I just thought of a cool analogy for what music theory does for us.
My daughter has succeeded in getting her parents hooked on the popular Marvel movies. We started on some of the later movies (the Avengers series), and have been left somewhat confused, because we don’t know the complete “back story” of the numerous characters (whatever happened to stand-alone movies?). We are now embarking on the complete Marvel movie series, watching them in logical order (good thing I’m retired; I have time to watch all 22 of them!), in an effort to better understand End Game.
Do I need to explain the analogy? Music theory is the “back story” of music. Sure, you can go ahead and keep playing G7 to C without knowing that it is technically called a “tritone resolution” (just as you can watch End Game and be entertained, even if you don’t know the whole story); the thing is, knowing and understanding the tritone resolution as a concept makes it so much more interesting and, gives you conscious control over it. Want to improve as a musician? ‘Nuf said.