The ONE Thing That Every Musician Must Know [Music Theory]

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– “If you could teach a person only one thing about music theory, what would you teach them?”
– “What is the piece of music theory that everybody, professional and amateurs, should know?”
– “What is the most useful, ‘practical’ concept in music theory? Something that I will actually use?”

These are all questions that I received from my subscribers. And they are really good questions!

The thing I like best about these questions is that they ask about the ‘practical’ bits of music theory. I personally think that we could have picked a better name than ‘music theory’- maybe something like “music tools”. But I digress.

All three questions above have the same answer, and we are going to see it together.

(BTW before I forget: you can ask your questions too, by replying to this email or in the YT comments to the video. I made many videos in answer to questions you ask, and I read all requests!)

In this video, we see one of the most ‘practical’ thing that you can learn in music theory, and it’s something that everybody who calls themselves a musician should know.

Fair warning: clearly, if you already have experience in music theory, this video may not be news to you. But I’m going to put a shameless plug here and tell you that you still want to make sure you know this 🙂

If you like this video, share, like, comment & don’t forget to subscribe for more content!

Need help with music theory for guitar? Check out these FREE resources:




PowerThirteen says:

Does this work with other modes? The major is Ionian, the minor is Aeolian. Could I use a chord arrangement of major – minor – diminished – major – minor – minor – major and use the relevant intervals to write a chord progression in Mixolydian?

Ondrej Bilkovič says:

Not sure if this qualifies as one thing.. But – Intervals. imo the most important concept in music theory, that, when understood well, explains chords, scales, dissonances, consonances, keys, progressions,…. If you ever wish to start learning more about music theory, definately begin with intervals. It's the most basic building block for overything else, imo.

God loves you so much says:

Yes this is what I would say Thank you

Aylbdr Madison says:

Only one thing? Learn the steps to the Major scale. The reason being, if you do that, you also are learning witch chords fit into a key, like you mentioned. But you also learn the steps to every key and all seven diatonic modes. Contained within this is also all of the pentatonic modes, from the standard minor and Major pentatonic, to the Japanese scales. All of this information is available to anyone who learns the steps to the Major scale.

Liquid Solids says:

Going through the exercise for yourself to figure out WHY those particular notes and chords are in that particular key (for all the keys) will do wonders for your understanding of music theory. Memorizing it is important, but you’ll actually understand it if you derive all the scales and chords yourself. And it’s really not difficult! Thanks for the great videos!

tehenga38nz says:

Back to basic fundamentals. Music is about relationships between sounds. This covers all pitch and time as well as others like emotional effects, timbre, socio-cultural aesthetics…

joseph yagappan says:

wonderful teaching method . Anyway,I feel for beginners it enough we teach only the primary chords like C,F and G 7th in C major and so on.

CanSteam says:

Hey 7dim can be used as a dominant 🙁

Dhanesh Sarangadharan says:

Exactly what came to my mind for the one thing I would teach…

Joshua Richard says:

If I could teach someone only ONE thing about music theory is that all that really matters is if THEY like how it sounds, then do it! Who cares what principles explain why it works if it sounds good? (In this context at least)

Rocco Rodriguez says:

I recommend the Numeral system to follow this lesson

Timothy Vu says:

How to use music theory

aditya mohan says:

I'd teach ppl how to resolve notes. Thats the one thing I'd teach them

TheNcmore says:

Some may consider the following as two essentials, but I see them as one combined, tightly intertwined essential:
– the major scale and its relation to the harmonized set of diatonic chord triads within the scale. Learn that as a foundation, and many other important aspects become far easier to understand – minor scales, relative minor, pentatonic scales and so on.

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