A guest post by Krista Beckman, PAA Assistant Producer.
For musicians of every age and skill level, music theory has the potential to inform and enrich every aspect of their music-making. Young musicians in particular benefit tremendously from its ability to empower – by experiencing the music they learn on a deeper level with an increasing knowledge of its inner workings, students begin to take true ownership of it. Instead of merely hearing sounds and mimicking them, students develop the ability to see and hear musical information, process and interpret it, and share it with the world around them. As a singer and graduate student in music theory and conducting, theory has deepened every aspect of my musicianship, and I’ve seen it do the same for others.
At St. Luke’s Performing Arts Academy, students profit from a wide range of music theory knowledge shared by capable, passionate instructors. While the youngest participants are introduced to the foundational concepts of note and rhythm reading, older students begin to explore higher-level musical principles such as key relationships and harmonic function. A working knowledge of these concepts will serve students well as they transition to college education, should they choose to pursue music there. From the beginning to the end of their time at PAA, students are provided with tools to shape their lifelong musical growth, all within the uniquely inspiring context of collaboration with others in performance.
As a new staff member at PAA this summer, witnessing all of this learning is very exciting for me! I know first-hand that in addition to empowering musicians through personal ownership, theory has the potential to make each musical experience more vivid and powerful. A professor once put it to me this way: When you love someone, you want to know everything about them because you are fascinated by them. If you love music, you should try to discover everything you can about it with equal devotion. When you look and listen closely, you’ll find more beauty than you had ever imagined. At its heart, theory is about revealing this beauty and enabling musicians to share it confidently and passionately through their music-making.