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Old 10-18-2012, 02:57 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Is Classical Music Training Overrated/Worthless?

What are the values of learning notes, sightreading, etc? I've been composing for over a year, and I've never really grasped music theory. What's the value of it? Is it necessary to make kick-ass music? And where's the "Music Theory for 3 Year Olds" book?
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Old 10-18-2012, 03:02 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Music, like any art form, can be boiled down to fundamental building blocks. Once you know how to stack the blocks then you can start to experiment with different styles, time signatures, modulations, any really anything you can imagine, but at the heart of it all are those fundamental blocks. If you never learn what those blocks are or how to stack them, then you're severely limiting yourself to only a couple of genres of music. If the prospect of only ever playing 8th note power chords doesn't upset you, then by all means, pack that shit away, load up a bowl and crack open a beer, but don't call yourself a musician, or at least acknowledge the real ones when you meet them.
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Old 10-18-2012, 04:08 PM   #3 (permalink)
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So just because one doesn't know the ins and outs of notes and scales means they aren't a musician? That's kinda closed-minded and insulting to the many successful self-taught artists, no?
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Old 10-18-2012, 04:11 PM   #4 (permalink)
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So just because one doesn't know the ins and outs of notes and scales means they aren't a musician? That's kinda closed-minded and insulting to the many successful self-taught artists, no?
You need to take things into context. Classically trained musicians don't wait for somebody to grasp the music, its expected that you can read sheet music and play by visually surveying the notes immediately. There are many self taught musicians in the world throughout music but I doubt you would find even one in the classical field.
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Old 10-18-2012, 04:20 PM   #5 (permalink)
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You need to take things into context. Classically trained musicians don't wait for somebody to grasp the music, its expected that you can read sheet music and play by visually surveying the notes immediately. There are many self taught musicians in the world throughout music but I doubt you would find even one in the classical field.
I wasn't referring to the genre, I was referring to being trained in music (as Pete was too, I think). Sorry if I didn't make that clear.
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Old 10-18-2012, 04:32 PM   #6 (permalink)
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I wasn't referring to the genre, I was referring to being trained in music (as Pete was too, I think). Sorry if I didn't make that clear.
I knew you weren't, I was just using that as an example where being self taught would bring you no help whatsoever. Being self taught in every other genre besides classical and jazz wouldn't generally hinder your progress. I don't see how being classically trained could be overrated or worthless in any event. Learning to read music teaches you many viable things that can increase your ability. For example, I remember studying vocal training with some people many moons ago, and some of the people couldn't detect sliding their vocal range from a half step to a full step. After hearing the difference, they could then visually detect through reading the music how to effect their slides and hit the right pitch and their were virtually no mistakes at that point. If someone wasn't able to decipher this by ear alone then they would make this mistake the rest of their life and never even know it.
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Old 10-20-2012, 12:05 PM   #7 (permalink)
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What are the values of learning notes, sightreading, etc?
There are none.
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Old 10-20-2012, 12:18 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Being classically trained is just a different approach to making music; it's not inherently better or worse. One can promote discipline and develop patience, the other can be more abstract and spontaneous. It just depends on what you want to do with music; sightreading is essentially as useful as playing by ear. One is good for jamming and covering music without easy access to sheet music. The other is good for more harmonically complex works and has reliable accuracy. You think it's an insult to DIY musicians to say that they need to know scales in order to be called musicians? Fine, but realize that it's equally insulting to refer to the method that people have subscribed to for hundreds of years as being 'worthless'.
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Old 10-20-2012, 12:26 PM   #9 (permalink)
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I think it depends on what you are writing/who's gonna play. If you're writing complex piano parts, or if you're writing a classical piece for someone else to play, then I guess it's necessary. But if you are writing a simple acoustic guitar song that you are going to play yourself, I think it's enough with chords, tabs and lyrics.
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Old 10-21-2012, 06:22 AM   #10 (permalink)
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There are none.
Until you try working in a professional environment.
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