It seems that there is this preconception out there that piano teachers are just theory pushers. That for some reason piano teachers just love to inflict misery and are happiest when trying to jam as much boring theory down piano students throats as possible.
But let me tell you why this isn’t the case: Theory is actually cool. (You might like to read that again.) “How is it cool, Ruth?” I hear you say, because I sound crazy right now, yeh?
Piano teachers (and all music teachers) love theory because it makes everything make sense. The meaning to life is a mystery but the meaning to music is so clear once you begin to understand how it works. All the pieces of the puzzle are there and the more you understand about music theory the more it all clicks into place like a magical rubix cube. Granted, some teachers can get over-excited and teach too much theory at once without giving the student a short term pay-off (gotta have the pay-offs!) but learning theory is what helps you understand songs, and once you understand songs, playing becomes easier. You will find it easier to memorise pieces, you will be able to compose or write songs quickly and easily to maximum effect, you will be able to remember keys, scales and chords at the drop of a hat because it is all connected!
It’s a journey! Once you have one of those “AHA!” moments where you understand why this or that is true then you will be hooked...
Possibly the best thing about theory is that it is the same for all music. It doesn’t change from instrument to instrument, genre to genre. Ok, Jazz theory gets a bit more complicated, but on the whole it is the same ball-game - you learn it once, you’ve got it for all of time and it is applicable to any instrument.
So it may be difficult at first and take some focus, but by choosing a piano course that understands this and gives you short term pay-offs as well as learning theory so that you don’t feel bored or overwhelmed, then it is all worth it. It’s a journey! Once you have one of those “AHA!” moments where you understand why the theory works, then you will be hooked! Just like those theory-pushing teachers.
What do you think of music theory? Keen or mean? Attack the comments below.