As you might have read in What is music?, the effects of listening to music are great. But, the effects of musical education are even greater. Experts say that “with music lessons, because there are so many different facets involved, such as memorizing, expressing emotion, and learning about musical interval and chords, the multidimensional nature of the experience may be motivating to the IQ effect” (“Effect of Music on Children’s Intelligence”).
So, the knowledge of music theory essential to be a good musician? Well, theoretically no and practically yes. You can learn to play any instrument given you spend enough time with it. If you want to play for fun, you can start right away, learn a few chords and strum away. Musicians learn to play and improvise by listening to others, copying their style and sound. You can compose you own song and not know anything about music theory. Let’s draw an analogy to human speech. Not being well-versed in grammar doesn’t deter us from speaking, reading or even writing.
But, once you try to understand music theory, all the dots start connecting and you get a good idea and grasp of what its all about. It opens up a whole new dimension of your playing. You would be able to critically listen to music and to be able to detect errors (and other deviations from the score). Music theory allows us to speak with other musicians in a common language. It serves as a short-hand for referring to important points in the music. It allows composers to analyze the work of other composers so they can develop their own style.
So, here is a short movie about pure intuitive, instinctive feel based approach vs a structured, principle based approach
Next up: The guitar!