I like “boring” things.

I sometimes forget that there are people who think of music theory as “boring”. Are you one of them?

Think about a child first learning to sound out words, not able to string together a sentence. That’s what I hear when a person just starts learning to sing or play some notes without understanding how one might relate to another.

Think of a middle schooler reciting Shakespeare who—even if understanding the grammar—can’t really grasp the depth of meaning. That’s what I hear when an “advanced” student can play a bunch of notes—all at the precisely correct time—without ever really making music.

Think of the community theater actor who has been acting for years and can present a character convincingly… the same way that every other good community theater actor who has been acting for years can. That’s what I hear when I hear semi-professional performances of music that are quite good, but aren’t perhaps presenting a “magical” performance.

Think on the seasoned actor who can read into the depths of a script the things that no one else sees (maybe not even the playwright!) and presents a unique piece of art that stuns audiences night after night. This is what I hear in the great musicians who can take what seems like a jumble of dissonant notes and turn them into the most transcendent melodies and harmonies one could imagine.

How did we go from playing all the right notes yet not making music to the presentation of “magical” or “transcendent” musical experiences? By understanding the material more. The greatest actors don’t make it to the top by luck! Sure, there are some people with natural talent; but natural talent without understanding will stop short of the heavenly performance.

What was that about music theory being “boring”…?

1 Reader Comment

  1. Debbie Youngblood Hardy

    Great analogy!

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