Saturday, September 17, 2011

Music Theory is to Playing Music as...

...Israel is to the Reading the Bible.

OK, I admit, I am a nerd because I do like music theory.  My sweet husband actually said this the other night.  And to me it made complete sense... Music theory is to playing music as visiting Israel is to reading the Bible.

Let's start with Israel.  Two friends of ours recently did go to Israel.  And on their return you could tell they just experienced something very significant.  One of the comments from them afterwards was that reading the Bible will never be the same.  That before this, they loved reading the Bible - learning from it, wrestling from the tough parts, gaining comfort and strength from God's Word.  But before the Bible was still black and white words written on the page.  After seeing, hearing, walking, experiencing and learning in the context that the Bible was created in - Now the Bible is alive to them.  Full of colour and action and life.

Music theory is the context in which music is created.  Not nearly as significant as the Bible, but I feel it does apply.  You can listen to music and even play music without understanding why it sounds good.  It can be beautiful and move you inside.  Music theory adds the context that allows you to know why it sounds so good, and I believe that enhances the beauty.  It's the difference between "That sounds cool" and "That was amazing because..."  Music theory also adds the context that allows you to know if and why music sounds bad.  Without theory, if you play something that sounds awful, all you can say is "I hope I don't do that again!"  But with theory you can figure out what just happened and make a new musical choice.  Music theory for a player changes it from needing to be told what to do, to having the ability to think about what music expression you want to make, and give you the tools to do it.

And yes, I just found an online music theory exam to do for fun....

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