How To Fail At Music Theory In A Simple, Easy Step

Tommaso Zillio

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music theory fail

Before we start… please make sure your brain is engaged while you read, use your judgment on everything I say, and in case reach for the “delete this email” button. Your mileage may vary, and all that.

Here we go:

I know that in today’s world we are supposed to be modest.

It is always seen as a social faux pas when something is stated as an absolute.

It is frowned upon when things are described in black-and-white-certainty. After all we all know that the world is just “shades of gray” - and woe on you if you say otherwise!

(Gray is the new black)

(No, I’m not going to make any joke containing the word “fifty”)

(H-word, people can’t even agree if it’s spelled ‘gray’ or ‘grey’. Seriously, American and UK English speakers?)

So… if I were to tell you that I found one ‘sign’… one sentence that some music theory students say. And…

All the students who say it simply stop improving, just as if they pulled the brakes of their car while speeding on the highway.

… well, if I were to say that, not only it would be hard to believe…

It would also not be ‘nice’.

It would also not be ‘polite’.

… and since I am a good Canadian, I would also have to say “sorry”!

(No, it’s not a stereotype, we Canadians say ‘sorry’ for everything we do.

But I’m a Canadian Italian, so I say sorry for only half of the things I do. The other half, I’m yelling at you)

But luckily for me I’m not saying that.

Instead, I’m saying:

In my (not inconsiderable) experience as a music teacher (who specialises in teaching music theory)…

… after having taught music theory to a 4-figures number of students,

… plus collecting information from many more other people who are not my direct students (including but not limited to my beloved subscribers in this mailing list i.e. you)…

(deep breath)

I have found that there is one specific phrase that students of music theory often say or think that has a dramatic effect in their learning. And so far, always in my experience…

All the students who say it simply stop improving, just like they pulled the brakes of their car while speeding on the highway.

(Yeah, this part does not change.)

Literally every single one who said it hit a hard plateau in his music theory progress (i.e. they stopped improving), unless…

Unless they realized what they were saying, and changed their minds about it. (This usually involved at least a few conversations with me)

And yes, when this happens, then they start improving again. So it’s not a life sentence - you can get out of it!

Of course, I cannot possibly be sure that all this holds true for every single human being who ever studied music theory.

Maybe there have been people who said this sentence all the time and also became incredibly competent at music theory and composition… who know, maybe they even became famous.

The only thing I can say is: I’ve never met one.

Now before you watch the video, please read these warnings:

Warning 1: yes, I do get ‘preachy’ in this video. It’s because I really, really, really care about this - and about you. I’d rather annoy some people than not care about my subscribers.

Warning 2: you probably don’t want to hear what this sentence is. No seriously, watch this video only if you are not easily offended. If you watch the video and you get angry… hey I tried to warn you!

Warning 3: you probably know it already ( <— to ‘get’ this one you need to watch the video)

Watch the video here:

Now that I have most likely offended you, this is the right time in our virtual relationship to let you know that if you need help in learning music theory - and you are not one of those people who go “I know this already” before I can even finish the sentence - then I would recommend you have a look at the Complete Chord Mastery guitar course


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