When you’re teaching yourself something on the internet, you always wind up finding dos and don’ts. With music, however, so many people take their opinions, and how they did something, and say it as fact when a newbie is asking for advice. I was looking up some info on music theory the other day and ran across a thread where someone was asking if they should learn it before making songs. The advice was so mixed: From “No but it helps” to “Do it it’ll help so much” to “No just start listening to music, imitate it and then learn theory” to “Start making music/learn an instrument and learn along the way” and it just made me realize how freaking subjective music is. Like, My opinion on the matter is the last one, because it’s what I’ve been doing. Just start writing songs and then build upon your skillset and learn theory in a more proactive way because just picking up a book and learning theory for me at least, doesn’t help a lot. I tried reading a book and a decent amount of the info has fallen out of my head: I’m more of a doer when it comes to music. That’s the best way I personally learn and retain musical information. Is there anything wrong with just picking up a book and reading before doing anything else? Not at all!
It just made me realize how subjective this art form is, along with other art forms. Can you learn theory first and then compose? Yes. Can you start instinctually writing music and then learn theory later, or, just feel your way through writing a track? Yes. I’m glad there is a community of people to help others starting out, but also I think it’s a bit detrimental to tell someone that they should be doing something a different way, or that they need to do ___ before they can do what they actually want to be doing. It really stifles creativity, and I feel makes bouts of self-doubt a bit more prevalent in the process. If you’re asking for advice, or talking to someone about this stuff, try to take what they say and apply it to your situation, and be able to tell how comfortable you feel taking, or disregarding the advice they give. At the end of the day: do what will keep your work flow going, your journey as true to you as it possibly can, and have fun along the way.
I guess this sort of hit me harder than usual because of my funk recently. I’m getting motivated to get back on the music making horse, and as I said on Tuesday one of my steps is to research stuff. But in doing so I just realized how silly it was to read every piece of info I find and take it to heart. Like I said earlier, just take what you can use to your advantage and ignore what doesn’t apply to you at the current point in time. It may apply to you later, or strike a different cord when you’re further along in your artistic journey, but never let something as stupid as, “I don’t have schooling for this, I don’t know how to use ___” stop you from creating. So many times in my head I’ve told myself: “I wish I had started sooner, if only I had taken advantage of this past opportunity I could do ___” but smack yourself if you do that! Because it’s only a form of self sabotage. Who cares if you didn’t take advantage of something you could have in your past? Then take the motivation of “I still want to learn this” and learn it now! Stop stopping yourself from doing anything you want to do, may it be creatively or otherwise. Don’t look back on the could have’s, and yesterday and just live in the now. Maybe if I had taken said opportunities’ I wouldn’t have appreciated them, or would have forgotten everything I learned or something, who knows. The important thing is I want to learn it now, and I will learn it now, no questions asked! I am ready to take my craft by the horns and dive into it fully and completely, no matter what learning curve, or hardships are in the way!
If you’re on the fence about diving into a hobby, or craft, or whatever it is you’re doing I implore you: Just get what you need to start and get going. The journey is far more important than the end result! And the ride is so much fun 😄