Music Theory Dilemma

I have to reiterate the importance of having Music Theory as part of the students’ music education.

A basic definition of music theory is the study of how music works.  It encompasses the basic elements of music -

  • Rhythm
  • Melody
  • Harmony
  • Structure
  • Form
  • Texture

Music Theory and Performance go hand in hand. A student having little understanding of theory is missing a huge piece of the puzzle“.

As a musician

Music theory should be an integral part of music education. For example, the most beneficial aspect of music is knowing

  • how to identify and name the notes from the sheet music
  • understand and count Rhythm  It is about understanding the music that you are playing.
  • know the performance directions and be able to play it as what the composer wants

As a Listener

Even a basic knowledge in music theory can help a listener. Although no one learns music theory just to be able to listen to music, it can benefit in:

  • improving your listening experience when you understand what you are hearing
  • appreciate the musicianship more profoundly if you understand the common practices of the times

Basically, Music Theory is about understanding the music that you are playing or listening to. To have a heightened awareness of and attentive ears.

So if you are still in a dilemma if Music Theory is important, this will change your views of it.


Even if you play by ear, you still need know to have basic knowledge of music theory. You might eventually want to notate the melody in your head to paper. It is still useful to equip yourself with basic knowledge of music theory.

Remember, the good musicians are those who understand how music works.

Make time for theory. It is important and in the long run, theory helps with playing any instrument as one progress.

Music theory class is also taught by me if you need to improve on that skill.