Friday, September 25, 2009

This weekend is a conference on The Musical Ear at the University of Indiana, which houses a prominent school of music. I am curious to hear what the speakers have to say. There is a strong tendency to normalize musical hearing, a tendency which has always made me uncomfortable as my musical ear is not normalize-able, thank you very much.

My work with children convinces me that no one's ear should be regarded as normalize-able. In fact, if allowed to develop idiosyncratically the ear becomes as much a gateway to integrated thinking as words might, visual acuity or involvement in body movement.

Idiosyncratic development starts with music of the present day, so that musical listening is not equated with sonorities of the 18th century. Those sonorities, firmly ensconced in too much musical training, easily breed right-note / wrong-note thinking. That is like having to stay inside the lines in the coloring books I grew up with, as though staying inside the lines could be the point of any genuine activity.