What is Music Theory and why should I study it?

You’ve taken the first steps toward a career in the audio industry and researched programs. You’ve read the curriculum and are thrilled by the classes you will be taking: Live Sound, Electronic Music Production, Audio Post Production.Until you see… Music Theory. Music Theory? Isn’t that something only musicians need to know? Why should I study it for a career in the audio industry?

Read on to find out why the Music Theory class taught in many of our Audio programs will help you to become better at your future job and might even give you an edge over the competition.

So, what exactly is music theory?

Music theory is the study of how music works, what the building blocks of music are, how music is made and how to relate to it. It’s the grammar that makes up the language of music.

SAE Institute Nashville instructor Lisa Kacos explains further:

“Music theory is the building blocks of music. It connects the dots between the ideas in our head and what comes out of the speakers. An understanding of music theory helps us grow our creative toolbox and also helps us have a deeper appreciation for the music around us.”

How does it help me to produce audio?

In order to communicate quickly and easily, you need to understand a language or at least its basics. In this case, a basic understanding of the elements that make up music can help to communicate with musicians quickly and easily, avoiding misunderstandings, by using specific terminology, for example about song structure or harmonies. It will also help you with more technical aspects of your job such as tuning vocals, tempo change, or pitch correction with Auto-Tune or Melodyne on systems like Pro Tools.

What topics might I be learning?

You don’t have to be a musician to become an audio engineer nor do you have to be a master. But gaining a solid knowledge of the basics will help you gain a better understanding of what musicians are trying to achieve and therefore make you a better audio professional and help you stand out from the crowd.

SAE Institute’s Music Theory course provides an overview of introductory concepts in music theory and notation and covers music terminology and the basics of rhythm, harmony, and chord progressions in popular music.

Interested in finding out more? Consider one of our accredited Audio programs. In as little as 12 months you will become equipped with the skills and knowledge necessary to get started in this exciting yet competitive industry.