Music Theory Rant

A big thank you to Hayley who has provided our first reader submitted question. She asked if I can talk a little about music theory, and oh can I. As someone who is a theory nerd from my physics days and a music nerd from birth, I've always really enjoyed talking about theory, and I even considered majoring in it at one point. I'm going to go over a couple of basics, and I'm going to give you my unsolicited and unpopular opinion about theory as a whole.

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I don't have time

"We're not sure if he'll continue in the fall, he'll just be starting high school and we don't want him to be overwhelmed."

This is a totally legitimate concern. If something destabilizing is happening in your life, you want to have extra time to deal with it. I've definitely done it before. I just graduated from college and took about a month off, just to get settled.

Here's a list of things that might prevent you from giving your all in music lessons

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What's Written

You could call it laziness, you could call it an educational exercise, but what you can't call it is a waste of time. I'm a clarinet player, which means I'm used to seeing a lot of notes that aren't necessarily musically important. One of the ways I learn music is to simplify it. I naturally gravitate toward more musical pieces with less virtuosic technique, but that is almost impossible to avoid when you study any music formally, especially clarinet solo standards.

The music below is an excerpt from one of the etudes that I'm currently working on. How would you simplify it to make it easier for sight reading and understanding?

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Scales. *shudder*

I tried to fight scales every year of my degree. My very first long-term clarinet teacher didn't believe in playing scales every day as long as you knew them. So when I went to Florida State, and had to pass scale juries every semester. I suffered through test after test of major scales, harmonic minor scales, melodic minor scales, natural minor scales, thirds, dominant chords, etc. until I realized scales would only get better if one of the following things happened:

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