Back when I was in high school and college (a long time ago, and getting longer every day), many, if not most, of my fellow students regarded music theory as only slightly more fun than listening to paint dry. I didn’t share that opinion, and still don’t; I think music theory is interesting and fun and an essential part of any serious music education.

Still, if all you live for is to play your instrument (or to sing) 24 hours a day, taking time out from practicing to move a bunch of notes around on paper might not be tremendously appealing. In fact, I believe introductory-level music theory classes are the second most-skipped classes in college music schools, with only music history classes being less well received. (Some enterprising ...

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