I've started a band, and we've been togehter for a while, but, i seem to be the only one that writes songs, and then, when i try to show them the song, they have no idea what im talking about when i say,"You use a C# Petatonic scale and just use this pattern, then move it up to a D Pentatonic and do the same" They're like, WTF? i keep trying to tell them that music theory is important, and NONE of them will learn it... Has anyone else ever had this problem?
Yes. You can encourage them to learn theory, but you can't force them to do it. Keep making suggestions about what to learn and offer to help them.
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theory is important but you dont need to go over the top in my opinion, if you know all your theory fair play but i personally learn the theory i need to write a certain song/genre, and it kept building up and im picking it up easy
Theory helps cohesion of band members, but you certainly do not need it to write good songs.
i dont no any theory at all and it is really hurting my playing badly so i think that theory is very important and is a must for al guitarists
Theory is very important. Sure you can write something good without it, but it will take you a lot longer.

They need to at least learn why when they bash the powerchords A D E it sounds good.
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Quote by guitar_god22
pentatonics arent theory. theyre common sense

If that, and your above post, is all you have to contribute, save the server's bandwidth.

If your bandmembers can't catch on after you show them a pattern and explain it, you probably shouldn't get your bandmembers from off the short bus. Wearing a helmet and a dribble bib isn't a fashion statement. But anyway, you really have to figure out if they're receptive to learning theory. You're not a teacher, so you can't give them homework assignments. You could put some ultimatum on the whole thing, like if you refuse to learn basic theory, I'm leaving the band/you'll have to leave the band, but that's a little extreme. BTW, that's not really theory they're missing out on there if you're just moving a pattern around. They don't know the notes on the neck, which is a different, but equally as disconcerting problem.
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okyou really dont need to know a lot of theory to play in a rcok band, but they should know basic pentatonic scales and understand keys at the very least, so yeah you need to try to make them learn that stuff or youre going to have problems
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that simply means they're not serious about their music...what do you expect? unless you guys are a band looking to make it big or at the very least play a few gigs, they have no reason to learn how to play those big things with strings on them, do they? that's the exact reason i always surround myself and jam with people who i know have a decent understanding of theory

you have to talk to your band about it, tell them in a straight-forward manner...why are you part of this band? do you want to contribute? then learn this *hands packet of theory lessons* well, maybe not that extreme but you get the point
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Besides, theory isn't that hard! Two days ago, I was jamming with a guitar playing girl (note the fact that I state her female side, just for bragging purposes of course ) and she doesn't know any theory.. So jamming was a little hard. But she knew how to play lots of chords and she could play out a decent solo!

So I just gave her the names of some chords (I-IV-V blues) and the minor pentatonic that would go over it (the standard position, yes) and she picked it up the instant I showed her! She even expanded upon it a bit, by moving some notes around the fretboard

So it's that simple to teach someone a bit of theory
^ see thats a person who is receptive to the whole idea of learning and wants to better herself. to me it sounds like the problem isnt that they dont know theory, its that they have the attitude that they dont need to learn anything new. if they cant pick up on a shape you are playing and be able to move it, then they are either lazy, unintelligent, or have the idea that learning can have adverse effects on thier health. im going to go with 1 or 3, and since i know a lot of teenagers, im gonna stick with 3. you dont need to make them learn theory in depth, but try to help them through a few simple ideas so you can communicate ideas. show them its not really learning in the school sense, but more learning in the way they would learn a new song. just force the basics upon them and then dont push it anymore if they dont like it.
maybe you should try to teach your band members your songs without theory...especially if they are talented....they should be able to pick things up by ear.
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Last edited by Rockbysea at Jul 31, 2006,
Theory isn't absolutely necessary, it's just very helpful.

There are some people who, without theory, have listened and played enough so that they are able to fit right in with a lot of music. They hear something, and they can't put a name to it, but they know what to do over it. Theory explains why things sound the way they do, and how certain things will sound if you play them: a few people have played enough where they know how it will sound without requiring the theory.

