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Old 25th July 2019
Gear Guru
Brent Hahn's Avatar

Originally Posted by newguy1 View Post
My advice for learning theory would be more Beatles: develop your intuition by doing what you love, and pick up theory here and there as it interests you and fuels your ongoing creative drive.
That's not wrong. But what you'll do is, as you say, pick up theory here and there. If you want to be more proactive about it, you can work your way through a good Fake Book with a lot of standards in it. Hum the tunes and plod through the chords and you'll start to notice patterns and tendencies and "best practices."

One thing that's so wrong with the academic approach to theory and composition is that they tend to treat it as a "how-to." But I think theory is best explained through reverse-engineering -- using it to show how an existing piece of music works. As well as using it to show when something's especially creative and artful. As in, "... at this point you expect it to resolve predictably, but instead it veers off in this more interesting direction."