Monday, September 28, 2009

Two things struck me most keenly at the Musical Ear Conference. Most important was the concern of so many presenters about the real problems their students have with ear training and their ingenuity in finding ways to make the subject less daunting. The second is my question: Is it essential to so train the ear out of musical activity that by the time students get to college they are paralyzed at having to open their mouths and sing or otherwise identify what they hear?

Oddly, ear responses are faster than any other to which the mind has access. Yet the ear is the slowest thought system to develop, in part because progress in hearing defies measurement by objective standards. I suspect that because it is an area of deep subjectivity it is attractive and meaningful to so many young people (of all ages).