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Is Music Theory Useful?

Discussion in 'Music Theory [DB]' started by Chris Fitzgerald, Mar 29, 2004.

  1. nypiano


    Feb 10, 2003
    Probably the biggest obstacle in understanding this issue comes from the issue of self consciousness, which really is like going back to an Adam & Eveish kind of appraisal of the human condition which metaphorically associates this with the devil :cool: . You can’t create well when you think about it. You can’t meditate when you think about meditating and you can’t sleep if you try to think yourself to sleep. And you can’t play a good solo if every time you play something the little Warner Bros. figures of your own iconic jazz angels and devils appear on your shoulders. You also can’t judge yourself accurately if you are micromanaging and hyper vigilant of your own processing and progress. I’m sure Coltrane would just giggle if he heard all the students religiously practicing and playing his 1235 in sequences and descending bebop dominant scales. Both out of flattery and perhaps his inspired hope that the student would be able to create something personally meaningful and original by the absorption and repetition of this approach.

    At some point trust in the process has to give way. Musical theory is like any other communicative medium -that is not about the act of creating a work of art for the purpose of its own appraisal as such-(jeez that was ugly) , it can be inspiring, thought provoking a means of inspiring excitement, dialogue, new actions, etc. But it should not be mistaken for the act of creation itself. That is up to the individual-who will hopefully be inspired, creative and uninhibited by his intellect. The knowledge is out there and the more inspiring the teacher, the better it is for everybody else. The fact that there are so many theories and approaches that can coexist just attests to the depth of the art and perhaps it’s reflection of the relativistic nature of reality.

    Practicing what you preach is the hardest. I think many, including myself, can often get on the soapbox when I probably should’ve gone into the practice room. Like now. Oh well I’m at work..so I have an excuse.

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