Music Theory Fear…Katrina Curtiss 12 29 2023

I learned guitar back in 1975,
A broken piece of wood that was “gifted” to me.

I was a lonely kid, daughter of a single mom, the only known broken family in my hometown.

My guitar teacher never talked music theory, he just had me play.
Some of the first songs I learned: Delta Dawn, Diamonds & Rust & The Blues Are Just A Bad Dream…

After each lesson, I’d run home and practice, even calling my few friends and asking them to identify the song I was playing.

I spent my alone time practicing; this was the time before the internet, before cable tv, a time long before cell phones.

I played and played ~ got onto the Lounge Circuit and travelled up and down the east coast for years.

It’s a very lonely existence, driving hundreds of miles to set up in a lounge and try to get customers to spend their money.

Came a time when I thought to myself that I should find a “real’ job.
Went back to college and got my degree and left my guitar to gather dust.

I found my guitar again many years, dedicated myself to relearning what I once knew.

A friend suggested that while I was job-hunting, that I should teach guitar.
All I could think was, that if anyone knew how little I knew, I’d be laughed out of the building.

I couldn’t find a good guitar teacher & was broke, so I went on a Google quest to learn.

I practiced, studied, practiced and played while I was job hunting.

I had a terrible experience while in Dubai – was hired by a school to manage it, and also teach.
One day the people from The Suzuki School of Music came in to audition me, I played, taught and then fell apart
when they handed me sheet music to sight read.I played the piece and then apologized because I knew how badly I had butchered it.

Back in the states, I auditioned for a local music store to teach, passed the playing, the singing and again failed at sight-reading.
The guy told me that I should teach voice instead of guitar.

I felt like a failure, especially when around other “trained” musicians.

But I had something, the ability to teach those.

So, I studied, a lot!

People who want to play the guitar, typically don’t give a hoot about theory, they just want to play. And that I can teach!

I can say at this time, that I can teach music theory to beginners/intermediate and if someone wants more and I can’t provide it,
then I suggest another teacher.

I’m a singer/songwriter/picker/percussive guitarist. Blessed, or perhaps cursed with a “big” voice.

I don’t “force” my students to learn theory, Instead I find out what they want to learn and teach that.

I always say, “You don’t need to understand, as much as you need to feel it.”

I hope to share what I have learned. I hope that you do also.

Be Happy, make Music!

This Post Has One Comment

  1. Bob Carlson

    I don’t music teach theory in my community ed. ukulele class, but when I learn something that I find fascinating about theory I am tempted to pass it on. But I know what I’ll see in class — eyes glazed over. Even the kids (average age 71) who might show interest outside of class just want to get on with the strumming and singing. And that’s not so bad…

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