Music Theory

 

THE IMPORTANCE OF MUSIC THEORY TO GUITAR IMPROVISATION AND SONG WRITING

Wondering why you should go through the trouble of learning music theory?

Or why Levels For Guitar emphasizes building fundamental skills instead of just learning to cover songs off of YouTube?

What’s with the extra work?

We get these questions a lot. And like you we want to cut to the chase and get stuff done!

Right?

There is a documentary about the Duke College Basketball program and how they went from nothing to having the best basketball program in college year after year. It boiled down to the coach’s philosophy and discipline of practicing the fundamentals.

The coach changed things up having the team play less basketball. You read that right. In the past the practice regimen had consisted of nothing but 5 on 5 scrimmages following the logic that to get good at basketball, they should play lots of basketball.

In the mind of the new coach this was exactly wrong.

The coach ended this mindless repetition and started focusing on the fundamentals and teamwork. The first thing he did was have the teams practice passing the ball and teaching the players how to move while keeping their hands up for blocking shots.

They spent entire practices focusing on details like this. It’s hard to focus on the details of footwork in a game, so they had to start slow and get the movements into muscle memory. Once this is accomplished, the game takes care of itself. The theory of the game and discipline of fundamentals can have an impact in a matter of weeks verses mindless hacking on the court for years.

What does this have to do with guitar?

Everything.

Guitar players who do not have their fundamentals will have problems like learning how to play fast guitar solos or how to change quickly between difficult chord passages. These are physical problems rooted in the lack fundamental technique.

Issues like these won’t resolve themselves by doing the same mindless work that created the problems to begin with. Instead the correct action is to focus efforts on learning scales and playing them slowly while implementing proper technique.

Speed comes later.

Slow is smooth, smooth is fast.

A great guitar instructor will be able to go through the details on how to do this. At Levels for Guitar proper technique is a staple of of all the training we provide. Once you learn how to play scales properly and efficiently, guitar solos take care of themselves. The same can be applied to chord changes which we also address.

Guitar players frequently ask for advice on how to create great sounding melodies in their guitar solos. They ask because they don’t understand how some guitar players can create guitar improvisations on the fly.

Poorly trained guitarists will spend hours trying to find the right notes while a properly trained guitarist can create solos on the spot. This is a mental block rooted in the lack understanding of how music works.

This is called music theory.

Music theory is what makes quick guitar improvisation possible. 

Don’t be intimidated by this. You don’t have to have a music degree to implement music theory. It is possible for children to learn how to implement music theory into really good sounding guitar solos using the coursework at Levels for Guitar.

It’s not that difficult nor is it boring provided you learn the fundamentals of music theory in a logical and practical manner. Too many books focus on insignificant details that often waste time and discourage students.
Levels for Guitar takes great care to gradually introduce music theory as small digestible chunks. As your technique improves, so does your knowledge of music theory.

When you graduate into intermediate and advanced levels of playing you will begin applying music theory to your guitar playing in the form of your own chord progressions and lead guitar parts over those chords.

In other words… you become a song writer! You will save time by taking the guess work out of finding the right chords and melodies to your songs.

This just one example out of an infinite number of advantages that understanding music theory can do for you as a complete guitarist.

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