Music Theory vs. Instrument Playing Technique and Ability

Hi One Minute Music Lesson Fans,

I wanted to talk to you today about the difference between understanding music theory and the your playing abilities due to your level of technique.

Many beginning musicians make the assumption that it will take them years to become great on there instruments. This is in part due to the common learning traps that people fall into.

Many people begin by picking up an instrument because they have a passion for the sound of that instrument. You probably heard a beautiful piano piece or a rocking guitar solo and decided “Hey I want to play that!”

Then you got an instrument and either began taking lessons from a teacher or bought a beginners book on how to play.

Then the struggle began. You were immediately faced with the problem of not having enough technique to play your instrument well. Hand coordination was probably your biggest challenge. Pianist have trouble learning to play with both hands together. Guitarists have trouble contorting their hands around the neck of the guitar.

Then after some time, maybe years later, you finally got comfortable with your instrument and began to play pieces, but reading music was still a struggle and memorizing pieces was even harder.

You probably started many new pieces and gave up on them because they were too difficult to read and to hard to execute because you kept making mistakes just reading the notes.

This is exactly where people begin to give up and quit taking lessons or just put down their instrument for good. Some people keep going but never progress much more after this stage of development.

The problem was that you never understood how the music worked. You were simply reading the notes on the page and trying to play them, but you never had a clue how each note related to each other.

This happened because you did not understand music theory, or the mathematical underpinning of music.

You probably never learned it because your teacher really didn’t understand it all that well either. Sure they may have been able to play very well, but that was due to the years or decades more of time they have had to learn to cope with these exact problems. They have learned to navigate the patterns of music by trail and error and through literally thousands of hours of repetition to learn and see the hidden patterns in music.

By understanding music theory you prevent all these problems. You understand why the notes of a song are arranged the particular way that they are. You can read music much faster because you know what patterns to look for in the music. You recognize that there are not millions of combinations of notes,  just by simply knowing the basic rules of how notes form harmonies.

Music theory levels the playing field for musicians. This is how you become a great musician. It allows you to be literate on a level that gives you access to the hidden information that has been right in front of your face the whole time.

But why then do so many musicians not learn music theory? It’s confusing! But only because there are so many terrible books, videos and guides that try to teach people how it all works without giving them the foundation they need to really get it.

Often you find guides on music theory that use wish-washy language to describe concepts that are very simple when seen through the lens of basic mathematics. Chords, scales and harmonies are not clouded in a sea of mystery. They are very simple to learn and memorize when you understand that there are extremely simple patterns used to create every single type of chord or scale imaginable.

This is exactly why I am opening my music theory and ear training academy. I want to provide you with the tools to take the technical playing ability you already have and multiply it with a solid foundation of music theory so you can finally stop wasting hours of unproductive practice time and excel in your musical abilities.

Stay posted for my announcement on Sunday, July 8th, which will only go out to my newsletter members, with the complete and detailed course outline of the new academy. I will share with you then the exact path we will take together to teach you this valuable knowledge to take your musical abilities to the next level.

Until next time, Practice Smart, Not Hard,

Leon Harrell

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