The Creators vs. The Computers
Both myself and younger brother are self-taught musicians that write, compose, and produce. The combined knowledge we carry for music theory is likely equivalent to an eighth of that understood by any classically reading musician, but the difference I examine between us writing original electronic-indie-rock out of my basement the person re-computing already written piano components to Beethoven’s Fifth symphony is that they relay, we create.
For the same reason, music theory was difficult for either of us to adopt because of our shared idea first production value —only truly utilizing music production as a form of utility to execute envisioned sound ideas. The reason I still do not pursue a more exact understanding of music theory (time-dedications aside) is that the methods which I create lives with my lack-of-comprehension, constantly leaving me to problem solve for the generation of better original work.
The capability to read music theory is essentially the ability to do math with different symbols — training permits anyone to do it. Like English, theory is but another language that one becomes skilled at through studying definitions and rules. Yes, skilled cognition of the hands is impressive, but anyone can play piano when the rules of music register. The ability to read theory only stands as logic for the appropriation of sound, just like math with numbers. But being able to read music does not necessarily mean you are creative.
To give context to my argument, I will supply cliche reference from Webster’s Dictionary for definition of what creativity could be considered as: “creativity is the process by which one utilizes abilities; progressiveness or imagination; and the ability to transcend traditional ideas, rules, patterns, relationships, or the like, and to create meaningful new ideas”. The key point here is meaningful new ideas. I define creativity as the productive notion of adding something not previously perceived in thought. Creativity relies on the insight of grounded concepts for respective interpretation and utilization in the form of original content. Creative work is individual to its engineer, built on emotion with only incorporation to groundwork for idea conception or influence.
I don’t make this point to undermine the playing of piano — it is incredibly important asset to drive widespread cross-cultural understanding, but rather to influence those definitive thinkers to register learned abilities as a tool belt for emotional resolve, therapy, and cultural additive. Don’t just observe someone else's work, find faults in it and make additions only capable of execution by the visionary.