Importance of theory
In learning and education in any subject there are multiple aspects and none of which can be ignored as all are equally important with varying proportions.
At least some of the following are relevant in most fields: - information, data, history, accumulated past knowledge, theories, hypothesis, experiments, examples, training, practical application and so on and all of them must be imparted to the learner and therefore must form the curriculum.
Everything is a step and all steps are important but we must not confuse the steps to be stops or get struck in some the steps because we love them so much.
So, the problem is not the steps but people stopping at the steps.
Theory elucidates certain intricate aspects of techniques for the benefit of all the stake holders from performing artists to avid listeners to learners.
Therefore, no one can discount its importance or relevance.
In fact in the 80s and 90s I used to love attending Lec-dems at Music academy and I can say proudly that I have learned more from such sessions than full concerts by great stalwarts where I was more involved in enjoying the music that they were rendering, including the chambers concerts that you used to organize at Max Muller Bhavan at Central Library building at Mount Road.
For example listen to the theory and demonstration of appropriate mixture of nasal and vocal sounds adequately vibrated in this interview of Dr. M. Balamuralikrishna which I don't think anyone can learn from any concert or any book or even hours and hours of listening