Know the Rules First, Break the Rules Later
When I was young, we had an old Hammond organ in our house. My Mom took organ lessons growing up, and at one point neighbors inherited an organ and bestowed it upon us.
I never actually learned how to play organ legitimately. But, as a child, I found it fascinating. It was this thing with lots of buttons that could make weird sounds. I spent hours putting sounds together and experimenting. When I was around 5 and started taking piano, I actually practiced on the organ. I didn't have an actual piano in my home until I was in high school.
I used to spend hours on the organ playing with the sounds and creating things. However, like I said, I never learned to play the instrument legitimately.
Because of this I never claim to know or understand how to play organ. It's not an instrument I understand in totality. Can I make sounds on it? Yes. Can I legitimately play? No. There is a difference between these two things.
In the book, The Talent Code, Daniel Coyle explains that there are two different kinds of skill building. He compares violin lessons to learning how to play soccer. Learning the violin is the building of a skill that involves building strong pathways in the brain. Learning something like soccer involves constant improvisation. The player must know how to move and coordinate in a moment's notice. This kind of knowledge and skill is different. It is an improvisatory skill.
In music, we must build BOTH of these knowledge pools. That is the only way you will understand music holistically. My high school voice teacher was a master at this. She taught us classical vocal technique, and then would turn around and make us improvise jazz or gospel in the same lesson. We knew when to walk the straight and narrow path and when to take a detour. Jazz music is all about breaking rules unless you are playing in a vamped ensemble where there is a soloist. Classical music is about sticking with the rules unless you are ornamenting a Baroque piece. Great musicians can switch between these two modes of thinking.
I personally believe that you do not actually understand a skill until you can successfully do both of those things. I work in the North Bronx as a middle school teacher. A lot of my students want to create their own music, however I impress upon them that you need to know the building blocks of music before making it. Otherwise it's like you are building a house out of mud. 21 Savage and Cardi B know what a steady beat is. Otherwise they would not be able to rap. Rap is all about staying in a steady beat, and that is an elemental aspect of music.
This is why classical music education has legitimacy. If you know the rules you can know how to break them. If you know how to break them you know how to create your own music.
...and the world definitely needs us to create more music.