That being said, those people are the exceptions. If your bandmates do not know what will sound good just by using their ears and picking up, some theory will probably be needed. It is a very useful tool for communication amongst musicians: instead of keeping a book of hundreds of scales on the fretboard for gigs, I can just say to a guy "Use G minor pentatonic for soloing" and he'll know exactly what to do. At an even better level, I can just write out a sheet with the chord names, and he will be able to figure out rhythm and lead parts on the spot.

For simple songs, you might not even need a chord sheet: guys can pick up on the chords you're using, and play along. However, keep in mind that not everyone can recognize chords with lots of extensions or alterations, so chord sheets are more reliable and people can pick up on the playing faster.
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Quote by sithian476
Theory helps cohesion of band members, but you certainly do not need it to write good songs.

although theory is not necessary to write good songs, i would say you do probably need it (either be directly aware of it, or at least know the reasoning and be subconsciously aware of it, like jimi hendrix was) to write really great songs, i use it on some degree to every one of my songs and although they're not the best songs on planet earth i know they're alot better than some dinky power chord punk band.
I think it was my French teacher that said 'All knowledge is useful'.

Especialy the theory behind music.
Quote by Kid_Thorazine
okyou really dont need to know a lot of theory to play in a rcok band, but they should know basic pentatonic scales and understand keys at the very least, so yeah you need to try to make them learn that stuff or youre going to have problems

Totally! This is what amazes me. For a lot of rock applications, all you really need
to know is the most minimal of theory concepts. Of course, the more you know the
better, but it's amazing that there is resistance to learn even the most basic of

Maybe I just take a lot for granted having started guitar way before the internet and
the "readily available tab for every song era".....
I get frustrated quickly when I try to communicate with fellow 'musicians' who lack a sound understanding of theory. If the band you are in is a source of fun, then don't worry about it. If you are serious, then it might be time to find new members.

Keep in mind, that for many practical purposes (especially a fun 'project' band), knowledge of the guitar is just as important, if not more so, than theoretical knowledge. Teach your friends some moveable chord and scale forms, and if they're interested and catch on quick, they will A.) be able to communicate more effectively and B.) probably be more 'primed' to explore music theory.
Quote by jof1029

Precisely. Most of the guys are ignorant and say that 'learning theory destroys the creative abilities' which they, sadly, don't possess. But I'm willing to learn someone lots of things, if they want to learn!
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Theory helps cohesion of band members, but you certainly do not need it to write good songs.

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Hmm judging from your pic you'd fit in more with a fat busted tribute.
how old are you and your bandmates?
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This is how I see it; generally speaking, and I'm open to the idea that I could be wrong, but my understanding is that there is no music made that doesn't involve theory. When you play two notes, you're enacting some amount of theory (an interval for example). Beautiful sounding music has theory behind it and can USUALLY be interpereted and explained via music theory. If you play a bunch of random notes carelessly and aimlessly and they all sound terrible, there is theory behind WHY they sound terrible.

The point I make is, theory is there regardless of whether or not it is learned. Far be it for me to tell a person that they HAVE to learn theory to write great sounding songs. But whether or not they learn WHAT it is they are doing and further more, the HOW and WHY it all works, theory is still being utilized.

I hope they at least open themselves up to learning it. I felt the same way at one point in time, but I started studying and I find it extremely interesting.

Also, I think a common thing (though certainly not the only) that prevents some people from being open to theory is that they feel that it will limit them and that by learning it their music will become too formulaic(sp) and lack the emotion and creativity it could have possessed(sp) otherwise. Again, I once felt this way and since I've studied theory, I've found the EXACT OPPOSITE. One reason is what I've stated above; you're not going to escape theory, it's always going to be there in whatever it is you write. Bearing that in mind, if you learn and understand what makes music the way it is, you will be able to brige that gap between the inner-workings of theory and conveying your emotions/thoughts/ideas/muse/whatever it is that you attempt to convey through music. Suppose you feel that you want to play a song that reflects apathy, you just may find that a C major chord with a diminished 5th reflects this. This is just an example.

Anyway, this carried on longer than I wanted, but I'm glad that you are interested in theory yourself. I hope what I've said MAY give your friends better insight on theory. If not, no biggie..