Why All Singers Should Learn Music Theory

Singing and Theory go hand in hand

Music Theory is not a sexy topic. And I know it’s not as fun as cranking up YouTube and singing with your favorite artists. But there are compelling reasons why all serious singers (including you!) should learn music theory.

Does the concept scare you? Don’t let it!

Quality Singing and Music Theory are Inseparable.

I’m not talking about delving into multi-level college courses about the history of music. I’m talking about understanding chords. And chord progressions. Timing. Harmonizing. These are all musts for the serious singer.

First, I’ll tell you why. Then, I’ll tell you what you can do about it.

Why you want to learn music theory:

Improve your vocal runs. When you understand chords and scales, you realize that runs are just a high-caliber way to outline them. It still takes practice from there, but you have to know what to practice, which means you need to know music theory.

Improve your timing. Are you working on a song with strange entrances that you sometimes mess up? Learning how musical time is organized will take care of that. This is one of the building blocks of music theory.

Improve your harmonizing. You can’t know for sure what note to sing unless you understand what chords are supporting the melody your harmonizing to. The solution is music theory.

Empower yourself. It isn’t unusual for me to work with female lead singers who feel awkward and invisible at band rehearsals because they don’t understand what “the guys” are talking about when they rehearse songs. The solution to this (and to you taking an equal hand in your project) is music theory.

Expand your artistic potential. Perhaps there is a songwriter in you that you didn’t know was there? Or maybe you underestimated your ability to accompany yourself on the keyboard. And what if you tried that new cover but changed up the melody in the third verse? Improving your understanding of music as a whole, opens up all kinds of doors.

Are you convinced yet?

If so, where do you go from here? You can probably find a theory class at a local college, or maybe an online course they offer. I encourage you to check those options out. But there is another one…

(Insert shameless plug here)

After spending years helping my singing students round out their musicianship with an understanding of music theory, I’ve developed a self-directed theory module intended specifically for singers. It cuts to the chase and gets right to the elements that help singers grow. You’ll learn things like how to read and build different types of chords, create chord progressions within a key, and there are also tips for honing your harmonizing skills.

(If you’re a total newbie to music theory, you should begin here.)

And because this is a downloadable pdf, you can proceed at your own pace.

If this interests you, check out the Singer’s Chord Book on my site. Or better yet, become a member of the Online with Judy Fine community and have free access to the Singer’s Chord Book and tons of other great resources. Find out more HERE.

Or pursue other options, if you feel they are a better fit for you. Either way, if you’re serious about singing, learn some basic music theory!