To become an accomplished guitarist being able to perform correctly is not enough, it is also extremely important to gain a complete knowledge of music and guitar theory. With music theory we tend to identify all those aspects related to music not technically related to the playing technique. In other words all those aspects which don’t affect the playing technique in a physical way, but which can deeply affect the overall qualities and skills of the musician. After all there is plenty of incredible guitarists who perform without almost any idea of the amount of theory behind what they do. In light of that consideration studying theory could be seen almost useless, but this is absolutely not true. The knowledge of the laws of music are absolutely essential to improve many of the skills a guitarist shold own.
Having perfectly clear how a scale is created, how to get the chords you can play in a certain key, how to change a key in a smooth way, how to identify a key by means of sharps and flats, how to identify the timing of a song, how to read not only tabs but a proper music sheet ect.. are all incredibly useful tools in the process of learning or creating a song or a solo.
Unfortunately nowadays, thanks to the internet and in particular to Youtube, the diffusion of material not extremely correct from a theoretical point of view is huge. Many students learn to play guitar solos or even whole guitar songs just following guitar tabs, and they are able to succeed just because they perfectly know the music for having listened to that hundred and hundred of times. If this could be good for the developing of a good ear for music, from an overall music point of view it is not good at all.
Guitar tabs are just a short cut created for people who don’t know the music theory, they can be useful but they lack of so many aspects related to the music that very often they could simply be counterproductive. On a tab, for instance, you don’t have the lenght of the notes and you usually don’t get the fingering too. This is the reason why an accomplished guitarit should be able to read both tabs and the typical music sheet, only in this way he can get the most in term of effectiveness and speed in his learning process.
In addition to all the aspects related to the general music theory, it is absolutely important for a guitarist knowing all the aspects related to the theory behind the construction and functioning of the instrument. Only in this way he will be able to get the most out of the instrument. It is evident that understanding the reasons why the student is asked to do something in a certain way, will simply improve his learning process and will cement the concepts he has gained already.
Moreover the guitar is an amazing instrument not only from a musical point of view, but even for the amount of physics which is involved in the creation of the sound. And the most beautiful aspects is that the guitarist, by means of his fingers, can deeply affect all the variables related to the timbre, the volume, the speed and the general rendition of the music. In order to maximise and perfect his skill, the knowledge of the theory behind a guitar will be essential for the student.
Here at Fingerstyle & Classical Guitar Studio we are perfectly aware of the importance of theory in guitar lessons, but at the same time we know how hard can be for some students getting familiar with some abstract concepts. This is the reason why we introduce the student to the theory principles in a progressive and engaging way, and only by means of practical and clearly understandable examples.