Tuesday, October 27, 2009

In a couple of days I will be leaving to attend a conference of Music Theorists. I was puzzled by Music Theory when I was young and still am. It seemed to me that theorists were telling us how we should hear music but that seemed the wrong way around. We hear music the way we hear it: it is composers who instruct us about our potential to hear more and more and more.

It would be fair to say that all of my teaching is based on this premise.

Last night my singing group, once again, affirmed the validity of this premise. The group included two people who had never been in such a group before and who have zero confidence as readers. The song was a spiritual, Now Let Me Fly. Without coaching, without input of any kind, they found, just by using their ears, the most meaningful part of the song and expressed it so beautifully that I almost cried.

They taught me the song. That's why I have always enjoyed working with the unschooled, the unspoiled: children and amateurs.