They say curiosity killed the cat, and that might be true (depending on the cat). But curiosity is actually good thing. A really, really good thing. It’s responsible for every innovation, piece of technology, piece of art in any medium, every advancement in our society, and basically everything cool this world has ever seen. When you learn music and more importantly, how music works (through music theory), your mind is opened up into a world of possibilities.
When I was a freshman in college I started to get really serious about learning music theory. Classical music theory, jazz music theory, and everything in between. I became a sponge for music. I soaked everything up. I wanted to read the books and do the work. I wanted to talk about it with my professors and my friends. I was an addict I suppose. I sometimes couldn’t sleep because I would lie in bed at night and think about musical possibilities. I wanted to make all the sounds that were swirling in my head. I NEEDED to make these sounds and figure out how to bring these ideas to reality. Because of this curiosity, I’ve been able to participate in a number of really interesting and cool projects throughout my life. But maybe more importantly, that curiosity has become part of my personality and it carries over into every part of my life.
I have had several friends in my life that I’ve made through musical experiences and many of these friends have gone into other fields other than music as a career. What’s fantastic is that every one of them has had great success in their fields because they are curious and that curiosity enhances their work ethic. And then, their heightened work ethic leads them to innovation. And innovation often leads to success.
So, encourage your students to be curious. Explore new things. And take opportunites that come their way. They'll be better for it.
Author: Corey Christiansen, Executive Director of Music at EA School of Music