• Candice Alderfer

7 Good Reasons to Start Learning Music Theory Today!

Updated: Feb 15, 2019

Learning music theory can seem like a very daunting challenge and you may sometimes feel extremely confused as to what to start learning first. And if you are anything like me, adding and subtracting without the use of both your toes and fingers is, to say the least, impossible. But fear not! I am on the beginning stages of attempting to learn how to read and write music entirely on my own, and let me say, it's actually quite fun! Who knew I would enjoy anything so closely tied to the subject of math. If you have ever thought about learning music and weren't sure as to if it were really worth the time and effort, here are seven reasons to convince you that you won't regret embarking on a musical journey through different scales and key signatures.

1. You're a performer

  • I cannot begin to tell you how many singers I know who don't know how to read music, myself included, up until now, sort of. We just have too many resources available to us that help us get away with that, whether that be pianists giving us tapings to practice to, having other peers who can read music there to tell us what key we need our music in, or listening to original cast recordings on Spotify! I am definitely guilty of practicing to original cast recordings online, which I now highly discourage. Words cannot justify how embarrassing it has been to find sheet music to a song to sing, only to hear your pianist play your intro in an ENTIRELY different key from what you've rehearsed to on Spotify. I am no music theory genius at the moment, and I still have a journey ahead of myself to learning everything I want, but I can say that I no longer have any difficulty finding the right sheet music for myself, all because I see the importance of a understanding a key signature.

  • Sight reading is SOOOOO beneficial. You won't always have a pianist, a friend, or even Spotify around to constantly help you. Or maybe you will. But for the sake of my argument, lets just pretend you won't. How cool would it be to sing music you have never seen before without the help of anyone else? No need to rely on getting a taping last minute taping to your part in a harmony if you know what the notes are that you're singing. Why not be able to find the notes on a piano because you know what the notes are on paper? Piano apps are free on our phones, so need to go out and splurge on a YAMAHA grand piano to help you with this.

2. You have in interest in writing music

  • That's my goal and the reason I am in the midst of my learning journey. Music is a language, and the best way to communicate that language is not only knowing how to hear or sing, but how to write. Imagine how different your world would be without being able to write a letter to your loved one, or in our day in age, text message... haha. Not be able to laugh at a meme on social media or read cliche instagram captions. Or read a menu at a restaurant. Or read street signs and directions. How about watching a shitty movie based on an amazing book? Too bad you can't read the book to make that judgment for yourself. To say the least, your world would be much different. To be a creator, you must know how to create. So if you're like anything like me, this reason alone is important enough to learn music theory.

3. It looks great on your resume

  • If you've done enough auditions, you'll learn that its great to have special skills on your resume that can help you land a job. Your skills and special talents are easy things to help put you ahead of someone else after your dream role. Especially at a time now where reading music is not something every performer can do greatly. Not only will it look great on your resume, but it will help you in so many other aspects in your musical career.

4. You want to learn an instrument

  • I recently just took up trying to learn the guitar. I've been watching a lot of video tutorials online and the only information I really take away from these videos is where to place my fingers on the guitar neck. I wasn't trying to understand the relationships between one chord I was playing to another. Music is all about relationships. Relationships between notes, between scales, between keys, even the relationship between the musician and the instrument. Plus, you'll eventually need to learn to read the music to songs you'll want to learn to play, and there might not be a video tutorial on every song you want.

5. You have a great ear

  • Having a great ear will make learning theory that much easier for you. If you understand how a major scale differs from a minor scale just based on hearing the music, you can always double check yourself by playing what you think is right on a piano, and listening for if something sounds off. If your ear really is that great, music theory will probably feel less difficult to understand and relate too. In terms of learning different scales, each will evoke a different feeling or emotion when hearing them, helping you differentiate how to write one scale from another. There are other ways having a great ear will help you in learning, but scales are one of the many great examples.


  • Okay, its not THAT easy. If it were, I'm sure you wouldn't need to add it to your special skills on your resume. Lol. You are going to have challenges and obstacles, just like life in general, but that shouldn't be a reason to stop you from learning. You may not be able to attend a music school to get the education you want, but there are so many resources available to you out there for free! Read blog posts, watch videos, ask friends, buy a BOOK! Social media is also an amazing tool to help you learn. Follow music pages that post pictures with tips and tricks to understanding theory. The internet alone is full of endless resources to help you. Oh, and don't forget the library!

7. Because you want to

  • I'm learning that life is too short to not do what makes you happy. Music makes me happy and has been a part of me for as long as I can remember. But there is always more for me to learn and endless reasons for me to grow. My dream is to one day is to compose my own work and that reason alone drives me to to this. I can give a million reasons as to why you should and would want to learn music theory. But the bottom line is that no matter what I say or how I say it, you will only find a way to learn if you really want to. You're here for a reason, right? So stop being hesitant, start being fearless and chase after your dreams. Follow me on my journey to self learning.

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