar.

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