If you’re interested in learning music theory, no doubt you’ll be asking how long does it take to learn music theory? Music theory is a quite complex and never ending discipline. No one has ever finished learning music theory.
However, there are many levels or grades that are commonly used to display one’s competency for specific fundamentals of music theory.
How long it takes to learn music theory depends on what you’d like to learn. You could spend the rest of your life learning, or you might just want to learn some basic, practical, theory you can apply to your instrument.
Whether you want to learn to improvise, write or produce music, theory and understanding how everything comes together will only make you a better musician.
I’d recommend setting a goal and working to achieve it, and when done, see if you got use of the new theory you’ve learned.
If not learn something else or move away from music theory. Music theory is there to help musicians apply theoretical knowledge to their instrument of choice.
It isn’t an absolute requirement, but it can streamline things if applied correctly.
How long has music theory been around?
Music theory began whenever the first person told another person “this sounds good like this and doesn’t sound good like this“.
An oversimplification? Sure, but it’s not wrong, that’s all music theory is. Musicians communicating theoretical knowledge of music.
We do know that musicians have been around teaching other musicians for thousands of years. So you won’t be the first person bored by music theory, and you won’t be the last!
When we learn chords, whether it is on piano, or guitar, it’s the same theory and principles that make it work.
Music theory isn’t there to tell us how to play an instrument, but how we can organize and compose music that sounds a certain way.
Is music theory necessary?
Music theory isn’t necessary to play or compose music theory. It certainly helps you with complex and advance forms of music, but no it is not necessary.
That being said, most music schools do have admission requirements that ensure students have at least a basic understanding and capacity of theory.
Most college music students, looking to get their degree in music, usually have a solid foundation of theory such as what is commonly referred to as “grade 5” theory.
Some might call it grades or levels, but it basically amounts to an international standard that holders of a grade 5 understand a few topics of music theory that will allow them to branch out into their respective interests.
It helps colleges ensure their perspective students can learn the basics and are able to sludge through incredibly doring content, for their own musical benefit.
When I did my minor in music, I only needed a grade 2 level of theory. Well, I barely had that, luckily I was in voice which lets “you fake it til you make it” far more than any other “real” instrument.
If you’re looking to learn music theory for fun or as a hobby. Think about what you want to play or compose, and look for topics within theory that reflect that.
If you need it for perspective school applications, work towards a grade level that will give you a wide foundation.
Music theory is not necessary, but when combined with proficient application, can work wonders.
How long it takes to learn basic music theory?
How long it will take you to learn music theory depends on what elements of music theory you’d like to learn.
Learning will be easier if you are able to apply what you’re learning in theory. So if you’re proficient on an instrument and can apply what you’re learning, it will speed things up and help you retain the information.
You are able to learn theory on your own, but a music teacher and private lessons will help immensely.
Of course, these are costly, and theory lessons out of all lesions tend to be the most expensive.
With a couple hours of studying a week, and working through music theory concepts you will have a great foundation within a few months, even self-taught.
Your music theory knowledge will grow as fast as you water it, however, I do recommend focusing on practical music theory topics.
It’s wonderful to learn complex music theory, but if you’re not using it in practice you will quickly lose that information and knowledge.
Putting the theory into practice on your instrument will help you retain what you’ve learned.
How long to learn grade 5 music theory?
It is possible to cram and learn everything you’ll need to pass the grade 5 exam within a month. However, you are not likely to retain all that information if it isn’t applied in practice.
A more realistic method of learning music theory via the grades model, would be a grade every 2-4 months, until you reach grade 5, and a grade every 6-12 months after that.
Is grade 5 music theory hard?
This depends on your prior musical knowledge. If you can play complex songs on your instrument of choice, the rudiments of music theory will, in a way, fall into place.
Meaning that you’re already doing what music theory will teach you, but theory will give you the vocabulary to better your understanding of music in general.
So yes, grade 5 music is hard. It is hard for everyone who has never done it before.
If you can play an instrument like a seasoned veteran, then it will be much easier.
How long does grade 5 music theory exam last?
Typically, most examining bodies allot 120 minutes for grade 5 music theory, or their version of it. An hour and a half is a good amount of time to complete the exam.
I suspect that most students would be able to complete their grade 5 theory exam within the first 45 minutes.
But speed isn’t the point, nor an advantage. If you’re studying by writing practice exams I would recommend practicing by giving yourself 45 minutes.
After 45 minutes is up see what concepts you’re slower on and work to improve on those areas.
Of course, that’s just one idea or method, there are many approaches to music theory exams, this is just what has worked for me.
How fast can you learn music theory?
The learning process for music theory is going to be between two choices for most people.
Either 1. you want write exams and pass grades of theory (for college or otherwise).
Or 2. you want to learn specific aspects of music theory that will help you while playing or composing music.
It’s not like you have to choose one or the other, go get your grade 1 music theory, then start learning whatever topic you want.
How fast you can learn music theory really just depending on what you want area of theory you want to focus on.
Advanced topics will take longer to learn than fundamental ones. If you’re getting a degree in music you’ll want to have a foundation in theory, but also be able to explore niche topics within theory.
Your professors aren’t just looking for regurgitation of facts and performances.
They’ll be impressed by the student that has a solid foundation and can apply a few advanced topics within their own interests.
Much more impressed by that student than one that has accomplished the highest grade level, but can’t apply theoretical knowledge in practice.
There are lots of misconceptions about music theory. Hopefully I’ve squished a couple today.
If you’re wondering how long does it take to learn music theory, it is up to you.
Decide what you need music theory for and what you want to do with it once you start studying.
Just learn in a way that ensures you can apply the theory into your practice.