It is likely this person will have no problem finding some nice sounding chords because he/she knows a good amount of chords, BUT because of his/her lack of understanding in how chords work together (music theory weakness), it will be hard to consistently find good chord progressions (combinations of chords). Plus, not understanding about theory will make it difficult to write music that is in key and that can change keys fluidly. This person's aural skills are weak too so ³hearing² chord progression in his/her head won't be easy either. So in the end, it won't matter much that this person knows a lot of chords because the weaknesses are severely restricting the ability to apply the chord knowledge.
Lets say this person gets a song written and now its time to record/play a guitar solo over the song. He/she has good lead guitar technique and a good sense of melody. That is a great start, but with weak improvising skills and a weak ear (aural skills), it will be very difficult to write something that actually sounds like it fits the song. With a better knowledge of music theory it is possible to at least party bridge this gap. BUT in our example this person is weak in music theory. So here is another classic example of how one's strong areas are not really valuable since they can't really be applied. Sure this person could play some really fast guitar parts that has some melodic sense to it, but if it doesn't really fit the song, what good is it?
The examples I gave above are not exaggerations or extreme, they are just two, of many, very common situations that really hurt one's ability to reach goals and feel fulfilled from music. Most players are way out of balance and are being held back on a daily basis. Many people are seduced by their strengths and ignore their weaknesses, concentrating on making only the strong areas stronger. All that does is make one even more out of balance, more frustrated and further away from personal musical bliss.
© 2005 Tom Hess
All rights reserved. Used by permission.
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