The following essay is part of a series I am writing on survival skills for artists. Here is the whole series. Many artists have a bad relationship to theory. This is understandable. There are a lot of bad teachers of theory, who fail to add that theory is mostly a suggestion, and that figuring how to break these rules of music theory is part of the fun of learning it. Also, most of us were taught theory when we were adolescents, which made theory seem restrictive and something to rebel against.