Thursday, October 1, 2009

The musical ear is no more easy to describe than any other artistic inclination. Rhythm seems to be the basis for assessing and accessing the ear as traditional pedagogy approaches the subject. I find tone to be more powerful than rhythm.

In fact, rhythm as taught in the early stages usually corresponds to a level of gross-motor coordination that all children need and most children respond to joyously. I use it that way in my own teaching.

But for many gifted students tone awareness jams rhythm--knocks it clean out of the range of control. Vibrations take over and the mind is addled. Nightmares may ensue, as they did in my case at age ten.

These are two completely different aspects of musical awareness. Each affects motor response in powerful ways. Getting the two to coexist without over-simplification is quite a trick.

It takes a long time--too long, according to some pedagogues.

To this I reply, "What's the rush?"